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Newspaper articles entitled "Why I hope to be the next Mayor of Boston" end the Curley question. For many years Massachusetts politicians have entertained rallies with descriptions of the ex-governor, and though the adjectives were always colorful, his friends and enemies could not seem to agree on the character of the evergreen statesman. Like Prosperity he is always just around the corner, and like a rubber ball the harder he is thrown the faster he comes back. His hat is in the center of the ring again; if lifted it would reveal a well-greased political machine running overtime and hopefully attended by a faithful few.
As the plurality of Lodge in the Senatorial campaign mounted higher and Curley's friends dropped away like leaves in the autumn, the ex-governor's political grave seemed dug and waiting. Now comes his bid for the Mayorality--a stunning disappointment to the men and women who have worked for years to drive him out of public life. It must also be a lesson in practical politics, teaching that a machine is not necessarily beaten by one defeat at the polls. Oratory and newspaper articles do not touch the secret sources of the voting strength of a man like Curley, and only by an attack on his influence in the back wards will the career of King James be halted. Two ways are open to the people of Boston who wish to curb the magnificent power for evil that a Mayor possesses; either the government or the party machines can be changed.
The experience of New York and other cities indicates that if the office of Mayor is to be kept honest and efficient the political backing of the incumbents must not be based on petty graft and favoritism in the back wards. If honest municipal administration does as much for the poor in housing and recreation and health and crime prevention, the poor are not tempted to give their vote to the man who brings a sack of coal in winter and a peddling license in summer. A possible alternative way to knock out the machines is to adopt the city-manager system which, well-organized, allows few chances for corruption. Perhaps Curley's revival may be a fortunate event for good government in Boston, for it focuses all eyes on the permanent sources of machine strength.
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