Baltimore Evening Sun (3 July 1912): 6.
THE OFFICIAL FORRCAST. [The super-Mahon in his weekly paper] When the showdown comes he [I] will be UNANIMOUSLY nominated for the Vice-Presidency.
There are times suitable for laughing at a mountebank, but the moment of his butchery is not one of them. Mirth stands flabbergasted and ashamed before the spectacle of anguish deliberately inflicted, however grotesque the manner of its infliction. No Baltimorean, I take it, is disposed to cackle over the Hon. the super-Mahon today. His struggle for the Vice-Presidential nomination, a piece of amusing bumptiousness from the beginning, promised to end last night upon the note of high comedy. But its actual climax was a scene of humiliation so bitter and so cruel, a reductio ad absurdum so unexpected and so overwhelming, that those who laughed at the moment, yielding to its irresistible humors, must be heartily ashamed of themselves today.
It should be said for the super-Mahon, in all justice, that accident was in part responsible for the pitiful ending of his campaign. It was quite by accident that his chosen nominator and spellbinder, the Hon. Alonzo L. Miles, was not in the best of form, and it was by another accident that the delegates were in blood-letting mood. The two factors combined to make that hideous half half of barbarous burlesque. The Hon. Mr. Miles had scarcely reached the platform before the hoots and guffaws began, and in a few minutes the convention was in the midst of a scene of rough comedy almost without parallel. So bad did it become, indeed, and so embarrassing, that a number of delegates arose to protest, and one of them, Governor Brewer of Mississippi, was recognized by the chair. But Governor Brewer had scarcely said 20 words before a slip of the tongue brought a roar of laughter down upon him, and after that, for nearly half an hour, the delegates and alternates devoted themselves to baiting the Hon. Mr. Miles and to laughing at Baltimore’s candidate. And when, in the end, the name of that candidate was formally pronounced, and the Maryland delegation set up a feeble applause, the galleries responded with a storm of hissing.
Altogether, a brutal and intolerable affair, and one to be forgotten, in all charity, as soon as possible. But if the super-Mahon is a man of ordinary intelligence—and, despite a constant flow of incredible follies, one may still argue that he is—he will at least get some profit out of the experience. Where he erred most was in assuming that the buffooneries and imbecilities which ravish and inflame a horde of ward heelers, hand picked and eager for jobs, would also ravish and inflame the delegates to a national convention. Entirely without colorable claim to the Vice-Presidency or to any other honorable place, for his course in office has been uniformly selfish and reactionary, he tried to force his candidacy upon the delegates by devices so impertinent and so preposterous that he outraged and disgusted them beyond endurance.
And in achieving this result, and so opening the way for last night’s unprecedented humiliation, the activities of the local newspaper which presumed to manage his campaign must be set down as of prime influence. The reporters of that paper besieged every incoming delegation with requests for endorsements of his candidacy, and the kindly words of men who wished merely to say something agreeable about the Mayor of the convention city were distorted into grotesque and senseless encomiums. Going further, this paper filled its columns daily with extravagant and ridiculous praises of the man—crediting him with initiating public improvements begun long before he was heard of, defending him against the reasonable criticism of those dismayed by his game of grab, and feeding him constantly with flattery so open and so offensive that it turned the stomach of every self-respecting man. And going still further, it ventured into a puny and disingenuous attack upon those decent newspapers which told the truth about him.
Disaster was bound to follow—and follow it did, with a vengeance. The delegates resented this deluge of balderdash and they resented still more the strong-arm enterprises accompanying it. The packing of the hall with ward heelers, herded like cattle and maxched in by companies and brigades, gave the final touch. They were of no help, as the issue showed, to Clark—and they completed the ruin of Preston. The delegates resented this effort to browbeat them and lead them by the nose, and they showed it in the end by hooting Baltimore’s candidate and voting him down. On the first ballot, instead of the usual complimentary vote for a local aspirant, he got just 58 votes out of 1,094. Of these 16 were cast by the embarrassed Maryland delegates and 26 came from the Missouri Clark men for value received. The remaining 16 were cast by delegates who were sincerely sorry for the man—delegates who obviously felt that the thing had gone too far, that resentment had got too much of savagery into it.
Meanwhile the thing for every good Baltimorean to do is to forget the whole episode as quickly as possible. The papers of the entire country print reports of it this morning—reports poking fun at Baltimore and “Baltimore’s candidate.” The city stands shamed and humiliated before the nation. It is a shame in which every one of us has his share, for, after all, the super-Mahon is our chief magistrate and he cannot be made a public butt and scarecrow without invading our municipal dignity.
His own best course, if he is wise, will be one of silence. The time is not for explanations and recriminations. It will do him no good to resume his bellowing against a licentious press—to blame the consequences of his own astounding folly upon those papers that are with him, sincerely and enthusiastically, so long as he tries to serve the people honestly, and against him only when he opposes decent government for his own profit. That storm of hisses from the galleries should show him just how far his ill-advised efforts at rabble-rousing and newspaper-baiting have brought him. And it should show him with equal impressivesess how dangerous is the support of the journalistic half-world, with its preposterous tallowing and its disgusting attacks upon good citizenship.
He has been punished severely, in all conscience, but he is still upon his legs. Let him now put his tallow-pots and brass bands and hired sluggers behind him, and devote his whole time to the business of the people who pay him to serve them.