More than a century ago, George Washington Plunkitt of the Tammany Hall political machine contemptuously declared, “Reformers are morning glories.” Politics was for professionals, he added. “You’ve got to be trained up to it, or you’re sure to fail.”
Here in Massachusetts, Plunkitt may be proven wrong. In an era bracketed by Governor Deval Patrick’s decisive reelection in 2010 and Elizabeth Warren’s grassroots triumph last November, reformers have become effective regulars. But there is still an undertow of the old political culture of “wait your turn” that would be familiar to Boss Plunkitt.