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Washington Post lambastes McKinley VP hopeful

Editor’s note: This is part of a weekly series marking the 120th anniversary of Niles native William McKinley’s U.S. presidency.

NILES — The first week of June 1900 brought another potential vice presidential candidate into the fray as the McKinley campaign soldiered on. The Washington Post from June 2, 1900, reported on the matter, giving its opinion at great length.

“Republicans are not prepared to accept, save with a wide margin of reservation, the assertion that it is the purpose of the administration to bring about the nomination of John D. Long, now secretary of the Navy, as McKinley’s running mate in the presidential campaign of 1900. The inexpediency of Long’s nomination forbids the thought that leaders of the party will voluntarily weaken the ticket by an inadvisable and extremely unwise vice presidential nomination.

“Success in politics is largely the result of wisdom displayed in considering the vote of certain sections. The New England states, which will give Long a nucleus of 72 votes in the Philadelphia convention, may safely be counted for McKinley under any and all circumstances.

“It would, therefore, be an exhibition of gross political indiscretion to select the Republican vice presidential nominee from that section and to thus totally disregard New York, Indiana, and the great Middle West, in all of which exists an element of doubt that must be taken into account.

“Further, it would be palpably inexpedient to nominate Long for still weightier reasons. To choose one so closely allied th the administration as he has been would be poor judgment, the better part of wisdom being to infuse new blood. Then, again, the nomination of Long would open the door for the introduction of the entire Sampson-Schley controversy into the campaign.

“By his official position, Secretary Long is the recognized head of the clique in the Navy that sought to rob Schley for Sampson’s profit, and that, although its purpose was defeated, has caused honor and promotion to be withheld from the heroes of Santiago. The injection of this old quarrel into the campaign would be deplorable but the nomination of Long would be a direct invitation to that result.

“The Republican party wants for its vice presidential candidate a man who can represent all the party stands for and who can bring strength to the ticket. Any man who, by reason of his personality and the esteem in which he is held, can insure a victory in Indiana or New York, or who can offset the direct influence Bryan exerts west of the Mississippi will be acceptable. John D. Long is not the man who can do this, and the party leaders, if they have determined upon his nomination, will do well to reconsider before it is too late. The party needs and demands a man to assist McKinley, not one McKinley will be compelled to carry.”

McKinley’s running mate would eventually be New York Gov. Theodore Roosevelt.

Farris is director of the National McKinley Birthplace Museum in Niles.

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