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1920 Presidential Election—Who Was The Best Candidate?

Who was the best candidate in the 1920 Presidential election? 

The Republican nominee was Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio. Senator Harding, a deeply conservative and unimaginative figure, has long been regarded as one of our worst Presidents.   

No right-thinking person would have voted for Mr. Harding in 1920. The fact that 60% of the electorate did indeed vote for Mr. Harding only proves my point.

The Democrat was Governor James Cox of Ohio. Governor Cox’s record in Ohio did have its merits. He had regulated utilities, required lobbyists to register, built more up-to-date schools and advocated for a workmen’s compensation law.

A bad point about Governor Cox was that he had signed into law a bill that prohibited teaching students any language but English up until the eighth grade. This legislation was part of anti-German paranoia during WW I. The target of the law was the teaching of German in heavily German Ohio cities such as Cincinnati.

The Socialist was Eugene V. Debs of Indiana. Much of what Socialists proposed may have seem far-fetched at the time, but later became part of American life.

The 1920 Socialist platform advocated a minimum wage, an end to child labor, and rights for black Americans.

Mr. Debs had won 6% of the vote in the 1912 Presidential election and would win 3.4% in 1920. Not a bad showing for a third-party candidate.

In 1920, I would have likely voted for Mr. Debs. The election was a clear Harding victory. It would have worth the risk to vote for Mr. Debs and his greater social vision, at the expense of the more progressive of the major party candidates.

In fairness, it should be noted that President Harding pardoned Mr. Debs from jail. Mr. Debs had been put in jail by Woodrow Wilson’s Justice Department for his opposition to WW I.  Mr. Debs ran his 1920 campaign from prison.

President Wilson would not pardon Mr. Debs. President Harding was more humane and just in this regard.

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hubert Vo—The Accidental Refomer

The Houston Chronicle has another story today about safety violations in apartment buildings. There have been a been a number of apartment complex related issues around the city that have spurred this focus. 

A big spur to public attention on this issue were slum-condition apartments owned by Houston-area Democratic Texas State Representative Hubert Vo.

Mr. Vo has now, after the attention, brought the buildings to code.

Houston City Government is taking steps to address the poor conditions in many area apartment buildings. 

This is happening because of press attention. You might think the Democrats we elect to municipal office would have focused on this issue at some point, but it was never a priority. 

Republicans? I ask, and expect, nothing of them.

Maybe the way to get problems addressed is to have public servants commit misdeeds.

For example, restaurant health code violations could be exposed by secret camera footage of an elected official reusing a plate at a buffet. 

If an elected official were to write a check that came back for insufficient funds, maybe public discussion would turn to budget deficits and budget shortfalls.    

The song lyrics go—“You’ve got to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure

Mr. Vo, a reformer in his way, could play on this logic and say you’ve got to be in violation to get others in compliance.

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

McCain Shows Obama With Blonde White Women

A new TV ad by John McCain flashes images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and suggests Senator Obama is a celebrity and little more.

But that’s not really the story.

The story here is about linking a black man to blonde white women. This is just what Tennessee Republicans did with black U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford in 2006.

The people who make these ads know what they are doing.

Senator McCain has already said Senator Obama would lose a war in order to win an election. Mr. McCain will say and do anything.

Senator McCain voted against the Martin Luther King holiday. He now says he is sorry. 

The McCain campaign could only find two blonde white women to put in that ad?

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments