Sons of the Wild Jackass

By Ray Tucker; Frederick R. Barkley et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XII
"BURT" WHEELER: MONTANA MAVERICK

ON December 3, 1923, Burton Kendall Wheeler was just "a green Senator from Montana"--so green that he had to be cautioned not to smoke within the Senate chamber. Washington, with its precedents, cynicisms and obliquities, was almost as strange to him as the Grand Lama's Himalayan hideaway.

Four months later, President Calvin Coolidge grudgingly laid at his feet the official head of Attorney-GeneralHarry M. Daugherty--Daugherty the Warwick, the king-maker, the hard-faced political manipulator, who had euchred three powerful Republicans out of a Presidential nomination and placed the highest office in the world in the lap of the obscure Warren G. Harding!

In recent years occasional critics have asserted that Wheeler's admitted brilliance is bedimmed by his indolence. Perhaps they measure by too high and too rare a standard. It is not every year--nor even every quarter-century--that gives an apprentice Senator an opportunity to whip from public life an official so highly placed, so unscrupulously potent, as was Daugherty in his odorous heyday.

This dazzling episode in the life of the radical young lawyer from Butte may remain the zenith of

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