Thursday, January 06, 2011

Chicago on the Potomac

[Mayor Richard J. Daley]

It has long been my contention that all the right-wing airheads who have been screaming that Mr. Obama is a radical socialist are mistaken. It has also been my contention that all the left-wing airheads who have been worshiping at his feet are also missing the obvious.

It is my contention that Obama is neither a dangerous socialist nor the savior of the nation. He is a Chicago machine Democrat.

Barack Obama started his political career as an Illinois State Senator. He represented the 13th District, the South Side of Chicago. He was a Democrat. Which means he was connected with the Daley Machine. This is not an accusation. It is a fact. EVERY Democratic politician in Chicago is connected to the Daley Machine for two simple reasons. One is, if they are not connected they don't get elected. Especially on the largely black South Side where patronage politics are all-powerful. Two is, if they don't stay connected, they don't stay elected.

Obama was elected to the Illinois State Legislature three times, in 1996, 1998, and 2002. And ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination all three times. I repeat, Barack Obama ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination as Illinois State Senator from an all-Democratic south Chicago district three times. I repeat: unopposed. Three times.

That doesn't mean he is a bad guy. It doesn't even mean he was corrupt. It means he was connected with the Daley Machine. It means the Daley Machine put him in office.

Well, how big a deal is that? This big - the Democratic machine has held the Chicago mayoralty for 81 years. Since 1930. Without interruption.

In 1955 Richard J. Daley became Mayor of Chicago. Mayor Daley is remembered with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi by those old enough to remember the anti-war protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. And the beatings, mass arrests, and tear gas used by the Chicago police against the protestors. Yeah, that Mayor Daley.

Daley's original political base was the working class then-Irish neighborhoods where he grew up. On the South Side.

Richard J. Daley was mayor for 21 years, and was the second longest-serving mayor of Chicago. The honor of being the longest-serving mayor goes to the current mayor, Richard M. Daley. Who by an amazing coincidence happens to be the son of the former mayor. Which means that Daley, father and son, have been Mayor of Chicago, with a brief interregnum, since 1955.

For sure Obama was connected with the Daley machine but in all fairness, that was then, this is now. What reason is there to believe that he still is? Isn't it hard to know for sure?

One tiny hint one might consider is his appointment today of William M. Daley as his White House Chief of Staff, the second most powerful figure in the administration. William M. Daley is the brother of the current Mayor of Chicago. How's that for subtle?


  1. Even I, who have come to expect so little from the American press, was taken aback by the criticism leveled against Obama for the appointment. They attacked him for appointing a rich businessman to run the White House for him -- no reference to that businessman being the brother of the Daley machine at all. Not a word.

    Are they really so stupid and callow that that is all they can think of? Or is the open secret just too effin' dirty for them to talk about at all?

  2. The New York Times headline on the story announcing the appointment read,

    "Business Background Defines Chief of Staff"

    Really? Not that he is the brother of the current boss of a political machine that has been in control of Chicago longer than the Communist Party machine was in control of Russia?