Baltimore Evening Sun (22 March 1912): 6.
The arrival of the Hon. Bob Crain at Annapolis, to take charge of the fight against the local option bill, must give joy to every connoisseur of the art gladiatorial, for the Hon. Mr. Crain is a performer of quite extraordinary skill and one worthy the best steel of the Hon. William H. Anderson. Up to the present the Hon. Mr. Anderson has had things all his own way at the State capitol. The feeble blows of such fourth-rate fellows as the Han. James McC. Trippe have worried him no more than the stings of so many mosquitoes. Tiring anon of their buzzing he has brushed them away with a single sweep of his hand. Against Trippe, indeed, he once loosed an actual blow, but that was gratuitous cruelty rather than fair fighting.
In the Hon. Mr. Crain, however, he meets an antagonist of long experience and high talent, a man who can take a staggering wallop without flinching and deliver an even more terrific one. Every excellence in the one is matched by a corresponding excellence in the other. If the Hon. Mr. Anderson shines at machiavellian pit-digging and ambushing, the Hon. Mr. Crain excels at devastating invective. And if the Hon. Mr. Crain is the stronger of the two, then the Hon. Mr. Anderson is undoubtedly the more agile. A fair match, with the odds even. Certain advantages, at the start, seem to favor the Hon. Mr. Anderson–he has, for example, what seems to be a safe majority in the House of Delegates--but the real fight, let it be remembered, has just begun, and before the final gong strikes, Anderson may be on on the mat, his eyes closed, his nasal butte laid low, and his ears hanging by mere wisps of cartilage.
If them stuffers ain’t yeller dogs. you won’t need to tell them what to do next election day.
The Hon. S. S. Field’s bill to abolish the Department of Legislative Reference will be opposed, of course, by the foes of the administration, but there is good reason to believe that the lawmakers at Annapolis will see its virtue and its wisdom. The Department of Legislative Reference was organized for the purpose of supplytag information to city officials, and particularly to the City Council. It is supposed to obtain, read and digest all ordinances and resolutions passed by the City Councils of other cities, to gather facts and theories regarding such matters as the direct primary and municipal ownership, and to collect, edit and publish statistics upon all subjects of interest to the public officers of this town.
So far so good. But in order that such a supply of information shall be worth its cost there must be an actual demand for it. Under the Mahool administration, I believe, such a demand existed. The Hon. Mr. Mahool himself frequently called upon the department for reports upon this or that. And the City Council, scratching dutifully as his Honor itched, called too. But of what value is the department today? To what end does the city pay $3,690 a year for its support, when wisdom of a far higher grade, sagacity of a much purer ray, information of an infinitely greater accuracy is on tap in the Mayor’s office?
With H. M. the super-Mahon on the city’s pay-roll it is certainly a waste of money to pay salaries to lesser pundits. Here we have, by his own frank confession, the brainiest man alive today in Christendom, if not the brainiest man that ever lived--and every scrap of knowledge in his stupendous store is at the call of the public service. Take all the information in the files of Dr. Flack’s department and multiply it by 100, and then multiply the result by 1,000, and that result by 1,000,000–and you will have less than half of the super-Mahon’s daily increment.
He is the greatest of all experts upon the subjects of street paving, hydraulics, bridge-building, the single tax, serum therapy, journalism, internal cumbustion engines, prose fiction, oratory, ward heeling, theology, tailoring, pedagogy, taxation, sewerage disposal and international exchange. He is a master of all the arts, a journeyman of all the trades, a licentiate of all the learned professions. He is the world’s premier barrister-at-law. He knows, in detail, every law, by-law, ordinance, resolution or order ever passed by any parliamentary body in Europe or America since the year 800 A. D. He is familiar with every quirk, trick and technicality of legislation. He is the greatest living logician. He invented the recall, the initiative and the referendum--and then scrapped them as unworthy of his genius. He is constantly consulted by Senators in Congress, members of the German Reichstag and the national committees of both great political parties. The daily play and cavorting of his mind, if reduced to speech and set up in type, would fill 400 volumes octavo–and flabbergast humanity. Compared to him, Herbert Spencer seems a fourth-rate sciolist and Aristotle a half wit. He is an abyss of learning, a Matterhorn of ratiocination--and he doesn’t care a darn who knows it.
To support, in the face of this colossus, the feebled efforts of the Department of Legislative Reference, with its banal filing cabinets and bookshelves and batteries of statistics--to do that would be to steal money from the people’s pockets. All honor, then. to the Hon. S. S. Field for his meritorious and necessary bill. Bathed to the blinding rays of omniscience, he has no patience with earthworms.
Say what you will against Uncle Jake, he is a liberal fellow with his green lead-pencils and his cigars.
Less than two weeks more of loblollying and lobscousing at Annapolis! Then the harsh stage hand with the fateful hook--and 21 months of peace!
The Mahool charter, if passed unamended, would have retained the Second Branch of the City Council and abolished the First Branch. The Mahool charter, as amended by Mahon and super-Mahon, retains the First Branch and abolishes the Second. It is in the First Branch that all stupidity and rottenness have been centred from time immemorial. It is in the First Branch that a good Mayor is opposed and a bad Mayor is supported. It is in the First Branch that the ratio of jackasses to intelligent men is commonly as 4 is to 1. It is to the First Branch that the peculiar aroma of the whole Council resides and has its being. A fine day’s work, indeed! Credit another great public service to the account of the Hon. James McC. Trippe!
The betting odds in the downtowm kaifs, as my trembling todsaeufer tote them in:
2 to 1 that Harry will induce Isaac Straus to nominate him. 10 to 1 that Jim Trippe still believes that he has licked Anderson.