John N. Garner, of Texas, now speaker of the House, is one of the most capable of the Democratic leaders and stands as one of the most likely of the dark horse possibilities. Selected by the Hearst papers as their candidate for the nomination, Garner's personality and beliefs are discussed by A. C. Frazer '18, author, and a member of the Boston Evening American editorial staff.
The history of political conventions is a curious one. There are those who will tell you the conventions are "framed," that the overlords of the parties simply pull the strings and pop! out comes the candidate of their choice.
It so happens, however, that there is considerable competition between these "rings" of political bigwigs, those men-behind-the-scenes of our political literature, and the competition has usually been healthy even if the "rings" themselves smelled to high heaven.
No political crowd over held the reins but what there was another bunch plotting how to snatch control.
Thus appear the dark horse, the entry the leaders scorneth.
When the tumult and the shouting has died away, it is easy enough for the sophisticated cynics to make out that this gang or that one had the party's nominee all picked out in advance, that they were simply awaiting the strategic moment before opening the paddock gate and trotting out the winner. Harding, for example.
But close inspection of the facts will show that the individual chosen to carry the party's colors was frequently only the grudging, reluctant choice of one influential group or another, who decided at long last to ride him to victory rather than go down to defeat as bitter-enders with the candidate they backed at the start.
In short--the cynics notwithstanding--there are real dark horses.
Strongest Dark Horse
At the present writing one of these creatures with a high degree of potentiality is John Nance Garner, who left a law office in the cattle country about 29 years ago to go to Washington and eventually to become the Speaker of the House.
There are others. But in this forceful Texan are some distinct possibilities which others lack.
The present Speaker of the House has been most outspoken on occasions without number, and he has some very positive views on most matters, notably such important signposts on the nation's economic course as taxation, finance, and the tariff. Everybody who has followed events in the last dozen Congresses is perfectly aware of his position.
His Stand on War Debts
His record is clear. Plain enough to be read by any voter who takes the trouble to keep in touch with things governmental. Garner is pretty consistent and he doesn't pussyfoot. He doesn't pussyfoot on the League of Nations. He doesn't pussyfoot on the war debts. He doesn't pussyfoot on taxation, on which his views are those of the great mass of the common people. He doesn't pussyfoot on anything.
He led the fight against the Fordney-McCumber tariff bill and succeeded in lowering a number of the rates at which he aimed his guns. He led the fight on the Scott-Hawley tariff bill and on the Mellon tax plan. Credit is given him for the graduated income tax.