“Chicago ain’t ready for reform”
Alderman Paddy Bauler
I grew up reading columns by the legendary Mike Royko and as a small lad of five or six, I was hustled by patronage minions of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s Park District overlord, Ed Kelley, along with other children in a park district summer day camp, onto school buses to participate in a parade downtown marching past Hizzoner himself ( this was my first and last moment participating in Democratic politics). Barone’s piece on Chicago politics is one of the few I would put in a league with Royko or alongside the excellent Cohen and Taylor biography of Richard J. Daley, American Pharoah. An excerpt from Barone:
“Things became different after Richard M. Daley was elected to a two-year term in 1989 after the death of Harold Washington. The new Mayor Daley was as popular in the suburbs as in the city–perhaps even more so. He became the face of the Democratic party in Illinois. Even though Republicans, in the Republican year of 1994, were able to re-elect Edgar and get majorities in the legislature, they have fared disastrously otherwise. The Daleys gave great encouragement and tacit support to Bill Clinton in the 1992 primaries, and were amply rewarded: Bill Daley became NAFTA honcho and then secretary of commerce; Richie Daley advanced his plans to expand O’Hare Airport. His father built O’Hare to its present dimensions; he seeks to expand it much more. They both recognized that Chicago established its great eminence in 1850-1950 as the railroad hub of the nation and have consistently sought to make it in 1950–2050 the great airport hub of the nation.
Given New York’s dysfunctional airports, long misadministered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the distance of city-mismanaged LAX from the rest of the country, they have had as their major competition only Atlanta and maybe Dallas–Fort Worth; and O’Hare–named after a machine-related World War II fighter pilot who was a genuine hero–is I think the only worldwide equal of Heathrow. Daley’s in with the Clinton administration helped, as did his in with Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is from the collar counties and was so much a political ally of Daley’s that when it came time to redistrict Illinois in 2001, the Democrats in the legislature, led by Michael Madigan and surely not out of consultation with Daley, sacrificed a Downstate incumbent and left the Republicans the majority of the Illinois delegation.
Asked if the sacrificed Democrat would like the plan, Madigan, in the monosyllabic don’t-back-no-losers language of Illinois politics, replied, “No.”