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The Goo-Goos And Tammany’s Tiger
by [?]

BY H. S. CANFIELD.

For the giant spoils of Greater New York three contestants are in the field. They are the regular Republican organization, Tammany and the “Citizens’ Union.” The regular Republican organization is headed by United States Senator Thomas C. Platt, and its active, or rather its most visible manager, is ex-Representative Lemuel Eli Quigg. Tammany still has John Croker for its boss, although John C. Shenan is its official head. The “Citizens’ Union” is composed of the truly good and every man is its chief. It has for its candidate Seth Low, president of Columbia University.

This organization is one of the results of a long continued era of official corruption that has no parallel in modern municipal history. Until times quite recent Tammany has had things all its own way in the Eastern metropolis. The extent of corruption was not suspected until the Lexow investigating committee brought it to light. It is certain that not even the committee itself conceived the vastness of the system of thuggery and blackmail. Having begun its labors, evidence poured in upon it in a constantly increasing stream. It could do no less than go ahead. Its prosecuting attorney, John C. Goff, who not so many years ago was a counter jumper in a big New York store, and is now the city recorder at a salary of $12,000 a year and perquisites, woke to find himself famous. The Lexow committee was indirectly a result of the Parkhurst crusade and the Parkhurst crusade was made necessary by an unheard of state of public immorality. Of Parkhurst and Lexow the “Citizens’ Union” is the child and more than the child. It stands for purity in politics and the rights of the honest citizen. It objects to high salaries and little work. It desires economy in public places. It wants each vote counted once and only once. It believes in the civil service. It swears by Teddy Roosevelt. It thinks that the workingman is able to judge for himself. It does not think that the world is governed enough. It is certain that it has in its ranks young men of vigor and intellect who would draw salary and serve the public in a manner hitherto never approached. It boasts that it is “the better element.” It does not know the alphabet of politics. It is virtuously theoretical and practically impotent. It cannot be brought to understand that successful politics demands a “machine.” Each of its individual members is a boss. They have been derisively termed “goo-goos,” which is a contraction of “goody-goods.” They are youthful, sanguine, patriotic, impertinent, impractical and self-sufficient. Their idea of conducting a campaign is nebulous. They believe that a number of voluble young men, clad irreproachably in evening dress and touring the city in carts after nightfall, stopping on corners and haranguing the multitude, cannot fail to command success. They have a large campaign fund, which will go to the printing of esoteric literature and the hire of carts. There is good in them and any amount of energy. Recognizing this, the leader of the regular Republican organization asked them for a conference. They bouncingly refused. It was explained to them that the best effort of every honest man in Greater New York was needed to defeat Tammany and that a divided front meant defeat, but they would have none of it. “Come into our camp,” they said, and be soldiers under us. Accept our commands. Do as we say, work as we direct, spend as we decide, or go to the devil.” This being so, the veterans of the regular Republicans, men who have fought through dozens of campaigns and know the meaning both of victory and defeat, naturally decided to go to the devil.

Mr. Low, the candidate of the “Citizens’ Union,” is a good man. He is a kind man. He is a gentleman and a scholar. He is an educator. Columbia University loves him. All through the campaign its students will give their college yell for him with vigor and much satisfaction to themselves. He has friends who believe in the massive strength of their own influence. But it is to be feared that he will be butchered to make a tiger’s holiday. His personal characteristics are all that they should be. His morals could not be improved, but he will know more in November than he knows now. It is to be doubted that the New York voter will rush to the polls and plump ballots for him with the frenzied enthusiasm of which he has been told. The New York voter is a low animal at best, much lower than the Chicago voter, and he enthuses only when filled with beef and beer. Tammany understands him. Thomas C. Platt understands him. Tammany and Thomas C. Platt are not saying a word. They are sitting still and watching the inception of the meteoric canvass of Low.