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The Boss

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

At various times Mayor Hague has been a guest at the White House or at Hyde Park, but President Roosevelt has never shown any great enthusiasm for him; Hague has never been admitted into the inner circle of White House advisers, and once the President scolded him mildly – without mentioning him by name – for his anti-free-speech stand. Although Farley was impressed by the great demonstration that Hague put on at Sea Girt, and no doubt further impressed by the New Jersey majorities of 1932 and 1936, he has never trusted the vice-chairman with any important role in party management. The real New Dealers have made no secret of their dislike for the Mayor and for the way he manages the party in New Jersey.

The national administration refused to deal with Tammany Hall, but it did not refuse to deal with Hague. Perhaps the Washington politicians knew that there was no Democratic organization in New Jersey aside from his; perhaps they felt obligated to him for the vote in 1932 and 1936; perhaps they did not want to start any intra-party fights. The same dilemma faced them in Chicago, and they made terms with the Nash-Kelly machine. As Professor Goznell noted:

Machine Politics: Chicago Model (1937), p. 7)
This last statement is only partly true. The Department of Justice has been able to upset two important state machines, but when Attorney-General Frank Murphy went to Jersey City he was taken in hand by the authorities, wined, dined, given an honorary degree by the John Marshall Law School of Jersey City, and told that there was `no vice, no crime, no racketeering' in Jersey City. When he was elevated to the Supreme Court he left among what Arthur Krock called his `unfinished business' the investigation of Jersey City.


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