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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Presidential Candidates in Coral Gables

include 3 time Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan. "William Jennings Bryan, a nationally famous minister and politician, enthralled prospective purchasers of real estate from a platform in Venetian Pool. Fleets of buses and trains delivered prospective buyers to Coral Gables."

I just learned the debate was in Coral Gables reading this Business week slam down of Elmer Befuddled.

Let me see if I can count the ironies. Bryan was nominated jointly by the Democratic party and the Populist party in 1896 and lost the most bitterly fought and highest turnout presidential election in US history. The Populist party had a platform cribbed from the Communist manifesto.

The election Pitted the North East and great lakes region against the rest of the country, the North-East was Republican and the rest Democratic-Populist. McKinley was elected without winning a state West of the Mississippi or South of the Mason Dixon line, the Red state Blue state divide was much sharper than it is now, but it was radical Red Vs Union Blue then.

Bryan set a record for major party nominees by losing 3 Presidential elections. That's how he ended up pitching real estate in Coral Gables.

Bryan set a record for ignorance and insularity in foreign policy, when, as Wilson's Secretary of State, he invited Switzerland to send the flagship of it's navy to the opening of Panama Canal. The Swiss America's cup victory is a wonderful humiliation for a US centric populist.

Bryan ran for President in 1900 and 1904 as an anti-imperialist opposing the US adventure in the Phillipines quagmire. There was recently an international poll in which Kerry generally hammered Bush. The best country for Bush, by far, was the Phillipines.

William Jenning Bryan was the model for the cowardly lion, who was not a caricature of draft dodging hawks. This is demonstrated by Hugh Rockoff in an article belaboring the obvious point that the Wizard of Oz is an allegory on monetary policy (Journal of Political Economy Vol 98 pp 739-760.

As a populist Bryan opposed both social darwinism and Darwinism arguing that Scopes should be sent to jail for teaching kids about evolution. Back in the good old days, classical liberalism seemed coherent. When did social issue conservatives and populists make peace with capitalism ? I don't know exactly, but I just learned where "Venetian Pool, Coral Gables USA"

Finally the late Coral Gables promoting populist must be turning over in his grave as two bonesmen debate which should be president of the USA.

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