I subscribe to the Boston Globe to keep up with the happenings around the city. I don’t subscribe to the Boston Herald because of inane support of things of I find repellent, not the least the prominence of a bigot who has a radio show and routinely played Mexican music while reading off police reports of folk with Latino surnames ginning up hatred.
For all its faults, the Globe seeks to make America a place where mostly all can live in peace unless the Globe decides otherwise and targets people it does not like. It is usually done with the assistance of the Boston U.S. attorney. The Herald on the other hands likes strife so it preaches and thrives on hate.
I have friend named Timmy O who will cut out articles from the Globe – he is one of the old timers who still buys a hard copy of it – and sends them to me. He apparently believes that because I don’t have it delivered I am unaware of what it contains. Sometimes, though, he does send me things that I have overlooked. When I get them I often recall how a newspaper in the hard copy provided much greater enjoyment than one read over a smart phone or on the computer. What better experience was there than picking up the paper on the doorsteps or at a local shop and sitting over a cup of coffee perusing it at one’s leisure.
Two articles Timmy O sent to me recently piqued my interest. I will write about the other one later but this one is about the retirement of Fred Wyshak. When I think of him everything bad about the Globe comes to mind. But that too is for another day.
The retirement article made me recall Wyshak’s prosecution of Massachusetts probation commissioner John O’Brien. The article noted Wyshak convicted O’Brien in the lower court but that the conviction was overturned in the court of appeals. Wyshak is quoted as saying: “I felt it was a righteous prosecution that could have eliminated the patronage system that permeates state government. I think that opinion sets us back 20 or 30 years.”
The Court of Appeals said: “We find that the Government overstepped its bounds in using federal criminal statutes to police the hiring practices of these Massachusetts state officials and did not provide sufficient evidence to establish a criminal violation of Massachusetts law under the Government’s theory of the case.”
There we have it, good old Fred Wyshak seeking to eliminate the patronage system in Massachusetts. You may recall O’Brien’s sin was hiring people who were recommended to him by members of the Massachusetts legislature. He received no money for himself. Wyshak cleverly argued since the probation department received money from the Legislature he was indirectly receiving money for himself.
What was surprising is that there was no allegation O’Brien gained anything for his actions other than the chance to improve the probation department which he did. He did not benefit personally. Nor did he hire anyone in his family. Wyshak’s lament was that he did not hire the best available candidates for the job. Wyshak arrogated to himself (with the Globe’s help) to make that determination.
Now I suppose we must say there is good patronage and bad patronage. Good patronage is what the federal folk do. It is like what Trump did in hiring his daughter and son-in-law. Bad patronage is hiring the people in the state do like hiring people recommended to you by others. When Wyshak talked about O’Brien and the patronage system he was talking about Massachusetts, that is bad patronage. He was not talking about the federal government, that is good patronage.
You see Fred practiced good patronage. He managed to get his son Fred Wyshak, Jr. assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston where he worked for many years. Had Jack O’Brien done that he would be locked up in some federal prison doing hard time. I’m sure you understand the difference between good and bad patronage. Fred does.