Honest graft and dishonest graft
Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics by George Washington PlunkittThis classic work offers the unblushing, unvarnished wit and wisdom of one of the most fascinating figures ever to play the American political game and win. George Washington Plunkitt rose from impoverished beginnings to become ward boss of the Fifteenth Assembly District in New York, a key player in the powerhouse political team of Tammany Hall, and a millionaire.
In a series of utterly frank talks given at his headquarters at Graziano’s bootblack stand inside the New York County Court House, he revealed to a sharp-eared and sympathetic reporter named William L. Riordon the secrets of political success as practiced and perfected by Tammany Hall titans.
The result is not only a volume that reveals more about our political system than does a shelf load of civics textbooks, but also an irresistible portrait of a man who would feel happily at home playing ball with today’s lobbyists and kingmakers, trading votes for political and financial favors.
Doing for twentieth-century America what Machiavelli did for Renaissance Italy, and as entertaining as it is instructive, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall is essential reading for those who prefer twenty-twenty vision to rose-colored glasses in viewing how our government works and why.
George Washington Plunkitt
One of the famous, albeit not the most important of the old-time political bosses, was George Washington Plunkitt. In , he published them in a book, which became a classic on American urban politics, one still widely read today. Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics. I have myself. I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before.
“I Seen My Opportunities and I Took ’Em.”: An Old-Time Pol Preaches Honest Graft
The Times story contains no smoking gun. With so much money to follow, the Clintons give us scads of newsworthy stories to tell. The politics and money nexus is so tight it can be considered one word: politicsandmoney. Although the entire book still returns rewards, the opening chapter of Plunkitt of Tammany Hall has the greatest resonance for our Clintonian times. To steal directly from the treasury is dishonest graft.
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