Century Later, Ex-President Still Has Local Detractors

SF Arts Commission remembers the maine by swabbing McKinley statue

The San Francisco Arts Commission managed to rid a statue of William McKinley in Golden Gate Park of graffiti.

Just in time to celebrate the suspicious scuttling of the Maine!

McKinley actually bothered to oppose the public sentiment for war after the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana's harbor.

At the time, 1898, William Randolph Hearst and other publishers stoked the fury of that sentiment against the Spanish by blaming the Maine's scuttling on Cubans.

McKinley passed the buck to congress, which declared war, and by 1901 the United States was victorious against Spain -- though it would take many years and many innocent lives before the colonization of the Philippines was complete.

McKinley was eventually assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901. An assassination that was left at the feet of Hearst after a series of editorial tirades in the publisher's papers.

That McKinley would still have detractors in Hearst's home town isn't ironic -- it's that among the paint removed was the word "love."

Between the two of them, president and publisher, there was probably little of that particular emotion wasted.

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