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May 27th, 2012
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Was Tom a liability to Vito? #761864
02/04/14 08:11 PM
02/04/14 08:11 PM
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Posts: 17,931
AZ
Turnbull Offline OP
Turnbull  Offline OP

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Vito had good reasons to groom Tom Hagen as his consigliere. He raised Tom like a son, and his loyalty was assured. As a college-educated, law-degreed, non-Italian not in the muscle end of the family, Tom could interact smoothly with the mostly Irish and Jewish judges and politicians Vito needed, far more effectively than an Italian consigliere who’d come up through the ranks and had acquired a police record. Tom was a perfect front man for the Corleones’ move toward legitimacy, and Michael sent him to Nevada to lay the groundwork months before he brought the family out. And, Tom was a calm, reasoned counterpoint to Sonny’s bad temper and violent streak—a restraint on his bad-boy brother.

But all those qualities may have hurt Vito with the other families—and may even have encouraged the attack on Vito, and the all-out war that followed. Puzo many times refers to “personal force” as a defining quality of credible Mob hierarchy, and Tom had none. The other families contemptuously referred to the Corleones as “the Irish mob” because of Hagen. Sollozzo put it bluntly to Tom after he kidnapped him: “The Don was slipping. In the old days I could never have gotten to him. The other families distrust him because he made you consigliere, and you’re not even Italian, much less Sicilian. Tom himself concludes, after he learns of Sonny’s murder that he “was no fit consigliere…old Genco would have smelled a rat.”

Your thoughts?


Ntra la porta tua lu sangu è sparsu,
E nun me mporta si ce muoru accisu...
E s'iddu muoru e vaju mparadisu
Si nun ce truovo a ttia, mancu ce trasu.
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #761906
02/04/14 11:23 PM
02/04/14 11:23 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 14,357
Texas
O
olivant Offline
olivant  Offline
O

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Tom: When I meet with the Tattaglia people, should I insist that all his drug middlemen have clean records?

Vito: Tom, you're not meeting with anyone.

Tom: Not meeting? Why not?

Vito: Do you have to ask? Let's review Tom. Since you became Consigliere, what's happened? Well, I've been shot five times, Sonny was murdered, Fredo's off in Las Vegas, and Michael's hiding in Sicily. Connie's been beat up a few times by Carlo, we've been in a war, and business is down over 50%. And on top of all that,I've got PETA picketing the mall.

Tom: But, but ...

Vito: But nothin' Tom, my kraut-mick friend.


"Generosity. That was my first mistake."
"Experience must be our only guide; reason may mislead us."
"Instagram is Twitter for people who can't read."
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: olivant] #762206
02/06/14 09:48 AM
02/06/14 09:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
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getthesenets Offline
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getthesenets  Offline
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interesting


throughout the story...it's reinforced that Tom's
shortcoming is that he is not Sicilian....he doesn't think like a Sicilian

I don't recall the Turk saying to Tom that others were laughing at the Corleones for having a non Italian Don, but if he did..it was to manipulate Tom (make him lose confidence)


how many years had tom been the consig. in the novel?

was the move against vito more a function of his old consig. dying..and others scrambling while a new consig. was learning the ropes?

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: getthesenets] #762231
02/06/14 11:53 AM
02/06/14 11:53 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
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Turnbull Offline OP
Turnbull  Offline OP

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Tom had been consigliere for only 3 months. He took over when Genco died on the evening of Connie's wedding.

Solozzo probably would have moved against Vito after Vito said no, even if Genco had still been consigliere. Tom thought of himself as an unfit consigliere, and that Genco would have smelled a rat, after he learned that Sonny had been murdered. But, I'm thinking that Genco would have figured that Solozzo, as a Sicilian, would take Vito's "no" as a personal affront--depriving him and his people of a living--and would have predicted that Sol would move against him.


Ntra la porta tua lu sangu è sparsu,
E nun me mporta si ce muoru accisu...
E s'iddu muoru e vaju mparadisu
Si nun ce truovo a ttia, mancu ce trasu.
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #762235
02/06/14 12:21 PM
02/06/14 12:21 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 14,357
Texas
O
olivant Offline
olivant  Offline
O

Joined: Feb 2003
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Texas
Probably true TB. But I'd also add that Sollozzo was being encouraged by Barzini, so Sollozzo's move against Vito was almost inevitable.


"Generosity. That was my first mistake."
"Experience must be our only guide; reason may mislead us."
"Instagram is Twitter for people who can't read."
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: olivant] #765150
02/22/14 06:42 PM
02/22/14 06:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 11,467
With Geary in Fredo's Brothel
dontomasso Offline
Consigliere to the Stars
dontomasso  Offline
Consigliere to the Stars

Joined: Feb 2005
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With Geary in Fredo's Brothel
Tom was first and foremost a lawyer, and so his thought process was always leaning more toward settling things without killing people and making a deal. Vito's quote in the novel, cited above, but not re made in the film is off base. A lot of what went wrong was Sonny's fault. Clemenza screwed up security with Paulie, and Vito got shot because Barzini and the other families wanted into the drug business, and they knew that Vito and Sonny had different views on it. Both Sonny and Michael wewre always quick to blame Tom for his non-Sicilian way of thinking, but also quick to rely on him. Bottom line, Sonny was a terrible Don, and Michael was...well Michael. Tom was not a wartime consigliere, but otherwise a good consigliere and a great lawyer.

I always wonder where he went to law school. Since he lived with the Corleones, I am guessing Fordham, or NYU.


"Io sono stanco, sono imbigliato, and I wan't everyone here to know, there ain't gonna be no trouble from me..Don Corleone..Cicc' a port!"

"I stood in the courtroom like a fool."

"I am Constanza: Lord of the idiots."

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #765220
02/23/14 10:35 AM
02/23/14 10:35 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 701
Connecticut
Don Lights Offline
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Don Lights  Offline
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Connecticut
I was thinking when Vito makes Tom Hagen consigliere that he was showing possibly he was taking the first step towards making the family fully legit. He probably knew Tom would advise Sonny on coming up with less violent solutions to the family's challenges. He knew Sonny would be the Don as that was his destiny, but he didn't want that life for any of his children. To answer this question, I do feel that Tom as consigliere to Vito was a liability. Tom would have acted on his instinct and convinced Vito that the threat in Sollozzo and the other families was real, when Vito refused to get in the drug business. Tom failed to protect Sonny, as in the novel I think they mention how Genco would have sensed that the other families were going to use Sonny weakness (temper) against him.

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #765288
02/23/14 05:35 PM
02/23/14 05:35 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 14,357
Texas
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olivant Offline
olivant  Offline
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Well, a Consigilere is only an advisor. The Don is the principle and should know more, be more aware that anyone else in the family. Vito was worried enough about Sollozzo to send Luca into harm's way. However, he was not worried enough to protect himself. If Vito was not so worried about physical protection, I don't blame Tom for not worrying that much either.

I also caution about assuming that Vito's concept of legitimate was similar to anyone else's. Vito's plan for Michael's legitimacy would have been to assist with illegitimacy.

Last edited by olivant; 02/23/14 05:38 PM.

"Generosity. That was my first mistake."
"Experience must be our only guide; reason may mislead us."
"Instagram is Twitter for people who can't read."
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: olivant] #785295
06/22/14 02:28 PM
06/22/14 02:28 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 307
EnzoBaker Offline
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Vito's bright idea to send Luca straight into the Tattaglias' lions' den certainly doesn't seem very astute.

Tom, the bloodless, cool and rational lawyer, was VERY effective when paired up with Luca, the Frankenstein monster. When Tom did not have powerful muscle behind him, all his weaknesses were magnified.


"You did good."
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #822059
01/04/15 09:01 AM
01/04/15 09:01 AM
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Posts: 377
Tampa, FL
waynethegame Offline
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Also remember that Tom was in favor of saying yes to Sollozzo, it was Vito (and Vito alone) who ultimately decided no because he was old-fashioned.


Wayne

"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."
Don Lucchesi
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #824096
01/15/15 08:40 AM
01/15/15 08:40 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,762
Anytown, USA
goombah Offline
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Anytown, USA
Originally Posted By: Turnbull
Tom had been consigliere for only 3 months. He took over when Genco died on the evening of Connie's wedding.

Solozzo probably would have moved against Vito after Vito said no, even if Genco had still been consigliere. Tom thought of himself as an unfit consigliere, and that Genco would have smelled a rat, after he learned that Sonny had been murdered. But, I'm thinking that Genco would have figured that Solozzo, as a Sicilian, would take Vito's "no" as a personal affront--depriving him and his people of a living--and would have predicted that Sol would move against him.


I have to agree with Dontomasso. Tom was a good consigliere, just not in wartime. My thought is that when Puzo said Hagen chided himself for being "an unfit consigliere," it had more to do with the guilt/grief from Sonny's death.

I put some of the blame at Vito's feet - he was slipping. He should have never had Fredo as the backup driver. More importantly, in the novel Vito asked Tom's advice about Sollozzo proposal before they met with Sol. Tom advised Vito to do it as in the movie, but most importantly realized that the "no" would have serious repurcussions.

Tom was stuck in a tough situation. He had to balance Vito's strengths against Sonny's many weaknesses. All without offending both men that Sonny was a terrible heir to run the family in the event that Vito was no longer in charge (volunatarily or not).

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #824148
01/15/15 01:32 PM
01/15/15 01:32 PM
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Its_da_Jackeeettttttt Offline
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Tom didn't have the killer instinct in him. He could delegate the violence, but ultimately, he was a businessman. Look at the events leading up to the climax of GF2 - Tom knew that victory over Roth was already clinched, and questioned why Roth needed to be assassinated. (In the end, he was right - Michael lost one of his best assets while killing Roth.)

Part of the problem was Sonny - his attitude toward Tom as consigliere was a simply a tool to help him win his war, almost like a military planner and strategist. Had Sonny been conscious of his weak points, he could have used Tom to balance those weaknesses and make more effective decisions.

I'm of the opinion that Sonny's death was actually a good thing for the Corleone family - Tom realized the war was hurting revenue and attracting police attention. Barzini erred in killing Sonny - depending on what the Barzini family situation was, he could have simply waited it out and let the Corleone family collapse on itself with no revenue coming in (not unlike how the Soviets lost the Cold War).

When Michael took over and put Tom "out," he was making that move to maximize his chances with two goals - the long term making the Corleones legitimate, and the shorter term avenging Sonny and gaining control of New York in a swift, brutal manner. Hagen was suited for the long term legimitization, and Vito had the experience, planning ability and vested interest in avenging Sonny.

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Its_da_Jackeeettttttt] #824307
01/16/15 03:24 PM
01/16/15 03:24 PM
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phillyloves Offline
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Fredo was the biggest liability. Along with Paulie. One thing nobody thought of was increasing the Don's security after his no to Sollozzo... Sonny wasn't mature enough to be a Don, they were all put in tough situation while Vito was in the hospital... Michael really stepped up... they also waited too long to get rid of Carlo...he was a boil to their asses the first time he acted out and showed distain towards his wife, especially after the "shut up Connie" scene... he had no respect for the family

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Its_da_Jackeeettttttt] #824981
01/21/15 08:07 AM
01/21/15 08:07 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,931
AZ
Turnbull Offline OP
Turnbull  Offline OP

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Originally Posted By: Its_da_Jackeeettttttt
Tom didn't have the killer instinct in him. He could delegate the violence, but ultimately, he was a businessman. Look at the events leading up to the climax of GF2 - Tom knew that victory over Roth was already clinched, and questioned why Roth needed to be assassinated. (In the end, he was right - Michael lost one of his best assets while killing Roth.)



Tom was a lawyer, and lawyers always seek practical solutions. They'd rather negotiate than fight. Although it seemed to Tom that there was no reason to kill Pentangeli and Roth at that point, he didn't understand Michael's need to prove to all current and potential enemies that no one gets a pass after betraying or trying to kill him; and that Michael's power to avenge extends even to "impossible" situations, such as being in Federal custody or being met by FBI agents at an airport. As a practical matter: Roth alive under any circumstances was too clever and dangerous to Michael. And, the Government wasn't going to let Frankie "live better than most people on the outside" forever. Though he'd never make a credible witness against Michael, they'd keep pumping him for info until they found something of use against Michael.

As for Rocco: I may be in a minority here but I believe Michael sent Rocco on a one-way mission. He didn't need Rocco anymore. Rocco was Clemenza's man, Neri was Michael's.


Ntra la porta tua lu sangu è sparsu,
E nun me mporta si ce muoru accisu...
E s'iddu muoru e vaju mparadisu
Si nun ce truovo a ttia, mancu ce trasu.
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #824995
01/21/15 09:04 AM
01/21/15 09:04 AM
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Posts: 573
Scottsdale
Its_da_Jackeeettttttt Offline
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Scottsdale
Certainly. I had figured Tom was business-savvy as well, considering at least one Las Vegas casino had offered him a Vice President of House and Hotels position.

Michael may not have needed Rocco, but that was a suicide mission and I think Rocco proved his loyalty in killing Roth in the middle of dozens of FBI agents.

One way trip...I'm chuckling because I'm thinking of "Boondock Saints" where the Funny Man is sent in to kill nine guys with a revolver.

Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #852304
07/21/15 12:50 AM
07/21/15 12:50 AM
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Posts: 102
New York
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Louren_Lampone Offline
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New York


[/quote]

As for Rocco: I may be in a minority here but I believe Michael sent Rocco on a one-way mission. He didn't need Rocco anymore. Rocco was Clemenza's man, Neri was Michael's. [/quote]

Well, why couldn't Rocco have gotten someone else to actually do the shooting?


"Now, that plane goes to Miami."
"That's right. That's where I want it met."
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Louren_Lampone] #852500
07/21/15 10:02 PM
07/21/15 10:02 PM
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Turnbull Offline OP
Turnbull  Offline OP

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Good question. One possibility, as has been suggested, is that Rocco wanted to prove his personal loyalty to his boss. Michael, the ultra-manipulator, put Rocco on the spot: after brutally putting Tom down for possibly thinking about leaving the family, and for suggesting that it would be impossible to kill Roth, Michael instantly turns to Rocco and says, "Rocco?" How could Rocco say, "Nah, Mike, I agree with Tom--can't do it." Another possibility: Rocco could not be sure that any of his men, seeing it as a one-way mission, would take it on.


Ntra la porta tua lu sangu è sparsu,
E nun me mporta si ce muoru accisu...
E s'iddu muoru e vaju mparadisu
Si nun ce truovo a ttia, mancu ce trasu.
Re: Was Tom a liability to Vito? [Re: Turnbull] #852905
07/24/15 08:11 PM
07/24/15 08:11 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 31
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jrp316 Offline
Wiseguy
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Wiseguy
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Posts: 31
I don't think Tom could've been a liability to Vito for the simple reason that the Don is ultimately the decision maker when it comes to Family matters. As a consigliere, Tom can offer his advice and counsel to the Don, but the decision ultimately lies with the Don. If the consigliere acts as a cut out for the Don, the orders he delivers come from the Don. Most definitions of the title indicate that the consigliere has no direct line authority of his own; he serves the Don directly and that's it.

Vito wasn't exactly overrun with choices for the position after Genco became terminally ill. Clemenza or Tessio would've been good choices save for the facts that Vito likely had no one to replace them in their current position, and appointing one over the other could potentially lead to feelings of discord between the one who was chosen and the one who wasn't.

Vito was attempting to groom Sonny for the Donship, so he was out (and I think he was serving as a sort of underboss anyway). It'd be hard for him to serve Vito effectively while he's stuck thinking about Lucy Mancini. Fredo was...well, Fredo. Michael was off fighting in the war at the time, assuming he would've even been slightly interested. Vito was also quite loathe to involve Michael in the Family business anyway.

That leaves...Tom. As we know, Tom is a well educated, intelligent lawyer who's still wet behind the ears. The novel indicates that Tom had only been the interim consigliere for three months. Vito wasn't long on choices, but Tom (in spite of his ancestry) was the best choice he had. He had a man who could overcome the prejudices against Italians, who could effectively represent the Family in the legal arena, and a loyal to the end man who could be taught.

I think Vito's plan was to bring Tom on as a green consigliere to an experienced, seasoned Don in himself. Vito would've felt that his Sicilian cunning and experience would be enough to cover for a green advisor until Tom came up to speed. Vito would then step away from the Donship and turn it over to Sonny. In that way, Sonny as the now green Don would be working with an experienced consigliere in Tom. Tom would be able to counsel him effectively in his role and offer useful advice.

Vito's plan for succession hit a snag when Vito was ambushed and secondly when Michael took over. All of this happened before Vito could get Tom the experience that he needed to serve as an effective advisor. Sonny the newly minted green Don plus Tom the green consigliere was a no win combination for either of them. Tom did the best he knew how, but it wasn't good enough.

When Michael took over the Donship, either he realized the scenario for himself or Vito pointed it up: Michael, for all of his assuredness, master plan and poise, was still a green Don. Tom was still the green consigliere. Less so than before, but still green. Tom was able to put the pieces together on Michael's master plan, including the existence of Rocco's secret regime, so he wasn't at all naive. He just didn't have the experience needed to guide the new Don through war.

Michael (and Vito) knew that, so "Tom was out". Not because he was a bad consigliere, but because his serving in that role would've been premature. Michael needed an experienced advisor, someone who had been there and done that. Enter Vito. When the war was over, Tom was right back in his old seat even if not formally reappointed.


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