National Affairs: Curtis v. Brown?

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A regular attendant at Cabinet meetings, by the courtesy of President Hoover, is Vice President Charles Curtis. At last week's gathering he might well have eyed Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown with speculation if not suspicion. Was " General" Brown trying to get the Vice-Presidency away from him in 1932? Mr. Curtis wondered. Were " General" Brown's friends already working to this end? Mr. Curtis had heard as much. Did President Hoover, as a candidate for renomination, favor such a shift of running mates? Mr. Curtis wished he knew.

What gave rise to these thoughts by Vice President Curtis was evidence dug up by the special Senate committee, headed by Iowa's Senator Brookhart investigating Southern patronage, to the effect that postal workers were going about secretly booming their chief for the next vice-presidential nomination. They emphasized the great friendship between President Hoover and "General" Brown, pointed out that Mr. Curtis would be 72 in 1932, recalled his pre-convention hostility to Herbert Hoover in 1928. What gave these stories a substance of reality was the fact that "General" Brown has been deputized by President Hoover to handle most of the Southern patronage, to set up clean new State organizations of the G. 0. P.

Senator Brookhart soon told the stories to Vice President Curtis whose great good friend he is. He wanted to take the floor to denounce "General" Brown for carrying on a subterranean vice-presidential campaign. But Mr. Curtis dissuaded him. The Vice President let it be known through his friends that he would not lift a finger for renomination. "General" Brown's friends pooh-poohed the Brookhart yarns, insisted Mr. Brown would not take the Vice-Presidency nomination if it were offered him.

Showing that he was still an active and useful part of the administration, quieting rumors of fresh hostility between himself and President Hoover, Vice President Curtis carried important news last week from the Capitol to the White House. Against President Hoover's appointment of U. S. Circuit Judge John Johnston Parker of North Carolina to the Supreme Court was rising a tide of Senate opposition. It came from two quarters: 1) Union Labor, because in the Red Jacket coal case Judge Parker had sustained an injunction protecting a " yellow-dog" contract from the United Mine Workers of America;* 2) Negroes, because Judge Parker, in a 1920 campaign, was supposed to have said that the G. 0. P. did not want the black race in politics.

*A "yellow-dog" contract, in Labor's parlance, is one under which men are employed on condition they will join no union.