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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: S-R chooses ‘safe and sane’ in presidential endorsement

From the The Spokesman-Review in October 1920.  (S-R archives)
From the The Spokesman-Review in October 1920. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

As the 1920 election approached, The Spokesman-Review continued its editorial page campaign in favor of Warren G. Harding and against James M. Cox. An editorial tied Cox, the Democratic nominee, to the “wastefulness and the inefficiency” of the Democratic incumbent, Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson, said the editors, would be the “chief factor in defeating Cox.”

The Spokesman-Review’s editorial page had been singing the praises of Harding ever since he won the Republican nomination in the summer. The editors issuing their ringing endorsement of Harding in June 1920, based it on the idea that Harding was the “safe and sane” candidate.

“So tired (are) the American people of rhetoric, so weary of idealistic autocracy, so displeased with experiment in Utopia, that ‘safe and sane’ becomes not a reproach, but a recommendation,” said the editorial. “Harding’s election will mark the beginning of a return to normal.”

And that’s how editorial endorsements were reasoned in 1920.

From the court beat: Two “bunco artists” were sentenced for running a “short change” scheme.

They would make a small purchase at a five-and-dime store and offer a $10 bill. Then they would suddenly “discover” that they had the correct change after all. While keeping up a rapid line of patter, confusing the clerk, they would take back the $10 bill as well as the change from the $10.

Both men were sentenced to six months in jail.

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