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National Affairs: G. O. P.

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The difference of some 30,000 votes in Indiana’s primary last week between Candidates Hoover and Watson, to the latter’s advantage, made a superficial difference of 33 delegates at the Kansas City convention andgave rise to a great many astute and conflicting deductions, of which one set was about as convincing as the other.

Some said—Hooverism came amazingly close to upsetting a powerful local ma-chine ; it was a praiseworthy attempt in the face of almost certain defeat; it was a defeat, not at the hands of Favorite Son Watson alone, but of all other G. O. P. Candidates combined, “The Allies” as they are called, including sly-dog Dawes, Coolidge-anyway and Uninstruction.


Others said—It was the first serious reverse for Hooverism; the Hoover vote was confined to the cities, betraying his grave unpopularity among farmers; the lightness of the vote beat Hoover; were he a potent vote-getter a big vote would have turned out; if ever there was a State where he should have been able to win it was Indiana, where Candidate Watson’s local machine had been shockingly exposed as corrupt and Klan-ridden. Cartoonist John Tinney McCutcheon executed for the Chicago Tribune a picture entitled: “This will make the race interesting to watch,” showing Candidate Hoover hot-footing it away from a spot labelled Indiana with his trousers clutched in his hands at the waist to keep them from falling down. The clutching was necessary because an article labelled “Corn Belt” had burst in two around the Hoover middle, to the glee of bystanders.

These opposite observations just about cancelled each other, yet an overtone lingered, expressible in the query voiced by President Coolidge last year, when he said: “I wonder who could beat Al Smith if I didn’t run?”

The cynosure, of course, was Pennsylvania’s lean, grey primate, Andrew WilliamMellon. For months people had been saying that the fate of Hooverism lay in the hollow of the delicately deliberate hand which runs the Treasury Department. A few forecasters, notably Col. Theodore Roosevelt, had predicted that if the anti-Administration forces beat Hoover in Indiana, the Administration’s cautious senior lieutenant (Mellon) would make some gesture friendly to the industrious junior lieutenant (Hoover) who wants to carry on the Administration’s work.

At Philadelphia, Mr. Mellon did ges ture, twice; once helpfully, once equivocally.

He answered the Coolidge query (see above) by saying that, in his opinion, Hoover could beat Smith.

And in a formal statement he said: “Under the leadership of President Coolidge, the record of the Republican Party has been such as to entitle it to the confidence of the nation. It enjoys that confidence, but the people will unquestionably give us a new grant of power if they are satisfied that the policies, principles and wise administrative practices which have given economy and efficiency in government, and brought prosperity and contentment to the people, are to be continued. . . .

“We hear much talk of the various candidates and of their policies. Among them all, Mr. Hoover seems to come closest to the standard that we have set for this high office. Between now and the convention, however, I recommend that we hold ourselves unpledged and uncommitted to any particular candidate. . . .”

He also said: “Many men may develop in the convention, for you never can tell what will happen.

“It is not certain that Mr. Coolidge will not consent to the use of his name. The President may be a candidate.”

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