Corvallis daily gazette. (Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon) 1909-1909, June 26, 1909, Image 4

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    Aldrich, the Tariff Gzar
Sources of the Rhode Island Senator's
Remarkable j Power In Getting
' Votes to Revise the Tar
; . iff Inward.
A Specialist Who Is at Home In Secret
Conference, In Committee Room or
on the Floor Practical. ,
but No Theorist
fHAl" is happening to the tar
iff bill? Answer Aldrlch is.
happening to it, and that Is :
"plenty. If Payne should now"
meet his pet child he would greet it
as a stranger, as much of a stranger .
as Payne himself seemed to his friends ';"
after he had lost his whiskers. How.j
has Aldrlch worked this transforma-n
tion? He has the votes. If he has '
not enough in his own party he j
reaches over and picks off a few Dem-
ocrats. How does he get these votes?
Ask somebody on the inside, and he
probably won't tell you. I don't know
how he gets them,, but he gets them.
Maybe he uses bait or a. chloroform
bottle or a club or a fish net, or may
be he is Svengall in disguise and a
majority of the other senators are Tril
bys. . Sherlock Holmes might tell how
he does it, but nobody else seems to
know, or if anybody does know he
does not want to commit himself and
keeps as quiet about it as well, as
quiet as Aldrlch. Aldrlch is so still
that the interstellar silence would
sound like a boiler factory compared
to him.
It is rather a striking spectacle that
confronts the American people in this
year of our Lord 1909 striking and
edifying! Here is one man apparent
ly stronger than the whole United
States. Last year a great national
convention was held and in its plat
form adopted a plank favoring tariff
revision, which everybody supposed
would be revision downward. The
other party was for even a stronger
tatorial; not from his position In the
party, for outside of being "boss of
the senate" he has no great standing
as a party leader. .. 1 never heard of
his going on the stump in a national
campaign nor indeed of his having had
any part in the canvass at all.. What,
then, is the source of his mysterious
control of the senate and of all fiscal
legislation? What is behind this man,
who is repeatedly charged with being
the real ruler of the 'United States?
Is it John D. Rockefeller, with whom
he Is connected by marriage? Well,
the richest man in the world might
help some, but Aldrlch 'bossed the
senate before his daughter wedded
Rockefeller's son. These ar,e but inci
dents. They do not explain him. . -
Many Years In the Senate.
And now, having found the things
that do not make Aldrich powerful,
perhaps we can determine some of the
things that do. One is that he has
been in the senate twenty-eight years.
In a general way seniority regulates
promotion in congress, as in the army
and navy, and it has produced the
same unsatisfactory . results in all
three. The senseless system Is now
being abrogated in the military, but it
stiU obtains in congress. Its iron
hand on the upper house was recent
ly pictured by Senator Beveridge in
the Saturday Evening Post. By mere
weight of age in the service Aldrich
has gravitated to the head of the
finance and steering committees.
Another strength of the Rhode Is
land senator is that he is a specialist.
i" ' V$y'' ' ' ' lls ssao
hs X '
T 1 T"
' jt
Two Views of Senator
Chairman of Senate
Committee on
and more immediate reduction. The
campaign was made, and the candi
date of the dominant party gave as
bis keynote this demand for a down
ward revision, his opponent, of course,
going him one better. On that issue
the first named candidate was elected
and took his seat. . Immediately he
called a special session of congress to
revise the tariff and in his inaugural
address said in effect that - revision
meant reduction.. In this stand he
bad not only the approval of his party
as expressed at the polls, but well
nigh the unanimous support of the
press, resolutions from associations of
farmers and business men, practically
all organized workingmen and at least
one great group of manufacturers."
The popular branch of congress, in
.which tariff legislation must originate,
brought in a bill that, to some extent
at least, revised the schedules down
ward. And now this one man, this
senator from the smallest state- in the
, Union, defies the president of the
United States, who Is also the head
at his own party; defies the other
house of congress, defies a large in
surgent section of his party in the
senate, defies the party platform, de
fies the pres$, defies public sentiment
and by some means that are a mys
tery to the- whole nation gets 'enough
votes, either from his own party or
the other, actually to Tevlse the tariff
upward. There has been hardly any
thing like it in American history. '
' '-' His Mysterious Power.! ! :M
Whore does he get his power? Not
from his eloquence, for, While he is a
fair speaker, there are a score of bet
ter orators in the senate; not from his
popularity, for it is not one of his con
" spicuous assets; not from his educa
tion, for he never had much started
life as clerk in a fish store and out
. Bide of finance and the tariff' has nev
er been particularly studious; not
from his wealth, for, although a mil
lionaire, .there are many other mil
lionaires in the -body with not a frac
tion of his power; not from his social
- qualities, for be tares little for-so-
- ciety, has but a slight sense of feumar
jpd Is Inclined to be serious and Ale
tte looks arter tariff and finance and
doesn't bother his head with much
else. He has studied these questions
till he has them at his fingers' ends.
Whatever concerns the bankers, the
manufacturers, the railroads, the
trusts In a word, "the interests'
concerns Aldrlch. There Is no pre
tense about it He is quite frank, he
stands close to these people, spends
much of his time in Wall street,
knows what the world of high finance
wants, is there as its mouthpieee. Is
politically Independent since Rhode Is
land will send him to the senate any
way, knows the power behind him and
can be defiant, and all the other sena
tors with like affiliations follow their
leader. : Aldrlch is ho theorist He Is
a "practical" man. TTi head is cram
med with facts, and he marshals them
in a plausible, way. He has no qualms,
no excuses, nothing but the determina
tion to get what he goes after or as
much thereof as possible. : So far . as
known, Aldrich. has no sentiments -except
for tariff schedules. . For public
criticism he cares not a whit.. He
has no delusions, no sports' and ho
fads, i He gravitates between Wash
ington New s York and4 Rhode Island
and permits no fuss to be made about
his comings or goings. Perhaps no
body wants to make a fuss, but if any
one does he is not encouraged.
Great Marshaler of "Votes. "
Aldrich knows the legislative game,
knows how' to appeal to selfish inter
ests of other senators, knows how to
put up schedules for trading purposes,
knows how to seem to concede or ac
tually to concede at one point In order
to preserve a more vital one, how to
Incorporate legislative Jokers, how to
use his power s head of the steering
committee, which , gives him the sen
tence of life and death over bills and
thus makes him able to .hold senators
In line; how to threaten If necessary.
how to wield the party, whip, how to
bring outside pressure to bear, how to
persuade, for he can be most persua
sivein fact how to use all the wheels
within wheels that go to turn the gov
ernment, machine. -His business for
more than a quarter of a' century has
been to learn these things. He Is at
home tii the secret conference, In "the
committee room or on the floor. ; fle
Is plausible and often convincing in
debate. But he shows to best advan
tage when marshaling his votes jon
roll call. - : ' " ' -.. . - ' :'"
Roughly stated, these constitute the
secrets of. Senator Aldrlch's power
length of service, specializing on tariff -and
finance, being the alleged spokes
man of certain powerful : business
groups and mastery ' of legislative
methods. I hope I have stated the
case fairly. I have tried to keep out
mv own personal bias, but we . are
seemingly powerless anj.Waj?, and it
does no good to call names. 1 -
A- year ago ... it was saidf that Mr. Al
drich would retire at the, end of his
present term, which closes on March
4, 1911. The ostensible reason given
was his age,1 which will then be sev
enty. The real reason was said to be
that he saw a growing- revolt against
his leadership aad would retire be
fore overthrown. Throughout the ex
tra session that revolt has been strong
ly in evidence, but "not strongly
enough materially to affect Jesuits.
But with the headway '-that ; it has
gained in his own party there is no
predicting what size it may assume in
the elections two years hence. The
significant remark in Secretary Mac
Veagh's Chicago speech to the effect
that the president as leader of his
party might find ' it : necessary to
"change its majority and control" was
generally understood to refer to Al
drich. and others of his kidney, so that
if he does step aside it will only be
out of the path of the storm. But all
of that will be too late to affect this
tariff bill. On that it is now fairly
certain that the Rhode Island senator
will have his way. Nor is it probable
that' the president will veto it how
ever deeply he may feel on the sub
ject The general view is that he will
get the best he can and let it go at
that believing that to prolong the
agitation at this time would but dis
turb business. That will by no means
end. the matter, however. The wounds
left in this fight will be long in heal
ing, and that talk of changing the'
"majority and control" may prove no
idle threat.
- Sturdy Band of Fighters. ,
We can all thank Senator Aldrlch
for one thing. His course has brought
into being one of the sturdiest, little
bands of fighters that' ever raised the
banner of revolt in what they believed
a righteous cause. Whatever may be
our individual opinions of the tariff
itself, there can be nothing but ad
miration' for. that dozen of young Re
publicans, including Ia Follette, Cum
mins, Dolliver, Beveridge, Burkett
Brown, Bristow. Clapp, Nelson, Borah
and others, who have risked .their po
litical all in a battle to keep .faith as
they saw It -The country "may find it
worth looking at these two pictures
on the one hand Aldrich, Intrenched
by years, wealth and votes, ' and on
the other thes?. young uien -dsriuii, lo
make aclosing; &ght- torftaTsa.-
losing fight now,-but irnok, written,
that In the end it will wjn?
That will be after 'the days of Al
drich, when he is safe' In his cyclone
cellar of retirement. He has the pres
ent fight cinched, -and that is enough.
After him the deluge. The future can
take, care sof itself.- .
Very Simple liver. -'
What manner of man is he? One of
the smooth, diplomatic and secret sort
There is Uttle to tell of his life, less
of his habits. He does not drink or
smoke, lives in the simplest manner,
is white of mustache and gray of hair,
ruddy of face, muscular, of medium
height and his most notable : feature
Is a pair of piercing eyes. He began
life as a grocery clerk, got into the
Providence council, next into the as
sembly, then into congress and finally
into the senate. That Is the whole of
the story, so far as the public knows,
though there are whispers of Aldrich
having controlled the public utilities
of Rhode Island, from which he made
millions. Henry Beech Needham tells
a story in this connection -of how
Marsden J. Perry, Aldrlch's partner
in the traction business, once got an
option on a lot of horse car lines In
Providence and peddled it' around
New York, but without success. . Then
he bethought himself that Senator
Aldrich's name might prove an "open
sesame" to certain gentlemen inter
ested in sugar. v ;
' "In twenty-four- hours" the matter
was closed, and in forty-eight ' hours
we had four millions to check
against," said the laconic Perry, f;
It. has. often been said tthat Sir. Al
drich, has no sense of humor. Yet I
have' found two fairly good stories
credited to him. . Here Is one of them:
When - abroad several years ago he
visited a typical London music hall.
A one act melodrama, called "The
British Heart of Oak,' was played by'
seven men and a young woman. The
time of the melodrama was laid In the
early years of the last century, .and
four of the players represented Ameri
can soldiers. . ' -
These American soldiers were' a rag
ged, scarecrow lot,, for It was "the idea
of the 'melodrama to ridicule '-the
American army. As the men came on
the., stage they were put through an
examination. -V: ... .,-'-,':'
I "What 4 was your business before
you became a soldier T they would be
asked, and . to this question . one an-
L.sw.ered that he? had been a tailor,; an
other that he had been a cobbler, a
third that he had been a cook, and so
on. . - : - -' : . .
The audience laughed uproariously
at an, army composed of men from
such sedentary ; and; confining trades,
but in the midst of the laughter Sen
ator Aldrich's American heart was re
joiced to hear a voice shout from the
gallery: i
Hurray! Great Britain Ucked by
tailors, cobblers and cooks! Hurray l"
m. .
Prices Boiled
Down to Make
Best Bargains
tract! v e S p e c 1 a S s
One Dozen Ladies'
Wool Tailored Suits
At Actual Cost. . .
All Ladies' Oxfords
At a Big Reduction
en's and Bov's
Clothing at Sale Prices
A Lot of Boy's Cloth
ing, 4 to 14 years,
Get on to Our Bargains for next week
- . - . .
NOW at our expense
This is fypffifOfipo
For complete
information address
Sunset Travel Club
Room 16, Flood Bid's
San Francisco