Monday, April 30, 2012

Today -100: April 30, 1912: Of policies of flabby indecision and helpless acquiescence


Sen. William Alden Smith will cut short the Titanic hearings, which he’d planned to continue pretty much until the end of time. For a start, all the other members of the committee are now boycotting it. He questioned members of the Titanic crew about the large sums they’ve been receiving for telling their story to the NYT: $1,000 for the surviving radio operator (and $750 for the Carpathia’s radio operator).

Woodrow Wilson says that the US is slowly turning to Socialism because the D’s & R’s aren’t giving them what they want. He accuses Taft & Roosevelt of fighting with each other “as to which had been most closely identified with special interests.” (I wonder when the phrase “special interests” was first used by politicians?)

President Taft is making speeches all over Massachusetts, starting each one saying how much he’d prefer not to be doing so: “I should not be here, and I am very sorry I have to be here. I deprecate the intervention of the president of the United States in a political controversy like this that requires him to come upon the stump in order that he may defend himself against misrepresentation.” He calls for giving presidents a single 6- or 8-year term, so that no future sitting president has to go through the unseemly business of campaigning for reelection.

Roosevelt, who made 19 speeches in Massachusetts yesterday, denies Taft’s accusation that he preaches class hatred. In fact, he says, the reforms he wants would be “the most effective kind of antidote to class hatred; whereas, if Mr. Taft’s policy of flabby indecision and helpless acquiescence in the wrongdoing of the crooked boss and the crooked financier is permitted to continue, there will really grow up class hatred in this country.”

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