Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today -100: September 16, 1910: Of free candidates, drop-outs, and patronage


Woodrow Wilson, accepting the Democratic nomination for governor of New Jersey (offered by a party convention; no primaries in NJ), emphasizes that “I did not seek this nomination. It has come to me absolutely unsolicited” and that he has made no pledges or promises and is a “free candidate.”

Pres. Taft’s daughter Helen drops out of Bryn Mawr. No reason is given, but I can reveal that the reason is that her mother (also named Helen) had a stroke; I don’t believe the public knew of this. In a couple of years she’ll go back to Bryn Mawr to finish her BA, earn a doctorate in history at Yale, return to Bryn Mawr as a professor, eventually becoming head of the history department and dean.

The NYT claims that Taft has told friends, “I am not thinking of 1912; in fact, I don’t know that I care for a renomination. From the way things are drifting it may be that no Republican can be elected, save possibly one.” No points for guessing who that might be.

A letter is going around, supposedly written by Taft’s secretary, saying that while in the past Taft withheld patronage (post office and customs jobs, that sort of thing) from Republican insurgents in Congress in an attempt to coerce their votes for his legislative aims, the success of the insurgents in primaries and conventions has led him to reverse himself and he will in future grant patronage to all Republican congresscritters of whatever faction.

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