The Political Machine I: Rise And Fall The Age Of The Bosses

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The new political style has brought an increase in municipal government efficiency and probably some decline in political corruption and misrule. But the politics of the television age puts a premium on hypocrisy. Candor has gone out the window with the spoils system. There is still a lot of self-seeking in politics and always will be. But gone are the days of Tammany’s Boss Richard Croker, who when asked by an investigating committee if he was “working for his own pocket,” shot back: “All the time—same as you.” Today’s politicians are so busy tending their images that they have become incapable of even a mildly derogatory remark such as Jim Curley’s: “The term ‘codfish aristocracy’ is a reflection on the fish.”

Curley entitled his memoirs I’d Do It Again . But the rough-and-tumble days when two-fisted, rough-tongued politicians came roaring out of the slums to take charge of America’s young cities are not to come again.