His inglorious departure from the presidency did not mean that Herbert Hoover was about to leave politics or public life. Hoover had fought against the odds all of his life and he was not about to give up because of a political defeat. As the titular head of the Republican Party, it was Hoover's nominal responsibility to marshal the troops and rebuild the party for the 1936 elections. As his train chugged west to California, Hoover gave these matters considerable thought.
The first six months after his departure from Washington were filled with rumors. The most popular story was that Hoover and Andrew Mellon, the former Secretary of the Treasury, had been arrested in New York, caught in the act of sailing to Europe with gold bullion stolen from Fort Knox. Such stories left Hoover bitter; he was certain that Roosevelt's henchmen--Stephen Early, Charles Michelson and Louis Howe--were behind these stories.
Hoover vowed to devote as much time as possible to exposing and defeating Roosevelt and his New Deal programs. Yet Hoover was no down-and-dirty politician. He generally remained aloof and confined his attacks to rather dry speeches and books such as Challenge to Liberty published in November of 1934.
And the New Dealers were not above paranoia. Throughout the 1930s, various Democratic operatives speculated on the movement of various Hoover men such as Lawrence Richey, Hugh Gibson and Jay Darling. What were they up to? More important, what was Hoover up to?
The end of the decade shifted the nation's attention to the threat of a new