• U.S.

National Affairs: More Mirrors

2 minute read

As a prelude to next year’s campaign there appeared last week The Mirrors of 1932, another of those volumes reflecting (and reflecting upon) public characters who will march across the presidential stage toward the White House.* Though its author remains safely anonymous, most observers thought they recognized the sharp style, the acid outlook of Clinton Wallace Gilbert, Washington correspondent of the New York Evening Post and author (anonymously) of the Mirrors of Washington (1921), Behind the Mirrors (1922).

President Hoover, on whom the book opens fire first, is portrayed as a weak and groping figure, lonely and desperate, fretful and feeble. Excerpts: “It explains a great deal about Herbert Hoover to learn that he was not a ‘swimming hole kid.’ . , . He is paying the price of drudgery and discipline. So is the American people. . . . He is our first hair shirt hero. . . . Mr. Hoover detests and dreads the mob. . . . His is a detailed, though somewhat disorderly mind. He gives off light, not heat. He is as dynamic as a 30-watt bulb. . . . He can work with underlings but not with equals. . . . Mr. Hoover was a promoter rather than a mining expert. His salary was $5,000 for mining work, $95,000 as a financial adviser. . . . His English [is] no more precise or pure now than when he flunked this course at Leland Stanford University and was enabled to graduate by a ruse.”

The book was scarcely out before a controversy arose as to how in 1920 Mr. Hoover became a Republican after his name was entered in Michigan’s Democratic primary. The late Senator Lodge’s daughter, now Mrs. Clarence C. Williams, was quoted as saying that her father persuaded Mr. Hoover to join the G. O. P. Last week Mrs. Williams denied such a tale as “entirely fabrication.”

Other characters mirrored:

“The Presidency was a delightful daze and doze to Calvin Coolidge.”

“Franklin D. Roosevelt . . . has the heart, he has the head, but he lacks guts.”

“High life has spoiled that grinning good-natured child of the tenements—Al Smith.”

“Dwight Whitney Morrow is the poor little rich boy of American politics.”

“Albert Cabell Ritchie’s bid for the Presidency is based on sentiment rather than sense.”

“All that Newton D. Baker needs to make him of presidential stature is a few more inches in height.”

*Brewer, Warren & Putnam, $2.50.

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