Monday, January 18, 2010

Dems Doing What They Do Best... Cheating

He was known as "Boss Tweed," and he ran New York City Democrat politics for over two decades. He used tactics such as voter intimidation, vote buying, trading votes through booze, prostitutes and cold hard cash. He muscled political opponents through staged strikes, protests, street demonstrations, and sometimes even fistfights and rumbles.

Boston itself has its own history of voter intimidation and rough-edged politics.

From the essay "The Boston Irish: A Political History" by Thomas H. O'Connor:
Based in the ghetto network of churches, clubs and bars, the sometimes ruthless and always populist ethnic class politics of Irish party bosses would turn out to be an effective strategy against Anglo-American "brahmins". By virtue of their sheer number and well oiled (and infamous) "poltical machines" - the boss of the local precinct (like John F. Kennedy's grandfather, e.g.) acting the role of mediator between the individual and collective interests of his district and the municipal government - they were able to force the leaders of the Protestant Yankee establishment first to share and later to yield political power. With the election of John F. Fitzgerald (Rose F. Kennedy's father) as mayor of the city in 1905, the Boston Irish would take full control over the city and use their political power to further their own social and economic aspirations.
Now one very prominent TV Cable News talk show host, coincidentally himself of Irish descent and a New Yorker, wants to resurrect the old traditions of Tammany to save the Boston-based seat of the proud ole' irishman Ted Kennedy.

From Chris Matthews, Hardball MSNBC, Friday, Jan. 16:

CHUCK TODD: Everybody is going to blame Coakley... she wanted to coast. They were whispering in her ear, you know once you won the primary you were the virtual Senator, Senator-elect, you might as well start thinking that way. And the Republicans, you know this guy Brown, he's not a neophyte. He's been a candidate that the Republicans have identified for the longest time... wanted to get him to run for Congress, believed he was a rising star. When the spotlight got turned on, he performed, and she turned out to be, ya know, a cross between a technocrat a little bit, I think, doesn't seem to have this automatic warmth... hasn't been able to connect. Now they're grasping for messages... just shows you they never had a consistent message: Why not Brown. Elections are about choices.

MATTHEWS: You know in the old days, it shouldn't be hard getting back to the old days. If the Democrats faced a kinda disaster in the works, you'd go back to your ones, the people you were sure were going to vote Democrat and you'd make sure they got to the polling place. You'd get them lunch. You'd get them a car. You'd make sure they'd got there. And in some cases you'd be buying people to get them. Not officially buying them. But getting them there as block secretaries. Block captains. You'd be getting them street money. Legitimate. But it's a little bit old school.

CHUCK TODD: Right... right.

MATTHEWS: But I hear talking to some people today, they're aren't people like that up in Massachusetts any more. They're aren't those automatic Democrat votes out there any more. You can't count on anybody...

CHUCK TODD: You're right Chris. It isn't the old machine that's up there.

MATTHEWS: Well, the street corner guys are getting called upon, perhaps a little too late. Perhaps. We'll see. It could still be very close. Thank you Chuck Todd.
See the full video of the exchange at MSNBC.

Today's modern day political street thugs are of course, ACORN and SEIU. They no longer descend from the Irish ghettos. But the same mentality of intimidation and street thuggery remains. Will see next Tuesday, if Matthews does indeed get his wish, and that mentality prevails.

Photos - Cartoon of Boss Tweed protecting the ballot box, Boston street thugs, and Tammany Hall, NYC.