Ben Smith and Glenn Thrush of Politico do a big piece on New York politics, citing the myriad scandals of recent years, which they portray as unprecedented (they get our own Wayne Barrett to say “I’ve never seen anything like this”). They claim it “hastens a decades-long diminution of the state’s 20th century pre-eminence.”
Nowhere in the article appear the names Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed, Jimmy Walker, William Sulzer, Frank Serpico, John W. Flaherty, Harry Gross, Clubber Williams, Jotham P. Allds, Craig D. Harvey, Willowbrook State School, et alia.
New York has been a sinkhole of corruption since we gypped the Indians out of Manhattan. Nothing — no real estate deal, no union contract, no piece of legislation, no settlement of a public dispute — gets done here without some grease: A timely piece of public works, a tax break, an appropriation, a donation. Some of the grease is poorly applied and occasionally slips into public view, causing scandal.
Because our recent scandals have been so thoroughly covered and widely disseminated by the Internet, a lot of people think they’re something new and different. Clio says different. But who listens to her anymore?