Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today -100: June 28, 1912: There is nothing more timid than a politician, except two politicians

An attempt by Champ Clark supporters to pack the Democratic convention (they printed their own admission tickets) and rush his nomination through fails. They are now trying to bribe Boss Murphy of Tammany into throwing his minions behind Clark. But Murphy and the right wing of the party in general are scared shitless that if they knock Woodrow Wilson out of the race, his backers will join in a push for William Jennings Bryan, their worst nightmare. Bryan wasn’t even running in the primaries, but suddenly, here he is. Again.

Bryan makes a fiery speech introducing a resolution that “we hereby declare ourselves opposed to the nomination of any candidate for president who is the representative of or under any obligation to J. Pierpont Morgan, Thomas F. Ryan, August Belmont, or any other member of the privilege-hunting and favor-seeking class.” He accuses those millionaires of trying to buy the Democratic nomination. The resolution further demands the withdrawal of any delegates representing those interests. This provoked outrage, with Virginia (Ryan’s a VA delegate) invoking state’s rights. Bryan withdrew that part of the resolution.

Bryan reports on his speech in his syndicated newspaper coverage: “But when I called the country’s attention to the fact that we had in the convention two men who are politically sexless, who have no god but money, and who do not hesitate to use political power for their own enrichment, I at once became ‘a disturber of peace’ and an ‘enemy of the Democratic party.’” “There is nothing more timid than a politician, except two politicians.”

The resolution passes 889 (899?) to 196, because it’s just easier to give Bryan this one than have him storming out like Roosevelt. Bryan claims that the resolution’s passage makes clear that the convention is entirely a Progressive one.

Portugal says it will allow Jews to settle in Portuguese Angola and establish a self-governing Zionist colony.

A German Zeppelin flies nine hours from Hamburg to the North Sea and back, purportedly to demonstrate that it’s possible to use airships to bomb London if the need should ever, you know, arise.

16 have died from bubonic plague in Puerto Rico.

Yesterday, the NYT complained that British suffragette hunger-striking is making it impossible to keep them in prison. A letter today helpfully suggests deporting them to Borneo (similar letters can be found in the London Times).

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