“If it was simply style, William Jennings Bryan would have been president.”Extremely interesting, Bryan was, last, the candidate of the Democracy — a hundred years ago. It was the third time he was so. A comic would immediately think, “McCain remembers?” No, but Bryan must have been negatively evoked by those whom raised John McCain.
— John McCain, in USA Today.
Bryan was an anti-imperialist and anti-war man. Such ideas are directly contrary to Republican military circles. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone.* Panama had been part of Colombia, and the United States government was active in its “independence” from Colombia, and then carved out the Zone for a 99 year lease. Bryan opposed Theodore Roosevelt’s imperialism. That Roosevelt was considered a maverick within the Republican party, and that is why he was put as McKinley’s vice-president, where he could do nothing. History and fate intervened, when McKinley was assassinated in 1901. Roosevelt was president for nearly eight years. In 1912 he left that party and ran as a Progressive for president. Wilson won and Bryan, for a time, was Secretary of State.
I would suppose McCain, and his family and their friends, adored Teddy and disliked Bryan. Bryan was the best orator of his day. His “Cross of Gold ” speech won the convention for him in 1896, he was 36 at the time. The parallel is being acknowledged by McCain, he knows something of history, unlike bushjr, although it may not be a good tactical move. Bryan was the candidate in ’96 of a dozen or so parties, and William Hanna used a huge war chest, and every dirty trick available, to take the election for McKinley. It is interesting to note, that, Hanna is a hero to Karl Rove.
A little while ago, Obama spoke at the convention of the Democracy, and people saw he was a candidate to come; as earlier, when Cuomo gave a convention speech, and in between; William Jefferson Clinton attempted a good speech, to get notice, and gave a long, windy and boring one. It was so bad that Johnny Carson needled Clinton so strongly, that, in a spirit of graciousness, he had Clinton and, I think, his saxophone on the show. That was Clinton’s first national reconciliation and his campaign was on again.
William Jennings Bryan had plenty of substance. Herbert Hoover remarked, of the good Roosevelt, that the New Deal was simply Bryanism.† The play and the movie of “Inherit the Wind” has blackened and ridiculed Bryan. If one were to actually read Bryan’s undelivered speech‡, that Darrow manœuvred not to be spoken, they would see how evil the use of darwinism is, when, it is used to govern human society. Bryan saw that such a system, were it to be used, in Germany specifically, would bring something much like Hitlerism!
noto bene: At the Cleveland Rock and Roll Museum, there is an audio loop taken from an early phonographic record, that is, of the voice of Bryan speaking on a piece of railroad legislation.
*McCain’s father and grandfather were admirals. McCain had been the navy’s liaison to the Senate.
†“Bryanism under new words and methods”. See: A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, by Michael Kazin, perhaps also, Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1996 by John Gerring.
‡see my post of 4 September 2007.