McKinley's Karl Rove, circa 1900.

Dubious and far-fetched ideas.
Sept. 15 2004 6:09 PM

Karl Rove's Brain

How Mark Hanna destroyed William Jennings Bryan (maybe).

"McKinley's close adviser, Mark Hanna, was the country's first famous handler. In Canton, [Karl] Rove had insisted on visiting the McKinley memorial. 'It was like a pilgrimage,' recalled one of his hosts."Newsweek, Sept. 6, 2004

WESTERN  UNION
All messages standard time
Cable Night Letter

Canton, Ohio
1900, August 30 p.m. 11:17

President William McKinley
Executive Mansion
Washington, D.C.

My Dear President. Stop. Congratulations on your magnificent nomination for second term. Stop. Some thoughts herein on glorious Republican National Convention and forthcoming autumn campaign. Stop.

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Our fisticuffs with William Jennings Bryan a brilliant success as we arranged for orator after orator to punch out his lights. Stop. Commencing with Remember the Maine Night Bryan made to appear soft on Havana terror. Stop. Plan is to step it up and say that all U.S. battleships will be sunk if quote "wrong choice" unquote made. Stop. Anarchists will bomb public squares. Stop.

Day after day Democratic candidate resoundingly shown as stinking mackerel flopping and flipping on deck of ship of state. Stop. This fellow just another straw-hatted, saltwater-taffy-licking Nebraska progressive and product of the debauched culture of the Gay '90s. Stop. He even rode bicycle wearing skin-tight knickers! Exclamation point. Fortunately Bryan full of thorns now for resisting our imperialism policy. Stop. With swarthy eyebrows and that silky mane he looks Spanish. Stop. 

More fair and balanced commentary forthwith. Stop. Campaign mission not accomplished until Nebraska seen less as Cornhusker State than den of iniquity for socialistic knaves with no moral values. Stop. New drawing-room focus conclaves show voting public willing to see us hit below the waistcoat, like Blaine against Cleveland's illegitimate child in '84. Stop. Pinkerton agents think Bryan laundress might be promising lead. Stop.

At Democratic Convention in Kansas City Bryan lambasted imperialism as quote "profitable for the Army contractors" unquote. Does not your brother with the old bank troubles and the vice president receive gratuities from such companies? Question mark. To forestall inquiry I have transferred Standard Oil stock to Miss Ida Tarbell and 40 Armour hams to U. Sinclair and arranged quote "friendly" unquote midnight meeting at the docks between Pullman strikebreakers and this Lincoln Steffens. Stop. New policy toward yellow press comes from vice president quote "Muck off!" exclamation point, unquote. 

With more than $3 million in McKinley coffers we have raised most campaign money ever thanks to policy of favoring wealthy trusts and robber barons under all circumstances. Stop. Suggest we use some funds to link Democrats to anarchists and Wobblies in the streets. Stop. Tough Cuba policy should help in Florida and high tariffs in West Virginia, even if they violate all of your conservative principles. Stop. While recognizing that Teddy Roosevelt has no use for you as a person, I remain gratified that in the convention hall he decried L. Frank Baum, sitting in the galleries wearing a baseball cap, as a quote "disingenuous novel-maker" unquote for depicting you as a fraudulent and not terribly bright wizard who sat for seven and a half minutes reading My Pet Toto while the Emerald City burned. Stop.

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