Why the Eleanor Holmes Norton Phone Call Matters

Those of you who wish to understand the criminal organization masquerading as a political party — that would be the Democrats — need only to remember one thing: the very first Democrat vice-president, Aaron Burr, shot and killed one of the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Although charged with murder in both New York and New Jersey Burr, of course, skated. The tone was set right from the start.

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Of even greater lasting impact, however, was Burr’s transformation of the Society of St. Tammany into Tammany Hall, from a social club into the most rapacious big-city political machine in the country, one whose power lasted well into the 20th century and formed the model for similar machines — in Chicago, Kansas City and elsewhere — across the country.

If and when Tammany is thought of today, it conjures up images of Irishmen in bowler hats and three-piece suits, mustaches bristling. But Tammany’s position at the nexus of the Democrat Party and New York City’s burgeoning gangland, especially at the turn of the century, is where it really made its mark. Tammany employed fleets of shtarkers — “strongmen” like the great Monk Eastman, leader of the ultra-violent Lower East Side street gang, the Eastmans — to beat up Republican voters and otherwise intimidate the electorate. It doled out patronage (Tammany was unalterably opposed to the civil-service system, although it later co-opted it). And it never missed an opportunity to take an opportunity: “I seen my opportunities, and I took ‘em” may as well have been the official motto of the Wigwam on 14th Street.

Those, however, were the words of the man who best exemplified the Tammany ethos, sachem George Washington Plunkitt, who popularized the term, “honest graft.” His immortal words on how to run a big-city machine were written down and published in book form by a journalist of the day, William Riordan, under the title, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.

What has all this got to do with Norton and her now-infamous phone call? This: the real Culture of Corruption is systemic within the Democrat Party, and always has been. It is baked into the cake, as it were, so much a part of it that Democrats literally cannot see it for the corruption that it so obviously is. And since, as far as the party of the Little Guy is concerned, taxes and ethics are for the Little Guy, they continue on in the belief that because they only have the best interests of the country in mind, whatever they do must therefore be right. Forget ethics, morality and all them highfalutin’ words: if it’s not actually illegal, it’s OK. And even if it actually is illegal… well, that’s what lawyers are for.

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Here’s Plunkitt on how to succeed in politics:

Now, I’ve told you what not to do; I guess I can explain best what to do to succeed in politics by tellin’ you what I did. After goin’ through the apprenticeship of the business while I was a boy by workin’ around the district headquarters and hustlin’ about the polls on election day, I set out when I cast my first vote to win fame and money in New York City politics. Did I offer my services to the district leader as a stump-speaker? Not much. The woods are always full of speakers. Did I get up a hook on municipal government and show it to the leader? I wasn’t such a fool. What I did was to get some marketable goods before goin’ to the leaders. What do I mean by marketable goods? Let me tell you: I had a cousin, a young man who didn’t take any particular interest in politics. I went to him and said: “Tommy, I’m goin’ to be a politician, and I want to get a followin'; can I count on you?” He said: “Sure, George.’, That’s how I started in business. I got a marketable commodity – one vote. Then I went to the district leader and told him I could command two votes on election day, Tommy’s and my own. He smiled on me and told me to go ahead. If I had offered him a speech or a bookful of learnin’, he would have said, “Oh, forget it!”

That was beginnin’ business in a small way, wasn’t it? But that is the only way to become a real lastin’ statesman. I soon branched out. Two young men in the flat next to mine were school friends – I went to them, just as I went to Tommy, and they agreed to stand by me. Then I had a followin’ of three voters and I began to get a bit chesty. Whenever I dropped into district headquarters, everybody shook hands with me, and the leader one day honored me by lightin’ a match for my cigar. And so it went on like a snowball rollin’ down a hill I worked the flat-house that I lived in from the basement to the top floor, and I got about a dozen young men to follow me. Then I tackled the next house and so on down the block and around the corner. Before long I had sixty men back of me, and formed the George Washington Plunkitt Association.

That is the way and the only way to’ make a lastin’ success in politics. If you are goin’ to cast your first vote next November and want to go into politics, do as I did. Get a followin’, if it’s only one man, and then go to the district leader and say: “I want to join the organization. I’ve got one man who’ll follow me through thick and thin.” The leader won’t laugh at your one-man followin’. He’ll shake your hand warmly, offer to propose you for membership in his club, take you down to the corner for a drink and ask you to call again. But go to him and say: “I took first prize at college in Aristotle; I can recite all Shakespeare forwards and backwards; there ain’t nothin’ in science that ain’t as familiar to me as blockades on the elevated roads and I’m the real thing in the way of silver-tongued orators.” What will he answer? He’ll probably say: “I guess you are not to blame for your misfortunes, but we have no use for you here.”

What has this got to do with the Norton phone call? Simply this: to the Dems and their sympathizers in the still-silent MSM, Norton’s dialing for dollars is a dog-bites-man story, an “everybody does it” story (“everybody” in this case meaning “them”). She wrote:

The conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, best known for his misinformation concerning Shirley Sherrod, is trying to mislead again. He is circulating a voice mail of a standard request made by candidates to potential donors who do not know the candidates or their work. Norton, therefore, identified herself as a subcommittee chair and the kind of work she has done in subcommittee. Norton is a longtime supporter of public financing of campaigns, but barring that, candidates from all parties regularly raise funds in calls by first identifying who they are and what they have done. The call was made from campaign headquarters. Her request fully complied with legal and ethical requirements.

Somewhere, George Washington Plunkitt is smiling.

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