Monday, July 9, 2007

Wednesday July 9

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Matt's Notes

I imagine Papa left today's page blank because he was up until four in the morning listening to the Democratic Convention. As noted yesterday, the convention's week-long balloting deadlock had finally broken and all candidates, including former frontrunners William McAdoo and Al Smith, had released their delegates. (Or, as the New York Times put it, "The two men in this convention who have inspired the bitterest ecstasies of love and had had been driven out of the running after a struggle that had endured too long...")

Papa certainly tuned his radio to the convention proceedings on this day and heard, at 2:35 in the afternoon, the completion of the 103rd ballot in which John W. Davis received the nomination. A native West Virginian, Davis had served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom, as a one-term member of Congress and as Solicitor General under Woodrow Wilson. He was a fairly progressive Democrat -- he condemned the Ku Klux Klan and advocated the repeal of prohibition -- and was a formidable appellate lawyer. His running mate turned out to be Nebraska's Charles W. Bryan, brother of the famed orator William Jennings Bryan (William J. had inauspiciously supported the more conservative William McAdoo throughout the convention and had lobbied against Davis' nomination).

Davis was, of course, doomed to lose regardless of his qualifications. The Democratic Party had turned into a national joke, literally, during the protracted and contentious convention. (Since Alabama began each of the 103 convention ballots by nominating its Senator, Oscar Underwood, the words "Alabama casts twenty-four votes for Oscar W. Underwood" became a national catch phrase and vaudeville punch line along the lines of "I'm the decider.") Papa would have liked Davis, but but no one would have been able to overcome the party's problems in time for Election Day.

References from the New York Times:

Other References:

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