Baltimore Evening Sun (27 January 1912): 6.


The betting odds in the downtown pothouses, as reported by my todsauefer:

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1 that Bob won’t get no less than his fair share of them paving jobs. No takers. 1 to 17,500 that the ticket will be Harmon and Harry. No takers.

What about tomorrow, Moralists? Are you going to let the merchants of East Baltimore sell their wreaths of leberwurst again? Isn’t it a sin and a debauchery to sell food on Sunday? Isn’t it at least a moral misdemeanor to eat it? Up, Chemical Purists, and at ’em! Sound the virtuous battle-cry! Burn somebody at the stake!

For sale cheap--to clear my shelves: 200 packages of Honest Motorman, seven cheap but aseptic cigars and 15 cans of sardines. Let me say frankly that I have been unable to give this stock away, and so I am prepared to bestow a small honorarium upon anyone who will take it.

Twenty-five thousand dollars for the super-Mahonic campaign fund--but not a darn cent for typhoid! Laugh, suckers, laugh!

If I were hired by the suffragettes to give them advice--whtch I am not–I should advise them, first thing, to send a barrel of whisky to Annapolis. That delicate attention, I believe, would get them more attention than all their statistics and their eloquence--and win them more votes. The greatest handicap the Anti-Saloonists have suffered down there, during their past campaigns, has been their inability to manufacture enthusiasm in the orthodox manner.

The process of legislation in Maryland, as in all other free republics, is largely a process of intoxication. Sometimes that intoxication is of the sort produted by the pungent scent of mazuma. Sometimes it is generated by patriotism, by sympathy, by rage, or by some other violent and elemental emotion. At yet other times it is auto-intoxication--a pathological condition caused by intellectual indigestion, by the overloading of the cerebrum. But the safest and most agreeable of all agents of intoxication is plain rye whisky, a drug sure in its effects and not likely to leave permanent damage behind it.

Needless to say, I here speak of intoxication in no disparaging super-virtuous way. I am not a moralist. I do not hold it against a man that he sometimes cuts loose. There are occasions, of course, when he should keep his head clear--when he should throttle his emotions and reach his decisions by purely intellectual processes. But such occasions, it must be obvious, seldom arise during the proceedings of a legislative body. In such bodies it is the effort of every political boss, of every lobbyist and of every rhetorician on the floor, not to convince by logic, but to sway by emotion. Bills are passed or defeated, not as they are logical or illogical, but as they are agreeable or disagreeable. And the best way to make them seem agreeable is to evoke in the individual legislator that peculiar state of mind which makes all things seem agreeable--i. e., the state of inflation or exaltation.

Hence my advice to the suffragettes that they send a carboy of dilute and flavored alcohol to Annapolis, not as a bribe, of course, but as a mere matter of lobbyistic routine. Even if no actual member applies his face to it, it will, at least engender an atmosphere of geniality among the wire-pullers who hang about the Capitol--and geniality among these fellows spreads like a benign pestilence. When the lobby laughs, the House smiles, and even the Senate ceases to frown. Such is human nature.

True enough, there are teetotalers in that gay throng, on and off the floor. Even some of the newspaper reporters down there have signed the pledge. But don’t neglect them on that account. Alcohol is not the only intoxicant--that is to say, the only provocative of enthusiasm, of emotion, of exaltation--known to man. I name but a few others: chewing tobacco, gum-drops, ginger-snaps, smiles. It is by these routes that the legislative heart is touched. Don’t waste time, good ladies, upon the legislative mind. Not many men, even intelligent men, are able to decide whether they are for the extension of the suffrage or against it. The problem is enormously complex and difficult: perhaps its solution will ever remain impossible. But it is always possible to reach a man through his emotions. It is always possible to anesthetize and grab him.

My ward heelers and pothouse bravos bring me news that, for all the current reports of peace, rebellion is brewing in the Narrenverein. At the beginning of the Old-Fashioned Administration, as everyone knows, both branches of that August parliamentary body ate docilely from the hand of the Hon. the super-Mahon, and even licked after eating. Not only did they pass on the high gear all ordinances prepared by his corps of scribes and juriconsults, but they also, on order, poured out lavish estuaries of that sweet salve on which be feeds. A refined and affecting scene: the super-Mahon (to change the figure) lining the hymn and the Councilmen responding with bovine bellows.

But no more! Treason stalks those sacred precincts. The murmur of revolution, the snort of bitterness, are heard. In the First Branch alone, so I do hear, no fewer than 10 traitors meditate black deeds. They tire of canned ordinances, of predigested resolutions, of all that abhorrent paternalism. They yearn to function autonomously, to manufacture their own balderdash, to shed their chains and dance. Each harbors and cherishes his own pet ordinances, his own schemes for uplifting and tickling the plain people, his own devices for getting into the newspapers and the Hall of Fame. And so, their arteries suddenly bursting with bile, the gentlemen of the Narrenverein--or, at any rate, enough of them to make it interesting--plot a grand assalt at arms upon their late boss. Malicious animal magnetism hangs over the City Hall like some hideous misasma. The red flag flies from the battlements.

Such, at least, is the tale my boozy rascals bring me in--a tale supported by many alleged facts and by a vast body of hypotheses and deductions. I report it for what it is worth. It may be true; it may be false. Let us all hope, meanwhile, that it is false. The spectacle of remorseless internecine strife at the very moment when opportunity opens its doors and the need is for all armed foes of good government to stand together--that spectacle cannot fail to touch the heart and bring moisture to the eye.