Friday, August 6, 2010

‘Daley for mayor’ intimidating to all but the most foolhardy of prospective pols

Why do I believe that Richard M. Daley is going to get re-elected as mayor come next year’s municipal elections, despite what negative feelings prospective voters might have about him or incumbent politicians in general?

Perhaps it is because the leading challenger at this point is a man whose own political father won’t help him, and who goes about saying it is his “patriotic duty” to run for Mayor of Chicago (sounds to me way too similar to the Blues Brothers “Mission for God” that caused them to create that massive police chase on the cinematic screen).

I DON’T SEE the challengers. The names I hear are either too obscure to be taken seriously, or they are officials who may have significant impact within a specific ward or neighborhood, but are largely meaningless to the rest of the city.

While I realize that campaigns are about prospective candidates becoming known to the public at large, I doubt anybody outside of their respective home wards will really take Sandi Jackson or Tom Tunney that seriously.

And as for Bob Fioretti, I understand he’s trying to get his name known by visiting all 50 wards (and boasting of how he has put in excess of “100 miles per day” on his car because of the effort). Yet I don’t see the evidence of any traction gained by his prospective campaign – although admittedly, it is still early.

Most people, including the so-called “big gun” candidacy of White House chief fo staff Rahm Emanuel, openly say they will only consider a campaign of their own if Daley himself were to step down voluntarily and not seek re-election.

YET IN GIVING the State of the City address earlier this week, Daley gave off so many hints that he still envisions himself being a part of city government beyond May of next year that aldermen are openly saying they took the speech as his declaration of intent to run for re-election – even though I am aware Daley is going to wait until the absolute last minute before he makes anything official.

It actually is a realistic strategy. Daley has been around so long (in December, he will surpass his father, Richard J., in terms of the actual amount of time served in office as Chicago mayor) that he doesn’t have to campaign.

Everybody already knows what they think of the man. There’s nothing he can say to change anyone’s opinion. What works is the intimidation factor that few people want future retribution from the powers that be by openly challenging Daley.

Which is why the campaigns that have come forth are from the long-shots who have nothing to lose.

PEOPLE SUCH AS Jay Stone – the son of long-time Alderman Bernie Stone, who having represented the far North Side for so long (since 1973) is exactly the kind of person who might think his personal status is strong enough to stand up to Hizzoner Jr.

Yet even Bernie won’t back Jay. “No comment, whatsoever” is his official response to reporter-types asking about Jay’s candidacy.

It’s quite a differing reaction from the classic Chicago viewpoint, as expressed by Richard J. Daley himself, who when criticized some four decades ago because one of his sons had an insurance business that received a city contract, said, “if I can’t help my sons, then they can kiss my ass.”

What kind of respectable Chicago politico can’t even get his father’s support? Heck, even Alderman Dick Mell helped to turn his son-in-law from an unemployed law school graduate to Illinois governor – with stops in the state Legislature and Congress along the way.

YET SO FAR, Jay Stone is the only real candidate we have, although I understand there also is a man named Fredrick K. White who is calling himself a Chicago mayoral candidate (and has created a website to promote that very idea).

Somehow, I don’t sense that Daley is concerned about either of these men, which I know is confusing to out-of-towners who want to take on face value that poll from a few weeks ago that says a majority of people questioned want somebody else as Chicago mayor.

Not that they have any real clue as to who that “somebody else” should be. That factor is what makes me think that any talk of replacing Daley is wishful thinking.

It is only because of my age that I can remember an era when anyone other than a Daley was mayor – although for nearly three-quarters of my life to date – either J. or M. has been the city’s chief executive. There are times when those days of Jayne Byrne, Harold Washington or Eugene Sawyer have withered into the history books that it seems like they never happened.

AS FOR MIKE Bilandic, I honestly remember him more as a former Illinois Supreme Court justice than for anything he did during his stint on the Fifth Floor.

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this way.

Which is why until a credible candidate comes forth and gives us legitimate reasons why we should vote for them (rather than against Daley), I can picture many city voters showing up at the polling places next year and voting knee-jerk for Daley for mayor – putting their real attention toward picking replacements for Helen Shiller and the many other aldermen who are hinting they may step down from the City Council.



Anonymous said...

The real problem is that white chicago is so afraid of having another black mayor that they keep sending this guy, who would be lucky to be driving a garbage truck if his name were not daley, back to office.
No legit white candidate wants to be the "spoiler" to let another black mayor in.

this city is going to heck in a handbasket, and mayor dufus is leading the way, however with his crooked pockets being stuffed all along the way.

too much of a coward to make the real money saving decisions: stop paying union trades people prevailing wages (that should only be for journeymen, not guys guaranteed 40 hours per week), remove $1,000,000 security detail from Ald. Ed Burke, eliminate frills like fireworks, concerts, jumping jacks, etc. costing over $20 million per year, too many deputy, asst. deputy, managing deputy, positions all at over six figures managing fewer people, three man garbage truck crews (everyone does it with one), the list is endless, but the people are such sheep they will continue to send this mildly EMH (psychologist term meaning Educateable Mentally Handicapped) individual back into office.

Joe Lake said...

Good article on the only two 'announced' candidates for Chicago's mayor for the Feb. 22, 2011 municipal elections. One more mayoral candidate will announce in a week or so. Eventually, there could be 5-6 mayoral candidates plus mayor Daley. Joe Lake, Bucktown