Amid a Mafia infested, sea of corruption, the Irish American Mayor of New York City William O'Dwyer simply walked away from his office, perhaps Donald Trump could learn from that?
I am no fan of Donald Trump, but I’m also no fan of impeaching him.
It’s a little difficult for me to square that circle, though a big part of it is this: if a lot of Americans are still willing to vote for the peach-hued S.O.B. in 2020, then we get the government we deserve.
Still, it is worth noting that there is a middle ground here. Sure, Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats can charge forth and lead an impeachment process which, in all likelihood, will be scoffed at by the Republican-led Senate. Lots of time will have been wasted, but anti-Trump forces will have the satisfaction of airing the president’s dirty laundry.
And if there’s one thing we know, it’s that this president has an awful lot of dirty laundry.
But the 2020 election is only about a year away, and it would take so long for the impeachment process to unfold. And so option two would be to leave it up to the American voters to decide if what the president has done is a high crime and/or a misdemeanor. That is frustrating to anti-Trump forces. Hey, welcome to the President Trump era.
Read more: Say hello to President Mike Pence everyone
But there is a third way.
This month’s issue of Smithsonian Magazine has a long, fascinating article by David Samuels entitled “The Mayor and the Mob.” It is about onetime New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer.
“After his first term as mayor of New York City, from 1945 to 1949, the Daily News called him ‘100 percent honest,’” Samuels writes, “while The New York Times proclaimed him to be a civic hero, alongside his predecessor, Fiorello La Guardia.”
Samuels continues, “A former cop turned Brooklyn prosecutor...O’Dwyer came into office facing challenges that would have made even an experienced mayor blanch -- a tugboat workers strike, a looming transit strike and a shortage of city funds -- and he solved them all. His landslide re-election in 1949 seemed to complete the story of the poetry-loving immigrant who arrived from Ireland with $25.35 in his pocket and became the mayor of America’s biggest and richest city.”
Ah, but things get complicated. It seems that the Mafia was working closely with all sorts of folks (many of them Irish American) with close ties to the mayor.
“More than 500 New York City policemen took early retirement rather than risk being called before the prosecutor’s grand jury,” Samuels writes.
“Seventy-seven officers were indicted, and the police commissioner and the chief inspector were booted from the force in a cloud of scandal and disgrace.”
In short, for all of his personal decency, Samuels writes, “It seemed it was only a matter of time before charges would be filed against the mayor himself.”
But did Bill O’Dwyer rant and rave and taunt his opponents? No. He had the decency to worry about getting booted from the office behind closed doors.
As opposed to certain folks these days who, having been accused of what we can all agree is really tacky behavior, repeats the same behavior with the microphones on and the cameras rolling.
Which is why what O’Dwyer did is so impressive -- he just walked away. Well, not quite.
“At his moment of greatest peril, O’Dwyer found a protector in President Harry Truman, a man he didn’t know well, and who didn’t particularly like him,” Samuels notes.
Truman, who had his own ties to corruption to worry bout, named O’Dwyer ambassador to Mexico.
The point is this: Wouldn’t it be something if President Trump basically said that he has done such a fantastic job as president that he doesn’t even need to run in 2020? Wouldn’t that be an intriguing compromise? And, hey, Mike Pence, doesn’t Ambassador Trump have a nice ring to it? To Mexico, no less!
Never gonna happen. So I guess we’ll have to be content with all those Trump supporters acknowledging that the good old days when America was “great,” consisted mainly of Irish and Italian criminals and politicians who were kind of difficult to tell apart.