Will Rogers, damp and disillusioned, cast a sad eye through the fog that has settled upon the convention at Cleveland, and after recovering from the din of his own typewriter, wrote that "the Oklahoma delegation brought a fiddler, but when he heard all the silence he started crying and broke his fiddle." "The city," in sheer desperation, he thought, "is opening up the churches now and having services so the delegates and visitors can go and hear some singing or excitement of some kind."
Those peripheral penmen whose noses are keen for "human interest", are finding the scent at Cleveland faint and cold. Kirby, cartoonist for the World, has vented his disappointment by picturing the typical defegate masquerading in mid-winter regalia and shivering against a background of icebergs, snow and aurora borealis.
So far, indeed, the convention has seemed bleak and drear. There is much that is bright and beautiful about the Forest City, but the delegates are heavy with sobering business, and their rendezvous is close to the sooted and drab Union Station and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument.
But there is something more than the weather and the soot and the Volstead Act to explain the lack of color and noise, of bonfires, fireworks, and ringing campaign cries like "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too." The figure which the faithful Vermont delegation made singing in overcoats what was intended to be a warm and rousing song, "Keep Cool and Keep Coolidge", largely explains the nature of the convention.
There is no contest for presidential candidate. President Coolidge, the cool, reserved leader of a Republican association, stands quietly on a solidly conservative platform. The drawing for the place of vice-president has hardly quickened a pulse; names whispered sedately in hotel lobbies are soon officially withdrawn.
There is, however, still some hope. President Nicholas Murray Butler and Mr. Mencken are in Cleveland. William Jennings Bryan is present, and La Follette is buying lumber for a platform. One of the darker horses may canter in under cover of the fog, or the weather may even change.