A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge

By William Allen White | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXVII
The Big Scene in Act III

Now let us turn from business to politics. The spring of 1924 saw a major miracle in American politics. It was Coolidge's own miracle. No old stager of national politics ever went more directly to his end and aim, for a Presidential nomination, than Calvin Coolidge. Two days after Harding's death, Richard Oulahan, of the New York Times, dean of the historians of the daily press in Washington, wrote that Harding's death had left the Republican party in chaos, divided into many factions, with many candidates for the Presidential nomination. He listed Senators Hiram Johnson, La Follette, Borah and Watson. He included Herbert Hoover, Lowden and former Justice Hughes in his list. Coolidge evidently realized what Oulahan sensed. Characteristically when only his own fortunes were at stake, he acted with decision. The President managed to have his boom for nomination launched from the front steps of the White House early, even before frost, when Senator George Moses, World Court irreconcilable, after chatting for an hour with the President, came out and declared:

"I shall call on all New England to stand behind President Coolidge for a second term."

Senator Borah declared a week later: "Give him a chance to make good. I think he is an able man. Give the man at the helm a chance."

And the next day a Coolidge for President club was organized in Kansas City. Before Thanksgiving, tried and true party men like Senator Smoot, Senator Keyes, of New Hampshire, Senator Weller, of Maryland, Wm. S. Vare, the Philadelphia boss, James S. McNary, a Republican field agent in Texas and New Mexico, and Representative Martin B. Madden, of Chicago, had managed to proclaim their support of Coolidge. Late in September, the President planned to restore to Senator La Follette, of Wisconsin,

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