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 - It It Will- bushy-heared to or to ob- Herman...
It It Will- bushy-heared to or to ob- Herman Ridder Considered as a Political Lightning Rod OAH WEBSTER said that a light ning rod was a metallic rod set tip on a building or on the mast of a vessel, and connected with the earth or water below, for the purpose-of protecting the building or vessel from lightning. Herman Ridder, the new Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, is the lightning rod of the party in more ways than one, and, strange as it may seem, Mr. Bidder rather looks the part. A portly, well-fed-looking individual stepped out of the elevator Into the corridor of the Hoffman House, where the Democratic National Headquarters are, a day or two ago and met a friend.. i " What's the matter?' asked the friend. " You look as If you had been struck by lightning. What time is ltT"- - -1 dont know." said the portly," well- fed man ' sadly. " You'll have ' to ask Ridder. He's got my watch." The Successor of Gov. Haskell. Succeeding Gov. C N. Haskell as Treasurer of the Democratic Committee ls no easy Job; but If the Democrats had looked high and low. east and west, they would have had a hard time finding a better man than Mr.. Ridder. - When Mr. Ridder shakes hands he holds on to the band until he gets something; and that ls a trait that, while displayed unconsciously. Is almost invaluable in a campaign treasurer in these days of hard sledding for campaign committee and publication of names before election. It Isn't always money that Mr. Ridder. gets,' of course; but If he doesn't get money for the fund It's a sign that he didn't start out after money. Sometimes he wants information; sometimes he wants Just good will.- No matter what he wants, he holds on to the hand he shakes until he .gets It. He has been that way -all his .life; he Just can't help It. Maybe that is why Norman a Mack, the Chairman of the committee, chose him for Treasurer.. Mr. Mack has no sense of humor where politics are concerned. ' . v, .-' ' The chances are that Mr. Ridder would not have accepted his new position If it had been offered to him . In any . qther year or- under any other circumstances. He is fond of expounding the theory that th only real enjoyment , In life ? come from overcoming obstacles. When Haskell resigned and the whole National Committee emulated ' the Wright brothers' and went up In the air. the unhumorous Mr. Mack, remembering, possibly, what Mr. Ridder had said on some occasion or other, must have cogitated thus: . - "Well, here's a nice state Of affairs. Obstacles, obstacles, obstacles. Humph! Ridder likes overcoming obstacles. Til appoint Ridder to Haskell's Job.". And Ridder was appointed. The New Treasurer of the National Democratic of Overcoming Obstacles and Protecting the Who Has ; Shown They tell a story, and by the . way. In campaign times - it la , astonishing how many stories " they " tett-they tell a story about the way Mr. Ridder went to work for the Staats-Zeltung. ..They say that one bleak morning he appeared at the home of Oswald Ottendorfer, who owned the Staats. smiling with his eyes and being serious with his chin, as ls his wont. When he saw Mr. Ottendorfer he said: ' - Well, Mr. Ottendorfer. I've come to help you run your - paper." . He has been running the Staats ever since. ' " '' - , But aside from this. Mr. Ridder still remains a lightning rod. Ther Is probably no other man in the Democratic Party who has been offered so many nominations and never held public fflc. The " lightning " never seems to get a real grip on him. Some cheerful human chair radiator in the Hoffman House announced th other night that he had figured out that it Mr. Ridder had accepted all the nomination that had been offered him and had been nominated each tlm he was mentioned as a candidate, he would hav been President of th United States. Governor of New Tork. Mayor of New York City, and Commissioner of Public Health, all at on and th same time. Mr. Ridder denies that such ls the case. H says he wouldn't hav been Health Commissioner. - v Mr. Ridder at School. - ; ' Mr. Ridder ls tall, and, while broad, is stoop-shouldered. He has a " long head " to more ways than one, and his straw-colored hair is brushed straight up off his forehead. He must hav been th nicest sort of a boy to look at about th time he began doing long division. It Is probable, though, that when he got to the trigonometry stag he began wrinkling up his brow and acquired th frown he still has. It Is wonderful how trigonometry brlnga wrinkles. However," th frown may have resulted, to b a little slangy 1 Mr. Ridder becoming more conversant with the various " angles " of life. He still has the frown, to be sure, but he also retains th knowledge of angles. He has even been called "aa angular man. but that, of course, was a Joke. A long time ago. Mr. Ridder says Its forty years at least, the new Treasurer k-.,. to take notice of the fact that !.r nZ MrSr aTsert S ' ullftA KAtM ava ww uw a Predilection for "Running Things.' that he was then . four years old and very, very preccclous. This ls almost certainly a . misstatement. Mr. Ridder was perhaps eighteen. Whether he was precocious or not may be Judged by tho fact - that when he . was .eighteen he stumped the whole lower east side, and before he cast his first vote he managed and controlled a convention, nominated his own candidate for District Judge, and elected his man. ' A Former Insurance Agent-It would really seem, in glancing over Mr. Kidder's career, that he had been fated, almost from birth, to become th Treasurer of th Democratic National Commltte in th year . 1908. Think of It! He was once an Insurance agent. Is there a better Straining for such a Job as Mr. Ridder now holds than is gained by an Insurance agent T ' Of course he might have been a book agent, but then there are so many unsuccessful book agents. No. fat decreed that Mr. 'Bidder should be an insurance agent, and aa Insurance agent he was until he went Into the newspaper business. There again is "the hand of Fate Fate with a " large jr. He went from the Insurance business Into the newspaper business, and now he is getting up a nice little list of contributors to the campaign fund that ls to be published in the newspapers. First to get the contributors, then to publish the Ust. That is Mr. Bidder's Job in this campaign, and certainly h ha had preparation enough for it.- Mr. Bidder can lay claim to the distinction of being one of the few native fje-w Yorkers who are prominent. H ls a Uew Torker tn everything except accent. He talks" .lttl better English than th average born New Yorker, but otherwise be ls as thoroughly New Yorklsh as any one could wish. -I love this city." he said yesterday. -I lov th dirt on th streeta" Now that Is saying a good deal. When CoL Clowry first cam t town co take chvge of the Western Union Telegraph Company. Mr. Ridder entertained l ira at a little dinner. There - were twenty-five prominent men at the dinner; trust company Presidents, public officials, srd that sort. They took a poll about th tune th dessert was served. Just for the fun of the thing. Mr. Ridder was the only New Yorker at th tsbl. The recoitv of Mr. Ridder has been delayed in other way. than in hi. pcIUL Committee in His Role Party New Yorker cal activities. He was 11 years old when be started out to make bis own living. He began at the top, taking a Job in a hat store. Then he became a messenger for a Wall. Street firm, and In that position . he obtained a knowledge of that essentially New Yorklsh Institution "Wall Street." that. has stood him In very good stead. It may be that even then Fat had chosen him for his present position, although there must be something wrong about that, for everybody says that Wall Street is supporting Mr. Taft in this, campaign. After he bad found out a lot about Wall Street he went Into th insurance business. He worked fourteen years for the Tradesmen' Fir Insurance Company and knew all about risks and that sort of thing at the end of the term, so he felt fully qualified for .the newspaper business. What attracted him to the newspaper business he doesn't quite know. He didn't want to work for anybody but Herman Bidder, however. He didn't want to be a reporter, or Just an editor. He Just wanted to run th whole paper. At that tlm b couldn't find anybody with a newspaper who was particularly anxious to hav htm run his property, so he started a new paper. It was called the Katholisches . Volksblatt, but even the nam didn't scar th new editor because his parents were German, and be was used to such things. When he . had worked th circulation of hi paper up to th top knotch. and realised that he had gone as far a he could, he started another paper, and began all over again. His first newspaper venture had been th first German Catholic newspaper In th city. His second was Th Catholic News, which b soon mad th foremost English Catholic paper in the country. Looking for More Obstacles. Somehow or other, Mr. Bidder Just couldn't satisfy himself. He encountered a lot of obstacle and overcame them and then forgot about them, and went around looking for new hurdle to Jump over. He heard that Mr. - Ottendorfer was ill and It struck him that perhaps he would be doing Mr. Ottendorfer a favor by running his paper, for him. It took him about a month to coo vine Mr. Ottendorfer that his plan was Just about th best thing that was ever thought of. But Mr. Bidder wouldn't work on a simple salary. He wanted part of th paper b worted for for his very own, and he gt it." But to: get back to the simile of th lightning rod. It would seem that Mr. Bidder Is the sort of a human lightning rod that , heat lightning. If ther is such, a thing 'n politics, affects, but which real lightning passes through into the "earthv r water below." The beat lightning' of honorary membership, trusteeship, chaliw mans hi p. and treasurershlp has bit Mr. Bidder very hard, but be has always successfully dodged the real lightning of political office with a stipend attached. "I don't believe that a man can bold public office and be an unprejudiced Journalist," says Mr. Bidder. " If a man takes office he Is bound to hav a feeling of gratitude toward those who put him In" the position he occupies. That ls human nature. I wanted . to " stay In th newspaper business. I like It. So I didn't take office. But If th occasion had arisen .where I was th on man that could beat the ether fellow I might bar acted otherwise. But I would hav given up th newspaper business." Lightning on the Trolley Cars. Out in Denver this Summer they surprised all the delegates to the Democ ratio National Convention by stopping th trolley cars whenever the lightning played. They didn't stop th cars, however, when the Vice Presidential lightning came so, near hitting Mr. Ridder. Brilliant flashes' played about that straw-colored hair of his only a few week sine, when ther wa a lot of speculation as to who th Democrats were going to nam for Governor. Later the electric storm must hav returned, for he was talked of for th Lieutenant Governorship. Storm, warnings are already on display for next Fall, when the Democrats will have to nam a candidate for Mayor of Nw York City. Will -' Mr. Bidder b mentioned? Tss. " prominently mentioned." There isn't a more popular man in the Democratic National Headquarter than Herman Bidder. H I everybody's friend and. what count for a great deal mors is politics, everybody is his friend. Quiet and . unef f uslve: dignified, yet kindly to th extreme; patient and always anxious to do his very best for every one, no matter whether if a stenographer or a But Committeeman: ever ready to listen and to ale advlc of th hlaheat possfb'.e value; smiling, even when very weary with a day's work as newspaper proprietor, publicist, and National Committee Treasurer; never angry and always optimistic that's Herman Bidder. He says he ls fighting for an Idea, and th Id 1 tariff reform. Ther are a lot of peopl wb might not agre with him on that point, but there are few who know him whs would not agree that It ts a great r:y tv L'rhtnlr.g never ra';!y hit him.

Clipped from
  1. The New York Times,
  2. 11 Oct 1908, Sun,
  3. Page 49

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