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The Boss
THE IDEAS OF A PRACTICAL POLITICIAN

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

With the thinking being done by the leader and with decisions being reached by him, there must be discipline, and strict discipline, of subordinates. It would be inconsistent for the boss to be the law and for his legislators or his city commissioners to vote as they pleased; they must vote as they are told, and they must do so unanimously – they must present a united front. Complete obedience is necessary from the bottom to the top; officials are not supposed to have ideas on public policies, but to take orders. In the Hague organization they either are obedient or they are eliminated. Successful as this principle has been in producing a well-drilled army of voters and office-holders in Hudson County. it has not turned up men with courage, ability, and initiative who will appeal to voters in other parts of the state; nor can it provide for a continuity of leadership when the Mayor himself shall die or retire.

Under ordinary circumstances efficiency in producing the vote on election day, the handling of some bloc, such as a racial group, or the faithful performance of other party work will result in promotion within the hierarchy of the organization. It is, the Mayor told Creel, `the merit system, just like in business.... We deliver for those that deliver for us.' There are times, however, when for reasons that can be known only to the leader himself, a man who has been faithful and obedient must go. A recent instance was that of State Senator Edward P. Stout of Hudson County, who was in 1940 denied a renomination after he had been elected and re-elected three times. He had apparently always voted as he was told; he had defended his master's most indefensible policies on the floor of the state senate; but instead of being elevated to a judgeship or to a commission he was suddenly dropped. The senator issued a somewhat bewildered statement in which he said he thought of moving from Hudson County to Hunterdon and running for the senate there.

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