Machine Politics. John Connor knows we are the last best hope for mankind.
“We got Skynet by the balls now, don’t we?” asked John Connor in Terminator 2. No, we’re not talking about killer futuristic cyborgs, we’re talking machine politics, The Queens Democratic Party politics.
North Queens is a political junkies wet dream.
It is a volatile two party system with primaries, lots of candidates – lots of people that want to run. From an academic standpoint the idea of the machine is a relic left over from the spoils system of patronage. It’s what empowered Boss Tweed. Quid-pro-quo. Tit-for-tat, sit this one out I’ll reward you later, volunteer for me now then I’ll hire you after the big win, said the Gipper. This is all a crime now. But some people are known to buck party trends. Who are the Resistance? Who are the few brave souls to stand up to the Democratic nominee and become victorious in a primary then general election? QP has a list.
The Spoils system is a way of hiring people unfairly. It was a VIP system. I know you, therefore I’ll hire you regardless of skill and experience, and in return I expect a kickback, in one form or another plus your vote.
This system was corrupt. It was exclusive and beneficial only to the good ol’ boys.
Things didn’t change until a pissed off Charles Giuteau assassinated the President. That was President James A. Garfield. Giuteau unsuccessfully sought a patronage post, couldn’t find work then subsequently – and assumingly in a drunken rage – shot and killed the President.
Years later the Supreme Court ruled in Ex Parte Curtis that mandatory kickbacks to a political party were illegal. Before that, anyone who didn’t pay up was subsequently fired. This ‘assessment’ became a scandal when Newton Curtis, a Treasury Department employee and treasurer of the Republican party violated the law. It was a big headline in the 1880’s.
Luckily by 1898, Aspirin was invented and soon everyone would forget about it and the Pendelton Civil Service Act became law and created a personnel system based on merit and testing.
In Queens, we have civil service for police officer and firemen. But in reality the patronage system is still alive and thriving. We have $100.000 a year do nothing jobs that are given to party loyalists, or given as a hush order for those with videotape of you caught in a sexually exploitive situation. These appointees are friends and family, or those owed favors to. There are websites dedicated to covering this stuff, but for our purposes,
The Queens County Machine is the most feared in the United States. It is known to be disciplined, powerful, and organized. This has come to be because of Unions; jobs in exchange for votes = solidarity.
However, don’t lose hope. Some people are inherently good and independent by their very nature. Although some cynics will tell you that today’s reformer is tomorrow’s party hack,
there are those that fought the good fight to prove themselves worthy, at least once.
These folk could not be told no or be persuaded to move to Jersey.
Once they are on the inside and become exclusive to outsiders (in-the-belt mentality) this is a horse of a different color. QP presents a surprising list of candidates that were once the outside guy or gal, meaning they didn’t have the Queens county endorsement for the run and were successful in their respective primary and general elections:
1. City Council Member Danny Dromm.
2. City Council Member Jim Genarro.
3. City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
4. State Assembly Woman Grace Meng.
5. The late Leonard Stavisky.
6. Congressman Joe Crowley, County Leader.
-yea guys Joe was once an outsider too.