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The Mechanics
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Daley Mon Dec 01 2008

Day by Daley, Monday 1 December

Good morning, Chicago! The tryptophan out of your system? Or for you vegetarians, is the tryptophurkey out your system? Groggy-headed and weighed down with calories, take a few minutes to follow our local political what's-for; Mayor Daley is just getting into the swing of things himself, but we can take a look around town anyway. So, like sands through the hour glass, this is the Daley of our lives.

Public Force, or Palace Guards? In the olden days, there were no municipal police forces -- creating an accountable "public force" for the purpose of protecting citizens was a post-Enlightenment development. Before then, what you basically had was an extension of palace guards whose main concern was watching for outsiders and quelling bread riots -- protecting the palace. Keep just enough peace that His Lordship isn't present, but these guys weren't investigating home, er, shack, invasions. So it should frustrate you when we read about an alderman and the City Treasurer (did you know that was even a thing? I bet you didn't) having CPD protection:

"If there's a credible recent threat, they should have it. If it's just a courtesy of the office, they don't need it," said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. "When you're talking about layoffs, a slowdown in police hiring and [400 sworn police officer] vacancies, any way you can get more bodies on the street protecting citizens, the better" off Chicago will be.


More, More, More Bad News. Just wanted to make my second Andrea True Connection in less than a week. Successful. The bad news? Chicago's ranks of jobless ticked up again last month, to 6.9%.

Analysis By Cliche. I'm just as happy to criticize our Mayor when he goes off track, but all this stuff about the Chicago Machine, particularly its supposed nefarious ties to the President-elect, are really annoying. Like this bit from the Southwest News Herald:

From David Axelrod, who was nurtured on the Daley Machine, to the political organizing, which Barack Obama so proudly claims a lineage, Chicago's brand of one Party politics may be a model for the Obama administration in Washington, D.C. It is no mistake the president-elect joined Rev. Jeremiah Wright's South Side Chicago church. Obama wanted to learn the ropes of power politics and how it was played in the Windy City. There were no better teachers than Mayor Daley and his cadre of obliging aldermen who responded to the cracking of the political whip.


I've been more than happy to note in the past that then-State Senator Obama's media advisor was a guy with long ties to Mayor Daley, but Axelrod is not a Machine hack. He also worked for Harold Washington (there's a famous picture of him awaiting results with Washington). And the connection between Wright and Daley is a complete non-sequitor. Mayor Daley keeps getting re-elected by astronomical margins; the people speak loudest at the ballot box.

This Screams "Reality Show!" With all these contestants lining up to replace Rahm Emanuel in the 5th Congressional District, and with Mayor Daley's stamp of approval the likely tipping point that will nudge someone to first place in a crowded field, how can we resist the urge to make this into a rose-focused reality show, where each week Mayor Daley has the candidates do various things to win his heart, like hold a press conference where they talk about how much they hate Jesse Jackson, Jr., or vote for a budget that freezes funding for vital social services in their ward, or try to impress his brothers at a family get-together? Winners get a rose, a small transfer-in to their PAC; losers hit the bricks.

The name of the show? Mayor May Not.

 
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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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