(TIME, July 9, 1928) -- "Democratic Georgia covers the honor . . ." -- Representative Charles R. Crisp nominating Georgia's George.
"Indiana presents . . . a son of its pioneers . . ." -- William H. O.'Brien nominating Indiana's Woollen. (Mr. O'Brien's speech was 79 words long.)
"Some say we should nominate an outstanding Democrat -- the man we intend to propose is one of the most outstanding Democrats of the day . . ." -- George McGill nominating Kansas' Ayres.
"Tennessee does not offer the name of this great Democrat as a sectional candidate . . . . He is a national figure . . ." -- Harvey H. Hannah nominating Tennessee's Hull.
". . . The iron man of the nation's Democracy. . . . We are here for serious business. Our object is not to name a nominee, but to elect a President . . ." -- Charles M. Howell nominating Missouri's Reed.
On and on went the speeches, occupying the better part of two long sessions of the convention. Colorado's Thompson, Nebraska's Hitchcock, Ohio's Pomerene, Texas' Jones were also named. Seconding speeches were intermingled with nominating speeches, handsome speeches with fiery, witty with dull, empty with honest.
To a man from Mars, where it may be that flourishing compliments are unknown, the puzzling thing would have been that everyone in the hall knew what the outcome was to be. But to Democrats it was not puzzling at all. For once the party had its mind made up and before expressing itself was indulging in the luxury of idle speculation.
More than 24 hours after tall Franklin Delano Roosevelt had introduced New York's "happy warrior"; after Maryland's Ritchie, Kentucky's Barkley and Wyoming's Ross and several others had seconded him, with phrases ranging form "this sea of faces" to "a living, pulsating, understanding heart" -- the balloting began. Soon the name of Alfred Emanuel Smith belonged to the almanacs.
The ballot: Smith, 849 2/3; George, 55 1/2; Reed, 52; Hull, 50 5/6; Jones, 43; Watts of South Carolina, 18; Harrison of Mississippi, 8 1/2; Woollen, 7; Donahey of Ohio, 5; Ayres, 3; Pomerene, 3; Bilbo of Mississippi, 2 1/2; Thompson, 2; not voting 2 1/2.
Violence. To open a political convention there must be a temporary chairman, who makes an oration to start things going. This orator must choose a subject upon which the convention holds a unanimous opinion. A "keynote" speech, therefore, is by definition a solemn prating about undisputed things. The more vague or remote the subject upon which the audience agrees, the nearer to the brink of absurdity will the orator totter in his effort to be impressive.
So it was with Keynoter Fess at Kansas City, who sounded crass and flatulent on the vague topic of Republican Prosperity. And so it was at Houston with Keynoter Bowers, who combined pedantry with abuse on Republican Corruption.
An editorial writer on the New York Evening World, Claude Gernade Bowers is a short, slim, dark, studious, scholarly, quiet man in his middle years. His specialty is early U. S. history. Like many a bookish man he has his villain -- Alexander Hamilton -- and his heroes -- Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. He gained fame as an exciting speaker last winter when Democrats celebrated Jackson Day in Washington. His assignment as Keynoter at Houston put an entire political party and a huge radio audience at the vocal disposal of a man long confined to the indirect, often anonymous, medium of the scrivener. Mr. Bowers made it a point to have his place on the program shifted to an evening hour, when more radios would be turned on.
The Bowers speech began with contrasts between Abraham Lincoln and Harry Ford Sinclair and between the political schools of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Next, the eight-year Wilson regime was lauded. Then the eight-year Harding-Coolidge regime was condemned, with the emphasis on the Harding days. Avoiding statements of fact, Mr. Bowers pumped his breath into alliterative generalities. Following are some of the epithets that rolled from his tongue and out across the land:
privilege and pillage (repeated four times) autocracy and bureaucracy besmirched and bedraggled brazen and shameless blackened the reputation caste and class a mockery and a sham smutty background privilege and crime carnival of corruption a byword and a hissing a scandal and a stench loot banner of the bloody shirt brutal days decline and degradation thorns and thistles brigandage barons of iron and steel pirate's flag putrid beyond precedent baser, more dastardly prostitution shameful thief corruptionist de luxe slink tainted bonds sneaking perjury Augean stables a spotted thing disease plunderbund sinister possibility Pittsburgh Bratianu (Andrew W. Mellon) purse-proud caste temple of gold resting on the bowed backs of peasants in other people's fields. predatory hideous money-mad then to your tents, O Israel!
After hearing Keynoter Bowers, a columnist quipped; "This is not a convention. It's an elephant roast." (H. I. Phillips in the N. Y. Sun.) The New York Times, than which the Democracy has no stauncher supporter, welcomed subsequent aids "to the process of forgetting Mr. Bowers." The New York World apologized: "Certainly one thing may be said. . . . it was . . . scorching . . . Mr. Bowers had no ordinary task . . . He faced a special problem . . . ."
Tolerance. During the Bowers bow-wow there was a well- organized "demonstration" by delegates from Western states when "the hand of privilege" was pictured throttling the farmer and picking his pockets. At the close of Permanent Chairman Robinson's address a more spontaneous outburst was touched off by these words: "Jefferson gloried in the Virginia statute of religious freedom. He rejoiced in the provision of the Constitution that declares no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for office or trust in the United States."
The tread of a steamroller is broad and crushing. The tread of a tiger is soft, delicate but just as sure as a steamroller. It was while the Dry Democrats were nervously guarding themselves against a steam-rollering from the Wet Democrats at Houston, that the representatives of Tammany Hall sidestepped what had threatened to be the one hitch of the convention, the hitch of the Prohibition plank in the party platform.
The sidestep took place, not in the embattled meeting room of the Resolutions Committee, where the Prohibition plank was being framed, but in the meeting room of the Committee on rules and Order of Business.
The question was: should the platform be adopted by the convention before the nominating speeches began? Drymen said, yes, certainly: you cannot name a candidate before he knows what he is to stand for. But Mayor James J. Walker of New York City, quick and trig, said: "Our common enemy, who has just dispersed his forces at Kansas City, is waiting -- oh, how eagerly! -- for the old-fashioned friction that has unfortunately characterized so many Democratic conventions in the past . . . . The G. O. P. is depending upon us to 'spill the beans' here. Let us disappoint them. I ask for speed on this convention, not to becloud good judgment but to spell efficiency."
So the nominating speeches were begun before the platform was brought in. That gave the platform-framers time to fight out all their differences off the convention floor.
It was a sharp fight, too. Dan Moody, Governor of Texas, sat with Bishop James Cannon Jr. of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Beside them were two Wilson Cabinet men, Josephus Daniels and Carter Glass. Opposing, sat truculent young Senator Tydings of Maryland, arch Senator Edwards of New Jersey, solid Senator Wagner of New York and other Wets. Hovering near were Anti-Saloon Leaguers; Captain William H. Stayton of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment; many a busybody, many a crank. Sebastian Spering Kresge, 5-and-10-cent man, was there presumably to see that the Anti-Saloon League was making good use of some of the $500,000 he gave it last winter.
Senator Tydings at one juncture found it necessary to call Bishop Cannon an utterer of falsehood. Senator Glass told Senator Tydings he was behaving "indecently." Senator Tydings for the use he made of Woodrow Wilson's name. Senator Tydings retorted that, nevertheless, Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act.
Governor Moody was for taking in a minority report and declaring flatly against any modification of Prohibition. With Nominee Smith's stand for modification so well-known, this would undoubtedly have precipitated grave trouble in the convention. Senator Glass was the mediator, finally, and even Bishop Cannon approved the law-enforcement phrases which were unanimously adopted.
Farm relief was the only other plank in the least vexing or important. This was handled by permitting T. E. Cushman of the American Farm Bureau Federation to join the agricultural subcommittee. Notable were omission of any attack upon the protective tariff and an implied promise to enforce the 15th Amendment (votes for Negroes). The latter, coming from the pen of Carter Glass of Virginia, was accepted as conventional flub-dub.
The two important planks and their relation to the corresponding G. O. P. planks were as follows:
Prohibition. The Democrats said: "The Republican Party for eight years in complete control of the government at Washington, presents the remarkable spectacle of feeling compelled in its national platform to promise obedience to a provision of the Federal Constitution which it has flagrantly disregarded and to apologize to the country for its failure to enforce laws enacted by the Congress of the United States. Speaking for the national Democracy, this convention pledges the party and its nominee to join effort to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment and all other provisions of the Federal Constitution and all laws enacted pursuant thereto."
(The Republicans had quoted George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and said: "The people through the method provided by the Constitution have written the Eighteenth Amendment into the Constitution. The Republican Party pledges itself and its nominees to the observance and vigorous enforcement of (it).")
Agriculture. The Democrats said that the Republicans had "practiced deception" upon the farmer for more than 50 years "through false and delusive promises" and an unbalanced tariff. The Democrats promised legislation to help market surplus crops, by means of: 1) A Federal loan fund. 2) A Federal farm board, comparable to the Federal Reserve Board. 3) "Reduction . . . of the spread between what the farmer and stockraiser gets and what the ultimate consumer pays." 4) "Consideration" for farmers in framing tax measures.
(The Republicans had pledged themselves to reorganize the farm marketing system, to create a Federal farm marketing system to create a Federal farm board; had "favored" agricultural tariff protection, a Federal organization for co-operative farm marketing.)
Intelligence. More impressive than any outburst was the attentive silence which obtained in the master convention hall during the quiet speech of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was the third time since 1920 that Mr. Roosevelt had placed his friend, Alfred Emanuel Smith, in nomination for the Presidency. In those eight years, Mr. Roosevelt had been crippled by, but now had almost recovered from, infantile paralysis. With his limp and cane and the stretch of suffering on his face, he might have made an appeal to the audience more emotional than any of the other speakers. Instead, he held himself erect and delivered what all critics agreed was the most intelligently well-bred speech of either of the big conventions. He recited his friend's fitness for office in terms of his record in office. He offered him as a governor who had "power to impart knowledge of, and create interest in, government." He said, in an even voice that was more persuasive than any Bryanesque blaring could have been, that his friend had "that quality of soul which makes a man loved . . . a strong help to all those in sorrow or in trouble . . . the quality of sympathetic understanding of the human heart." Compared to the common run of nominating effusions, Mr. Roosevelt's speech was as homo sapiens to the gibbering banderlog.
Grace. To John William Davis went the convention's honors for gracefulness. As his party's last, unsuccessful nominee, he had to mount the rostrum to resign his titular leadership of the Democracy. He did so with a smooth blend of wit, modesty and loyalty to the new Nominee.
Unity. To make plain that the party stood united and that he would be no sulk-in-tent champion, Missouri's white-crested Senator James A. Reed followed Mr. Davis with a cry for "every Democrat in the United States" to support Nominee Smith "until the last ballot is counted on election night." True, this Reed speech preceded the convention's choice of a vice president. But after Nominee Robinson was chosen, Senator Reed's congratulations contained a honest ring.
Honesty. Speeches and resolutions are very well, but the Democratic party is traditionally the party of individualism There are as many brands of Democracy as there have been outstanding Democratic leaders -- Jeffersonian, Jacksonian, Cleveland, Bryan, Wilsonian. (For now, forgotten. Not one reference to the late William Jennings Bryan was contained in this year's "Keynote" speeches or platform. The only direct mention of Bryanism at Houston was in a memorial resolution proposed by Josephus Daniels.) Now there was to be a Smith Democracy. The convention waited to hear Nominee Smith's interpretation of his leadership. When the telegram arrived, it contained three important statements:
"Common honesty compels me to admit that corruption of law enforcement officials, bootlegging and lawlessness are now prevalent throughout this country. I am satisfied that without returning to the old evils that grew from the saloon, which years ago I held, and still hold, was and ought always to be a defunct institution in this country, by the application of the democratic principles of local self-government and States' rights, we can secure real temperance, respect for law and eradication of the existing evils."
That required no interpretation, except that it meant Nominee Smith would permit no doubt to exist about this Prohibition views, however well such doubt might lend itself to soothing the Dry element of his party. That it might win many a Republican vote was undoubtedly another consideration, but in the last analysis any considerable volume of Republican votes which it might win would be attracted by the straightforwardness of the statement and not its uncertain alcoholic content. In the end, Nominee Smith seemed to have hit, not only upon a Keynote but upon an Issue. He gave the electorate to judge which of the following Prohibition statements is most accurate and honest:
They sat up late in the Tammany headquarters, arguing it now this way and now that, with Boss Olvaney and other Tammanyites as polite judges. But there was only one "logical" candidate and eventually all were agreed. They could not have Senator Barkley of Kentucky because he had made speeches for Anti-Saloon League pay. They could not have Representative Hull of Tennessee for a similar reason. Evans Woollen, Indiana banker, was too little known. White-crested Senator Reed of Missouri scarcely figured he had been so vociferously eager. William Randolph Hearst had sent a message recommending Major George L. Berry of Tennessee. But good man though Major Berry was, no word from Mr. Hearst would bear weight at a Smith-controlled convention. Besides, though Mr. Hearst said, "I do not know anything about the political considerations at Houston," it was understood why he was so kind to Major Berry. The latter is president of the International Pressmens' Union and Mr. Hearst publishes 24 newspapers, 11 magazines.
The outcome was as clearly foreseeable as the Smith nomination and on the first ballot, over he went -- Joseph Taylor Robinson, Arkansan leader of the Senate Democrats, for Vice President of the U. S. He received more than 800 votes (733 1/3 were necessary to nominate) before the "switches" began. Final result: Robinson, 1,035 1/6; Major-General Henry T. Allen (Kentucky), 21; Major George L. Berry (Tennessee), 11 1/2; Governor Dan Moody (Texas), 91/3; Senator Alben W. Barkley (Kentucky),9; Senator Duncan U. Fletcher (Florida), 7; Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross (Wyoming), 2; Lewis G. Stevenson (Illinois), 2; Evans Woollen (Indiana), 2; not voting,1.
The "logic" of the Robinson nomination was, of course: that he is Dry, Methodist, Southern; that he matches Nominee Curtis for attracting the farm vote; that his nomination was endorsed by most Democratic Senators, potent in their home territories; that his warm, rugged personality and impressive party record bolster the ticket.
Nominees Smith and Robinson exchanged congratulations. Each recalled campaigning together for Cox in 1920. Nominee Robinson proceeded to his home in Little Rock, Ark.
The Robinson record in politics dates from 1894, when he entered the Arkansas Legislature. He had just been graduated in law form the University of Virginia and had started practicing in his native shack town of Lonoke, Ark. In 1902 he "talked his way" into Congress, serving five terms in the House. In 1913, he resigned from Congress to be inaugurated as Governor of Arkansas. A fortnight later, Senator Jeff Davis died and Governor Robinson was elected to replace him. (No relative of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States.)
Aged 55, Senator Robinson retains his drawl and heartiness. his fists are big, his temper quick. Four years ago, during a golf course argument, he punched down another (one Dr. James F. Mitchell of Washington, D.C.) and had to be suspended from the Chevy Chase Club. Senate Democrats respect his courage and vocabulary. Latest to be whipped into order was Alabama's ponderous Heflin, who challenged Senator Robinson's leadership during one of his Pope-baiting tirades.
As tail-of-the-ticket, nominee Robinson will not wag the ticket. But he started wagging for it at once. "I expect to have a lot of fun along about September with my old friend, Charley Curtis," he said. "I reckon my trail will cut his now and then as we go around campaigning."
The Smith Week
The Governor of New York, alert at Albany, spent three successive evenings beside his radio. It was a long time to wait for one announcement but he bore up cheerfully. The long sittings made historic a small, thickly upholstered sofa and a ponderous, brindled Great Dane named Jefferson, whom the Governor addressed now and then to ease his mind. Mrs. Emily Smith Warner (eldest daughter) and her husband were there, too. Also Walter Smith (youngest son), Mrs. Belle Moskowitz (chief publicist) and her husband; also secretaries, friends, newsgatherers. The Governor chewed long cigars, drank water frequently. His face was redder than usual. His hands moved constantly, though not fidgeting.
The first evening had the excitement of novelty. Governor Smith laughed when he heard Chairman Clem Shaver whacking for order with his gavel in Houston. "Maybe we had better lend the Chairman one of the pile-drivers on the new State office building," said Listener Smith.
To the history-laden diatribe of Keynoter Claude Gernade Bowers, he listened attentively, motionless, until the "farmer demonstration" broke out. Then he said, admiringly: "Bowers is putting it over. What was that he said again?"
Mrs. Moskowitz's husband repeated: "Take his hand out of the farmer's pockets and off the farmer's throat."
Listener Smith repeated it to himself and nodded. Later he said: "Bowers certainly is not mincing words."
After the speech he pretended to be a delegate, listening to resolutions as they were read, voting "Aye" with the unseen chorus. That night he sat up late reading newspapers.
The second night, just as the session was opening, the Smith radio went dead. A Klieg light used by camera men had burned out a house fuse. A butler and Son-in-Law Warner made repairs in time to pick up Permanent Chairman Robinson as he said that the roll of States would be called to name candidates for the Presidency.
When Candidate George of Georgia was named and the bands played "Dixie," Candidate Smith hummed the tune, smiling. Then Nominator Roosevelt began. Candidate Smith fingered his watch- chain, bit his cigar, blinked at the ceiling, took out the cigar, stared at the ceiling. The other sat rigid, occasionally stealing looks at him. During the directly personal part, about his "kindly heart" and understanding of "the average man," Candidate Smith looked overheated, troubled.
". . . Victory is his habit -- the happy warrior -- Alfred E. Smith," came the last words, then the crashing applause. Puffing hard at his cigar, Alfred E. Smith left the room. He returned later and did a few waltz steps to the broadcast blare of East Side, West Side. That evening's statement-to-the-press, not strictly accurate, was: "I heard Franklin Roosevelt and the demonstration and enjoyed them both."
On the third night, the circle had assembled before the host appeared. He carried three boxes of cigars and had them passed around. Suddenly he left the room, returning with a ten-gallon hat on his head.
"The gentleman from Texas," he cried and pretended to throw a lariat, to shoot-from-the-hip. He took off the hat, saying: "A little heavy for the climate." He sat down, stretched, yawned, listened to the reading of the Democratic platform. Someone on the convention dais could be heard asking for a glass of water.
"He didn't wait for the dry plank," chuckled Candidate Smith. "He asked for his water ahead of time."
Daughter Emily said: "He can have some of my ginger ale."
The Candidate held her glass toward the radio and said: "Have a glass of ginger ale?"
When the dry plank was read, the Candidate inclined his ear, smiled slightly, whispered something to Son-in-Law Warner, left the room, went upstairs. He was beside the radio again before the balloting started.
When one of Alabama's votes was recorded for him he said: "One more than I ever got there before."
Arizona's spokesman declared for "Albert E. Smith." Candidate Smith said; "Albert? He hasn't got my first name right."
"Massachusetts -- 36 votes for Smith," said the radio.
Smith: "I got all the big babies, anyway -- the 36 fellows."
Radio: "Michigan -- 30 votes for Smith."
Smith: "Everything above 30 I get."
Radio: "Missouri . . . ."
Smith: "There's an 'over-30' we don't get."
Radio: "Montana -- eight votes for Smith."
Smith: "That's on account of that hat."
Radio: "New York-"
Smith: "Here's a hard one, this next one. This is great suspense."
Radio: "New York -- 90 votes for Smith."
Smith: "That old 90 is kind of a backbreaker."
Radio: "South Carolina . . . 18 votes for Chief Justice Watts."
Smith: "Watts he?"
Radio: "Wyoming . . . ."
Mrs. Moskowitz: "We've got every vote that's coming now."
Radio: "Hawaii . . . ."
Smith: "First rate, how's yourself?"
The first roll-call having ended with Candidate Smith eight and two-thirds votes short of the nomination, the radio reported that several delegates were clamoring for recognition by the chair. Candidate Smith cried: "Did you hear that?" He bent close to the radio. The radio announced the switch of Ohio votes which decided the thing.
"There it is! Ohio does it!" cried Nominee Smith.
First to reach the Nominee was William A. ("Chief") Humphries, an oldtime friend and golf partner. Daughter Emily hugged him. There was a jubilant fumble of handshakes. The Smith grin outdid itself. Daughter Emily and Mrs. Moskowitz kissed each other resoundingly.
The lawns of the Executive mansion were thronged. After much posing for photographers and a trip upstairs to talk with his wife on the long-distance telephone, the Nominee bowed and bowed on his front porch. He said: "I can only say to you . . . I am overwhelmed and my heart is where my palate ought to be." Some of the crowd, led by a coatless, unshaven man without a necktie, pushed into the mansion and roamed about gaping at furniture, pictures, statuary. When they reached the reception room, Nominee Smith grasped their hands.
The crowds on the lawn milled and marched and sang until dawn. The Nominee did not sleep until 4:45 a.m.
That afternoon, before breakfasting, Nominee Smith issued copies of his message to the convention. He read the crucial sentences aloud, emphatically. Until evening he dictated answers to congratulations, then went to play with his year-old granddaughter, Mary Adams Warner. His first speech was to be at his political alma mater, oldtime Tammany Hall.
Albany's popular demonstrations continued over the week-end, culminating at the railroad station sunday afternoon when Mrs. Smith's train rolled home from Houston. The Nominee boarded the train proceeded to Manhattan for campaign conferences.
Mrs. Smith's Week
The round, placid, motherly lady who was Katie Dunn of the Bronx, then Mrs. Smith of Oliver Street, then the wife of Assemblyman Smith, then a four-time Governor's wife and finally a candidate for First Lady of the Land, emerged from her husband's friend's private car and smiled contentedly at Houston. News-gatherers waiting at her hotel were soon handed a mimeographed statement by the lady's experienced secretary, Miss Rose Pedrick.
"There is really nothing for me to say," said the mimeograph. "My trip form Albany was very enjoyable. . . . True Southern hospitality. . . . I am not a politician. I have devoted my entire life to my home and family. . . . I will return home as soon as the convention adjourns."
The newsgatherers drew Mrs. Smith out to tell about her husband's telephoning her from Albany. "He didn't say much," she said. "I just asked him about the family and he told me how we were all feeling. I just told him that we all felt fine. Yes, indeed, it was nice to talk to him again."
(By way of opening the conversation, Governor Smith sang the first bars of My Heart's Tonight in Texas, Down on the Rio Grande. He telephoned daily.)
Around Mrs. Smith in her box at Sam Houston Hall, at various times, sat: Mrs. John G. Glynn of Brooklyn her comfortable- looking sister-in-law; Alfred E. Smith Jr., her slim, blond, curly, eldest son, a lawyer; Mrs. Catherine Smith Quillinan, her newlywed younger daughter; Arthur Smith, her middle son; Eddie Dowling, musical comedian; Tex Rickard, promoter. Mrs. Smith wore jade jewelry, waved a magenta fan. She said she did not feel the heat.
When Chairman Robinson touched on religious tolerance, she looked moved.
When Nominator Roosevelt told what a fine man her husband was she looked proud, grateful.
When the convention had voted, she drew out a green silk handkerchief and waved it. She let them put a Hawaiian lei around her neck. Her secretary suggested that she hold the New York delegation's state standard. It was passed up to the boss and she held it, beaming. News-gatherers implored her to say something and with tears on her plump cheeks she said: "This is the happiest moment of my life, to find that others appreciate the Governor as I do." They tried to put a baby donkey into her arms. "Send it up to Albany," she said, laughing and crying at the same time. She dispensed scores of autographs, shook hundreds of hands, nodded answer to a thousand salutes, She went straight home to Albany, with only one brief stopover, in St. Louis, to take tea with President Lewis Warrinton Baldwin of the Missouri Pacific R. R.
It was really a very simple experience, during which Mrs. Smith at no time seemed non-plussed. She had, after all, undergone the same sort of thing several times before. Mrs. Charles Dana (Irene Langhorne) Gibson, who was present as a special sort of Tammany delegate, left nothing to chance, however, and made a statement to the press. It was after a visit paid by Mrs. Smith to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson at the Jesse Holman Joneses'. Said Mrs. Gibson, whose sister, as everyone knows, is Lady Astor:
"You needn't worry about Mrs. Smith in the White House or anywhere else.
"That's a great little lady. She has perfect pose, gentleness, kindliness of heart, all the really fine qualities which we women want in the White House.
"Mrs. Smith has borne the ordeal of these first few days in the South with charming poise that I feel sure never deserts her."
As many as 500 anxious women attended prayer-meetings during the week at Houston, to beseech their God to prevent the Smith nomination. After the nomination and the Smith telegram denouncing Prohibition, the anti-Smith movement was given somewhat more definite form. Preachermen, including Bishop James Cannon Jr. (Methodist Episcopal) and the Rev. Arthur J. Barton (Baptist), called for a Dry rally at Asheville, N. C., next week and for a "National Jacksonian Democratic Convention" on Aug. 7 at Richmond, Va. Observers doubted that these gatherings, if held, would become any more significant than the proposed national convention of the Prohibition Party, which was called for next week in Chicago.
Gore. The laborious effort of Senator James A. Reed to get nominated at the convention took a surprising turn when onetime (1907-21) Senator Thomas Pryor Gore of Oklahoma stood up to second. Mr. Gore is blind but Mr. Gore is cheerful. Excerpts from the Gore speech:
"Four years ago the Republican Party went to New England to pick a candidate. This year they have to go to old England."
"Republicans already have begun to sing 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.'"
"Mr. Hoover went too far and stayed too long."
"Let us all make up, no matter whom we have to kiss . . . . We shall, as Democrats, have at least one advantage -- we won't have to kiss in the dark. You see, we haven't revoked the segregation law."
There was one piece of sardonic humor in the events at the Republican Convention at Kansas city. I refer to that plank in the Republican platform in which they say, 'We stand for honesty in Government.' Now, why bring that up?"
"Senator Borah wants to refund the wages of sin, but how in hell does Borah know they ain't gonna steal no more?"
"Hays improved on Patrick Henry. He strikes an attitude, with hand on heart and says, 'Give me Liberty Bonds or cash!'"
"The Republican party has done much to relieve the farmer -- of his farm."
Listeners, observing that the Gore technique closely resembled that of Funnyman Will Rogers, who is also an Oklahoman, wondered what it is that makes Oklahomans funny.
Heflin. James Thomas ("Tom Tom") Heflin, senior Senator from Alabama, who mortally hates and fears the Roman Pope and who loudly and repeatedly predicted that Smith would not be nominated, was speechmaking to Ku Klux Klan audiences in the East during convention week. He sent a $22 telegram urging the Alabama delegation to cast no votes for Smith at any time. All but one Alabama delegate obeyed him. He was Heffling in Towanda, Pa., when he learned that Smith was nominated. He said: "I am shocked, grieved and dumbfounded . . . . He will, of course, be defeated in November."
Walsh. Another who did not go to Houston was Thomas James Walsh, senior Senator from Montana, who withdrew his candidacy n favor of Smith after the latter won the California primary. Senator Walsh's comment on the nomination was: "Governor Smith is the most striking figure that has appeared on the political stage since Roosevelt."
Rickard. George L. ("Tex") Rickard, Manhattan prizefight promoter, who was indigent when he left Texas years ago, went to Houston in a private car. His opinion was sought on some holes in the glass of an elevator door in the Rice Hotel. They were supposed to be bullet holes made by a Texan impatient for an elevator. Opined Promoter Rickard: "They were made by some fellow with his cane."
World's Champion Fisticuffer James Joseph ("Gene") Tunney, training in New York for a title bout with Thomas Heeney of New Zealand at Promoter Rickard's Madison Square Garden in July, was reported vexed at Mr. Rickard's Houston visit. Tunney was said to have said: "Why doesn't he stay here and mind his own business? I need him worse than the Democrats."
Police. Promoter Rickard's duty at Houston was supposed to be managing the seating of delegates. Black-shirted Houston police and Texas Rangers were at the command of the sergeants-at- arms for clearing aisles. During fights over state standards when delegations were split over parading, the police swung loaded clubs, rapped unruly knuckles, restored order.
Negroes. Fearful of Southern antipathy, no Negroes were taken to Houston in delegations from Northern States. In a corner of the hall, a score of rows were screened off as a "Jim Crow" section for colored spectators. It was seldom full.
Whistler. In a lull of the second day's session, three shrill blasts on a police whistle sounded sharply through the hall. It was Delegate William C. Page of Wheatlands, N. Y., executing a signal prearranged with his wife at home to let her know by radio he was there and feeling all right. Listeners guessed that Delegate Page got the idea from reading about Albert M. ("Lucky") Snook, Vandyke-bearded publisher of the Aurora, Ill., Beacon-Journal, whose wife was reassured of his presence at the Associated Press convention in 1924 when he uttered a strange unmistakable cry near the convention microphones.
Missionary. Persons who supposed that the Smith campaign for election did not begin until after Democratic leaders conferred with Nominee Smith at Albany, left out of account New York City's loquacious, ubiquitous, sartorially outspoken mayor James John Walker. From Houston he proceeded to the Pacific coast, to smartcrack, to publicize.
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