WISCONSIN: Marxist Mayor

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(See front cover)

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Webster Hoan live in a cheap little frame house in Milwaukee's unfashionable 17th Ward. They have lived there for 18 years. The Hoans's living room overflows with overstuffed furniture, a radio, a phonograph, a piano. On the piano stand photographs of Mrs. Hoan, her mother, the Hoans's son Daniel Webster Jr., their daughter Agnes at 2 and at 18. A picture of the Hoans, looking stiff and uncomfortable after their wedding in 1909, hangs in the stairway hall.

Mr. Hoan's hero is Abraham Lincoln. There is a bust of him in the living room, as well as a photograph, a statuette and pair of bookends of him in Mr. Hoan's study. Mr. Hoan is built on the Lincoln line—a tall, lanky, restless Midwesterner with a high twangy voice, a shaggy mop of mouse-colored hair, a heavy mustache. He and Mrs. Hoan go to the cinema occasionally, spend a good many evenings playing bridge, usually with the same neighbor couple. Sometimes plump, jolly Mrs. Hoan plays at the Elks Club. She never misses a Sunday at her Roman Catholic Church. Once in a while Mr. Hoan goes with her. Mr. Hoan thinks Mrs. Hoan is the best cook in the world.

Last week certain people in Milwaukee were saying, as they have said many a time in the past, that Mr. Hoan wants to destroy the U. S. Home. For Mr. Hoan is not a wholesale grocer or an insurance salesman but the longtime Socialist Mayor of the twelfth city of the land.

Whereas city reform movements commonly wither after a single victory at the polls, Dan Hoan is a reform Mayor who has lasted for six terms, spanning 20 years. He represents a party which has only some 3,000 paid-up members in a city of 578,000 people. He counts the city's bankers, utilities men and big real estate owners his sworn enemies. The Press, except for a small Socialist sheet, is solidly against him. Republicans and Democrats have virtually lost their separate identities in uniting to oppose him. Yet Daniel Webster Hoan remains one of the nation's ablest public servants, and under him Milwaukee has become perhaps the best-governed city in the U. S.

Supposedly Milwaukee would be eager to have Dan Hoan as its Mayor as long as it could. But last week, as city elections neared, Milwaukee was seeing Red, and Mayor Hoan was battling for his political life in the bitterest fight of his lively career.

Socialist Start. U. S. Socialism is a German importation, brought by the political exiles of 1848 who started Milwaukee on its way to becoming a German metropolis. Even there Socialism might have remained no more than heady beer-table talk if it had not been for two facts. One was the organizing power of the late great Socialist Victor L. Berger, onetime (1911-13, 1923-29) U. S. Representative. The other was that, even in competition with those of New York, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco, Milwaukee's city government was distinguished for its laxity and corruption. In 1904-06 more than 200 Republican and Democratic officials were indicted for graft. In 1910 disgusted citizens put a whole Socialist slate into office, including 29-year-old Daniel Webster Hoan as city attorney.

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