William McKinley to Supporters, 1896

I do stand by my assertion that eyebrows are correlated with intelligence

Friends and supporters,

I am afraid that the spurious notes and quotations appearing betwixt the pages of your morning broadsheets are accurate. A waitsperson did endeavor to record my speech at a fundraiser, which he then transmitted to the local news agents. I will not attempt to shy from the accusations. I merely wish to explain my reasoning.

Yes, I did say that “every man, woman, or child who has ever set foot on a farm is a drain on our society.” I simply meant that farmers are disgusting and dirty, and that I have no business representing them in my administration. I don’t believe I should face widespread disagreement on this point. And yes, I did say that most men working in our factories are “the basest members of our nation, lower in order than even the Italians.” Frankly, 47% of these people don’t even pay poll taxes, and Italians are terrifying.

Finally, yes, I did say that “every man who supports Bryan in this election is unworthy of calling himself a member of the Christo-European race,” and also that they “possess all the mental faculties of a base animal like an ass, or worse, a Catholic.” Again, I think it safe to say that these vagabonds wouldn’t vote for me if I promised them all the whiskey in Ireland. I do not fathom how the press has made this issue of relevance to the good, Anglo-Republican voters of this country. Frankly, the whole affair reeks of spaghetti and cabbage. I stand by my remarks, though I admit they could have been phrased better.

McKinley ’96!

Analysis:

Scholars believe that the grand tradition of presidential candidates accidentally publicly stating what they truly believe dates back to this incident, described by William McKinley in the letter above. McKinley did speak negatively about immigrants, Catholics, and other “brutes” at a private fundraising event. When word got out,  Americans were delighted, and McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan in a landslide.

Of course, most presidential candidates experience a “bump” when they accidentally admit what horrible vicious bigotry they really believe in, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney is no different, which is why his campaign decided to leak a fundraising video where Romney reveals what he really thinks people think he thinks. Americans continue to love knowing their leaders are just as selfish and biased as themselves, and will reward nasty people with their votes.

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