Saturday, December 22, 2012

Daley for governor? I guess it’s time in the election cycle to spew this tale

DALEY: All talk for governor
I deliberately held off on considering William Daley for a day.

For I’m not swayed by the idea that the one-time Commerce secretary and White House chief of staff is actually going to run for governor of Illinois.

EVEN THOUGH HE told a business gathering this week that he’s “thinking about it seriously,” all I can help but think is that Bill Daley ALWAYS says he’s thinking about running for governor.

He lets the idea fester about for a bit. Then, he backs away. Between the son and brother of long-time Chicago mayors and Chris Kennedy (the JFK nephew who used to run the Merchandise Mart), I’m not sure which one gets his name tossed about more in the rumor mill as a prospective candidate for high political office.

It may well be Daley, since it always seems to be political operatives who drag Kennedy’s name into such discussions – as though we need to have the Kennedy “aura” in our local political scene.

Either that, or we want to cover up the fact that Rod Blagojevich came close to starting up a familial political dynasty of sorts. Ugh!!!

THE BOTTOM LINE is that I have lost count of the number of times that I have heard Bill Daley’s name tossed into the mix for Illinois governor. I remember hearing it back when I was a part of the Illinois Statehouse scene – and I made my return from “Springpatch” more than a decade ago.

At the time, the idea had an intriguing twist. Richard M. was Chicago mayor, and John had just returned to Chicago from an Illinois Senate stint of his own to serve on the Cook County Board.

What if John were to run for county board President, and William were to become governor? We’d have Daleys all over the place.
Patrick Daley Thompson (left) is more likely to be the next "Daley" to rise to high political office. Photograph provided by Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

More direct political control than old man Richard J. could ever have dreamed of having! It would be the ultimate fantasy for political geeks whose view of the world doesn’t venture any further south than Beverly.

ALTHOUGH I’M SURE there would have been those politically active people in other parts of the state who would have found the concept of a Daley-fest to be atrocious.

Heck, I’m sure Michael J. Madigan would have been equally repulsed. Because the long-time Illinois House speaker’s role in the Chicago political universe is to be the guy who keeps state government in line with the city’s needs.

And having so many Daleys would have interfered with the dreams of daughter Lisa to rise to a new level of political status. Although I have to admit the idea of a Daley versus Madigan primary for governor (if both of them actually went for it in 2014 would be intriguing.

A lot of political people would be forced to take sides in a way they never envisioned. The idea of having to pick between Obama and Hillary (like they had to in 2008) would be minor by comparison.

BUT IT’S NOT going to come to that. I’m pretty sure of it. Those of you who are desperate to have a “Daley” in a position of political authority probably should be following the governmental life of Patrick Daley Thompson – he of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District who may well rise to unheard of heights.

For the key is that we’re just a month past the 2012 election cycle. We’re as far away from 2014 as we can get. Which is why it is appropriate for Bill Daley to talk this fantasy. It’s the right time.

Once things get to the point where he’d have to actually do something real to achieve the goal, he’ll come to the same realization he always does – that he has bigger priorities than hustling for a political post that may come with a mansion.

But a nice house to live in just isn’t enough to entice him into the minutia of Illinois state government. I honestly believe Lisa Madigan is a more likely person to challenge Pat Quinn for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination come the ’14 election cycle – and even she may not want to tackle a primary fight that would definitely get ugly.

SO WHERE WILL Bill Daley be come Election Day 2014?

Probably tossing out hints about how he’s “seriously considering” a run for governor in 2018!


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