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The country was mired in one of the worst economic periods in its history and it was on the verge of an increasingly pivotal and momentous election.  Americans were polarized and each of the two great factions slung accusations of class warfare toward the other.

The Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party championed a “fairer and more balanced” economy.  He saw an increasing burden carried by average Americans and he sought policies intended to provide relief.  The nominee of the Republican Party was considered a great friend of the business class.  He espoused the belief that all Americans would be “better off” when the American business economy was considered “best off.”  

The Republican hopeful received great and unprecedented sums of donations from wealthy businessmen and interests.  He greatly outspent his Democratic counterpart throughout their grueling campaign.  This, in part, spurred many on the political “left” to call the Republican a pawn of the wealthy and the powerful.  They feared the power that the most wealthy possessed and the influence that they exerted on the policies of government.  In contrast, those from the more conservative “right” referred to the Democratic candidate as a socialist and a dangerous liberal that wanted to redistribute money from the wealthy to the less so.  Some employers advised their workers that jobs may be lost if the Democrat won.  

If you read only the preceding paragraphs, and missed this article’s title before them, you might be reminded of any number of past presidential elections.  Yet, given either a natural focus on the immediate or the magnitude of current concerns, you’ve probably been reminded of Obama vs. Romney.  The lessons of the Presidential election of 1896 provide insight about the significance of version 2012.

The great economic issue of 1896 was the question whether the United States should change its monetary policy reliance on the “gold standard,” whereby the value of the U.S. Dollar was pegged to a given amount of gold in the federal gold reserve.  The government’s supply of gold was not keeping up with the increasing need for more dollars.  If the government was unable to add more gold to its supply, it would be unable to print more dollars.  

In response to the gold shortage, some progressive politicians and farmer advocates promoted the cause of “bi-metalism,” a proposal to peg the value of the dollar to both silver and gold.  By including silver, the government might be able to accumulate a new inventory of silver that would allow the printing of additional dollars.  Advocates of bi-metalism also argued that it would provide more money for industrial expansion and job creation for the lower working class.  
For the three years prior to the 1896 election, the nation had been in a deep economic depression with very high unemployment.  It was in many ways a much bleaker time than 2012 and our recent economic pain.  

In the 1890s, much of the United States was still devoted to agriculture and many Americans were farmers.  Many of the farmers mortgaged their farms and borrowed more money to purchase farming machinery and other needed items.  With the bi-metalism monetary approach and the increased supply of dollars it would enable, it was hoped that the farmers would earn higher prices for their crops and it would be easier to repay their existing debts.  It was an age before governmental farm aid programs and little other hope was offered to the country’s many struggling farmers.  

William Jennings Bryan was the young 36 year old Democratic nominee while William McKinley was the more experienced 53 year old Republican choice.  Bryan forcefully championed the cause of bi-metalism and McKinley, a consistent supporter of the status quo, preferred to remain on the singular gold standard.  Bryan had won the Democratic nomination over Grover Cleveland, the incumbent Democratic President that represented the more business-connected wing of their party.  

The Republican campaign’s $3.5 million budget was enormous for its day.  It enabled McKinley to outspend Bryan by a factor of five.  Much of the McKinley campaign was run by a millionaire businessman named Mark Hanna who made his fortune primarily through the coal and iron industries.  

Bryan, on the other hand, spoke out against the “money power” in Washington.  In fact, Bryan was curiously also the 1896 presidential nominee of the more liberal Populist Party that most prominently championed the welfare of farmers and the rural population.  

In addition to his support for a bi-metalism monetary policy, Byran also urged the implementation of a progressive federal income tax and the right of women to vote.  The McKinley campaign accused the Democrat of supporting government ownership of communication and transportation businesses.

On November 3, 1896, McKinley became our 25th President with 276 electoral votes compared to Bryan’s 176, and by a popular vote margin of 51% to Bryan’s 47%.

The significance of the Republican victory included its symbolic and policy importance to the shift of the country from an agrarian nation to one of predominantly urban interests.  The victory also began a 36 year period during which the White House was occupied by a string of Republicans, interrupted only by the two terms of Democrat Woodrow Wilson.  But, the significance also included a missed opportunity.  

Our younger country missed an opportunity to give more prosperity, and the power that it brings, to more people.  It isn’t my position that a Bryan presidency would have promised only better results than those of the McKinley legacy.  But, maybe, in some important ways, a Bryan administration would have led our country on a more just and egalitarian path that might still lead us today.  

Bryan was twice more the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, in 1900 and 1908.  While he did serve as the Secretary of State from 1913 through 1915 under Woodrow Wilson, he never got a chance to implement the changes he sought.

The era that led up to 1896 is often referred to as the “Gilded Age.”  It was the time of the super wealthy “robber barrons” like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.  While some of those men donated generously to worthy causes, as Carnegie and Rockefeller did later in life, it remained a time of incredible disparity of wealth and life quality.

It’s estimated that in 1890 the richest 10% of households owned about 75% of the nation’s wealth.  It was the height of the Gilded Age.  In 2009, an estimated 73.1% of the wealth was controlled by the top 10%, with 34.6% held by just the top 1%.  It is also widely estimated that the disparity has further increased during the recent recession and economic turbulence that began in 2008.  The growing gap is even more stark if you examine the share of wealth held by the most extremely wealthy within the top 0.1% or 0.01%.

The period immediately before the Great Depression, together with the Gilded Age, have often been referenced as our country’s most notable periods of great inequality.  In October 1929, a stock market crash began the Great Depression and in 1929, the top 1% of wealth holders are estimated to have controlled 44.2% of the nation’s wealth.  

Yet, our country has also experienced periods of far less inequality.  In 1976, shortly before the “Reagan Revolution” of the ‘80s, the wealth of the top 1% of Americans is estimated at 19.9% of the total.

We must learn from our history.  The America that followed its “lost opportunity” to elect William Jennings Bryan, was an America that became the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world with its greatest average standard of living.  Yet, many Americans remained in great poverty with few, if any, economic safety nets, healthcare opportunities, employment safety protections, child labor standards or food safety requirements.  The “missed opportunity” meant that millions of Americans would continue to suffer for many more years until subsequent opportunities were seized.  

Intermittently during the 36 years that followed the election of 1896, the country implemented some progressive legislation that had been championed by Bryan.  The adoption of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913 brought a progressive federal income tax.  With the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, the right of women to vote was finally recognized.

After the great wealth disparity of the 1920s, this country did seize its opportunity to replace the wealthy businessman, President Herbert Hoover, who didn’t believe that it was the “job” of the federal government to provide assistance to the poor or sick.  He believed that the free market or private charities would sufficiently fill all needs.  The Great Depression highlighted their failure and, this time, the country seized its opportunity.  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932.  During his three full presidential terms, and his fourth term cut short by his death, FDR and his “New Deal” brought our country Social Security, FDIC insurance for bank accounts, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the country’s first real regulation of Wall Street abuses, the National Labor Relations Act and its protections for organizing labor unions, the Fair Labor Standards Act which created the federal minimum wage, mortgage relief programs, farm aid programs, unemployment aid and government jobs programs.

In a 1962 interview, former President Harry Truman said that “if it wasn’t for old Bill Bryan there wouldn’t be any liberalism at all in the country now.  Bryan kept liberalism alive, he kept it going.”  Truman was raised on a farm in the late 1800s and he never forgot the work of the great advocate of indebted farmers.  

Yet, if elected, William Jennings Bryan may not have been a good President.  It’s true that any study of his biography would find flaws and concerns.  Even on the central issue of “bi-metalism” vs. the “gold standard,” it is unclear what effect Bryan’s chosen path would have had on many of the country’s poor.  While the inflation caused by bi-metalism would have aided the debt-ridden mortgage-paying farmers, it might have hurt the many other wage-earning, rent-paying poor.  

However, on the singular issue of economic justice and equality, the election of 1896 represented a deferral of action, a kicking of the proverbial can further down the road, to the detriment of many Americans.

America’s increasing wealth gap between the rich and the poor or middle class resembles, in many ways, the conditions that existed during the Gilded Age and immediately before the Great Depression.  One of the great questions for the elections on November 6, 2012 will be whether Americans will “kick the can down the road” again.  The Presidents and the Congress elected during the first Gilded Age failed to deal, in any significant way, with the wealth disparities and the welfare of its poorer citizens.  A greater, and more noble, path would resemble the election of 1932 that brought us FDR.    

To compare the moderate President Obama to the more ambitiously liberal William Jennings Bryan might be more an act of contrasting then comparing.  Yet, compared to the extreme positions advanced by the current dominant powers within the Republican Party, a second Obama term may be equally important to limit the increasing concentration of wealth and power in corporations and the super wealthy.  

President Obama will likely appoint Supreme Court Justices that will vote to overturn the “Citizens United” decision that has allowed corporations and billionaires to gain even greater control of our government.  I also expect that he would champion an effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to specifically permit limits on political contributions and eliminate the “Citizens United” precedent.  

President Obama does not propose tax cuts that include the super wealthy which would be funded by cuts in FDR’s Social Security, in Medicaid, in Medicare, and in a multitude of other “safety nets” and programs that are not needed by the wealthy, but are part of what made our country increasingly great during its last century.

In 2012, the Republican Party has re-energized the failed “trickle-down economics” that theorizes that providing more prosperity to the most wealthy will invariably bring the same benefit to everyone else through job creation and economic stimulus.  Many years before Reagan and Romney, William Jennings Bryan said that “[t]here are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below.  The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests up on them.”

Much like 1896, the American electorate has a choice to make about who, and how many, among us will have a voice in our country and whether we want to continue down the path of providing more and more to a smaller number of the wealthy and powerful while leaving less and less for the rest.  November 6th will be our second chance at 1896.

Originally posted to Rob Elders on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  William Jennings Bryan (8+ / 0-)

    was a relative of mine.  My Great Grandfather used to tell me stories of family gatherings and political events with him there when he was just a kid.  I have no doubt an Obama victory will give him the opportunity to finish what he has started and get this country back on track.

  •  a sidenote about the 1896 election: (18+ / 0-)

    kkkarl rove was an avid student of mark hanna & sought to model both of gwbush's presidential campaigns on the ones hanna ran for william mckinley -- particularly when it came to having the candidate "look" presidential & not take questions from reporters.  

    another creepy coincidence about mckinley's presidency & rove was mckinley wanted a war of empire for the us (& our business interests) & when the spanish american war ended the us controled cuba & annexed the phillipines & hawaii as us territories -- sound familiar to the gwbush/iraq connection?

    the same economic policies mckinley promoted are still the ones the r's tout as "new" & "bold" -- & rove is using the same old lies to sell them that mark hanna did.

  •  One enormous sociopolitical shift makes 2012 (31+ / 0-)

    different.  Bryan's populism was strongly associated with rural fundamentalism, which is now attached mostly to the plutocratic party.

      LBJ foresaw that signing the civil rights bill of 1964 would be the death knell of the Democratic party in the South. But that shift wouldn't have been so drastic if the Republicans hadn't have decided to take advantage of the opening by starting to appeal to every sort of bigotry, bias, and ingrained ignorance possible.   It seems to me that a commitment to that gambit contains the seeds of its own demise; and hopefully the current nominees' not just blatant but actually defiant lack of any regard for fact and truth signal the beginning of its death throes.  Even some of the chronically pathetically enabling MSM seem to have found the doubling down on the Ohio Jeep lie a bridge too far.  Maybe that's a start.

    •  Great comment. And great article! Ta. n/t (7+ / 0-)

      A PALINDROME: Slip-up set in Utah. Trail, no? M. Romney -- odd! Elder an AMC man, a Red-led doyen. Mormon liar that unites pupils?

      by Obama Amabo on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 04:32:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it boggles my mind (11+ / 0-)

      how Evangelical Christians have, over the past century, shifted from the left side of the political spectrum to the right.  The progressive slant of Evangelicals partly motivated their opposition to the theory of evolution.  In creating hie ideas regarding competition among species for limited resources, Darwin borrowed heavily from the economic theories of Thomas Malthus.  "Social Darwinism" thus has its origins in Malthus' ideas, rather than Darwin's.  In any case, the idea that the people at the top of the economic ladder deserve to be there because they are best adapted to free-market economics became inextricably, and mistakenly, linked to the theory of evolution.  As such, Bryan's last act, in representing the anti-evolution interests in the Scopes trial, he viewed as yet another battle to defend the poor and vulnerable.

      In any case, modern Evangelicals seem to have lost Bryan's regard for the poor and vulnerable.

      (By the way, there was nothing called "Fundamentalism" in this country before about 1915-20.  It was a surprise to me to discover that Fundamentalist Christianity is a relatively modern creation.)

      -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

      by gizmo59 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:31:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't called "fundamentalism" (7+ / 0-)

        in the old days, but the idea of believing in the literal truth of the bible was a common feature of rural evangelical churches of the time (clearly reflected in Bryan's "Monkey Trial" testimony)...the defining feature of modern fundamentalism is that it took advantage of modern technology (TV) to reach out and expand beyond its rural base, and turn back the tide of rising rationalism resulting from expanded educational access.

        As for the change in attitudes toward the poor, that was the ironic result of the New Deal and Great Society programs, which raised enough people out of poverty long enough for them to start thinking of themselves as entitled, and thus feeling they belonged in the party of privilege (the Republicans). Poverty, in their eyes, was for black people, and Christ didn't say they had to be nice to black people.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:21:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good pt. -- also a connection between Randianism (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gizmo59, walkshills, ruleoflaw

        and Social Darwinism besides the obvious.  Rand's philosophy is pretty blatantly a vulgarization of Nietszche -- sort of Nazism without the anti- Semitism and overt militarism/nationalism, Nazism reduced to the individual level.  Since Nietszche's Superman theory, with it's denigration of Christianity & charity, had its origins in Social Darwinism.  In other words, the fundies have been captured by their old arch-enemy in sheep's clothing.  To paraphrase Thomas Frank, "What's the matter with Fundies?"

  •  What T.R. said about McKinley could easily be... (14+ / 0-)

    A PALINDROME: Slip-up set in Utah. Trail, no? M. Romney -- odd! Elder an AMC man, a Red-led doyen. Mormon liar that unites pupils?

    by Obama Amabo on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 04:51:16 AM PDT

  •  Excellent Diary, and really good work! Thanks :) (8+ / 0-)

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Economic
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 04:58:52 AM PDT

  •  Another thing that happened in 1896: (17+ / 0-)

    Svante Arrhenius discovered that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere would cause global warming.

  •  But I view the parties c. 1865-1920 as esentially (9+ / 0-)

    the reverse of today, with the Republicans being the relatively more progressive, then a reverse coming (rather like the periodic charge reversing of the Earth's poles) culminating with 1932-1936 changes. It was TR who led national parks, attacking malifactors of great wealth, was the Trust Buster, even had Booker T. washington to dinner at the White House during Jim Crow times. I think WJB might be viewed more as a prairie radical then a proto-Progressive. And it was midwestern GOPers who led much of the Progressive movement. And of course it was racist white Southerners who were the backbone of the Democratic Party from the 1870s through the 1920s.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:30:11 AM PDT

  •  Good article! Some additional observations on 1896 (15+ / 0-)

    Nice summary of an important election! Here are some additional observations:
    -The electoral map was almost the opposite of 2012, with the South and Great Plain united behind Bryan while today's blue states were in the McKinley's column.
    -Bryan is (rightly) maligned for his defense of creationism at the Scopes trial, but we ought to remember that Darwin's theory had been used throughout the Gilded Age to defend inequality as natural selection ("Social Darwinism").
    -Dems didn't just invent economic progressivism. They co-opted (in watered down fashion) the themes of the People's Party,  better known as the Populists, which had threatened in the early 1890s to replace the Democratic Party as the Republicans had replaced the Whigs in the 1850s. An alternate history could be written of a 20th century in which the People's Party became the principal vehicle for economic justice while the Bourbon Democrats faded into obscurity.
    -Most readers will have heard of the thesis that The Wizard of Oz was an allegory on the election of 1896, with the Tin Man and Scarecrow representing the alliance of farmer and industrial workers, the Wicked Witch being the big corporations, the Wizard being pols manipulated by the wealthy interests, and the Cowardly Lion representing Wm Jennings Bryan. The Yellow Brick Road was the Gold Standard, leading to Oz (the abbreviation for ounce, the measure of gold). Frank Baum denied that this was his intent, but the ardent populism of the story is hard to miss.

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

    by Blue Boomer on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 05:41:01 AM PDT

  •  Funny (6+ / 0-)

    but when I think back on how I was taught this period in high school, I got the impression that Bryant was a signal failure: a perennial candidate who never won the Presidency, finishing his career by using religious prejudice to attack science.  Not only does this essay put him in a finer light as a person, but I do wonder if Bryant's legacy wasn't stronger and longer-lasting than any of the Republican Presidents who he opposed.  He kept the issues alive and the fires burning until one by one the sparks caught.  Not bad for a Cowardly Lion.

  •  William Jennings Bryan was the Barry Goldwater (4+ / 0-)

    of progressivism, He was the harbinger whose political ideas were implemented by his political progeny  in Theodore Roosevelt ,Bob LaFollette, and later Franklin Roosevelt.

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:00:18 AM PDT

  •  Ironically, when McKinley was assassinated, (7+ / 0-)

    this elevated Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency; and despite being a wealthy Repubican, TR implemented a broad range of progressive reforms that at least briefly moderated the march toward inequality. He also basically created the National Park system and placed the foundations of conservation and environmentalism at a time of utterly rapacious resource exploitation.

    On the other hand, he remained a Jingo-istic colonialist with an unseemly lust for warfare. So there's that.

  •  Populism 1896 is not = neoliberalism 2012 (6+ / 0-)

    The economic neoliberalism embraced at all levels of both major parties today is exactly what the Populists  were in rebellion against.  No, the policies of Geithner, Summers, and Siimpson-Bowles have nothing to do with the purposes and values of the Peoples Party and the Farmers Alliance.  The reality of 1896 was that fusion with the Democrats and the rise of the huckster Bryan was the death-blow to the entire Populist agenda, which then got shelved for the next 36 years until a desperate government in the depths of the Great Depression was willing to try anything to reverse the consequences of the Gilded Age the long-dead Populists had risen against.  Read Lawrence Goodwyn's Populist Moment  to get a real grasp of the greatest grassroots political movement in American political history(I would actually recommend his larger Democratic Promise, but it is almost entirely unavailable.)

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:27:48 AM PDT

  •  One difference between Bryan and Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RobElders

    Bryan was the one opposed to some aspects of science.  Later in his career he argued against evolution at the Scopes trial.  Today the big scientific-political fuss is about climate change, and Republicans are the anti-science party.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:42:23 AM PDT

  •  I like this comment on the link (0+ / 0-)

    "Obviously this election worker is a liberal plant attempting to make republicans look bad.

    IS THERE NOTHING YOU WON'T SINK TO OBAMA?"

    Reminds me of a comment I saw on the YouTube of PBO's speech in New Jersey on Wednesday--essentially accusing him of deploying a secret "weather machine" to create the storm and accrue the political benefits.

    These people are sick in the head.

    Barack Obama is not a secret socialist class warrior who wants to redistribute wealth in America. But I'll still vote for him, anyway.

    by looty on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:57:09 PM PDT

  •  Bryan was against Social Darwinism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat, RobElders

    While looking around Amazon one day I found a book/pamphlet "Headquarters Nights: A Record of Conversations and Experiences at the Headquarters of the German Army in France and Belgium". A readers comment mentioned how William Jennings Bryan was influenced after reading the pamphlet against social Darwinism practiced by the WWI German army and authorities. Author of it was Vernon Kellogg who was a Biology instructor at the University of Kansas - Lawrence before the war and a official traveling observer of the front prior to the US entry.

    The foreword to it is interesting...if I may quote.

    "One of the most graphic pictures of the German attitude, the attitude which has rendered this war inevitable, is contained in Vernon Kellogg's 'Headquarters Nights.' It is a convincing, and an evidently truthful, exposition of the shocking, the unspeakably dreadful moral and intellectual perversion of character which makes Germany at present a menace to the whole civilized world.
         The man who reads Kellogg's sketch and yet fails to see why we are at war, and why we must accept no peace save that of over-whelming victory, is neither a good American nor a true lover of mankind."

    Theodore Roosevelt    Sagamore Hill   Aug 26, 1917

    The author Kellogg was a true pacifist, against the war as I understand it and changed from opposing the war to supporting it with this small book.

    I don't know if William J. Bryan read the book or was influenced by it as the amazon comment mentioned but it is plausible.

    I have the book and have read it, the Germans were Social Darwinist's, no question. It has tempered my attitude about whatever complexities Bryan had in the famous Scopes trial.

  •  McKinley was the last (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RobElders

    Civil War veteran to serve as president. It was an unwritten requirement for 30 years that the Republican nominee be a Union Army Vet. His Union Army service helped him lock up the northeast and upper midwest states, sewing up the electoral college.

    Bryan was more popular in the west and south. His appeal to small farmers and laborers played well in former Confederate states. Jim Crow laws prevented African Americans from voting and lower class whites still venerated the legend of the "lost cause."

    The racism that taints our history tarnishes the best of our public figures. Bryan's stellar legacy as a progressive is not untouched by this rust. The color bar changes shape, changes it's name and switches parties, but it still lurks in the GOP's "Southern Strategy".

    When McKinley was assassinated, many citizens of the former Confederate states were not particularly sad. One unknown musician penned a sarcastic ballad about McKinley's death. It became a standard of string bands in the deep south.

    "The White House Blues"  was first recorded by Charley Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers in 1926. Although Poole toned down the lyrics of a the song he had heard as a child, it still has a pityless undercurrent. The song became a folk & bluegrass standard and was recorded by Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, the Dillards, the Stanley Brothers, the Del McCoury Band and the New Lost City Ramblers.

    These lyrics are an amalgam of the different recorded versions:

    McKinley hollered , McKinley squalled
    Doc said “McKinley I can't find the ball
    You're bound to die, you're bound to die"

    Doc told the horse, he'd throw down his rein
    He said to the horse you gotta outrun this train
    From Buffalo to Washington

    The doc came a-running, he took off his specs
    Said “Mr Mckinley better cash in your checks
    You've bound to die, you're bound to die"

    Hush up little children, hush up your cryin'
    You'll draw a pension cause your papa' is a-dyin'.
    Your papa's gone, he's gone,

    Look here, you rascal, you see what you've done
    Shot down my husband and I've got your gun
    I'm carrying you back, to Washington

    Well, Roosevelt's in the White House, doing his best
    McKinley's in the graveyard taking his rest
    He's gone, for a long time

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:54:45 PM PDT

  •  I love Bryan. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RobElders

    Thanks for the diary.  We liberals should never forget him.

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