Politics Joel Connelly, Chicago Fan
posted by August 9 at 8:59 AMon
Joel Connelly’s column in the PI the other day sang the praises of the Savage hometown and its political ways. The Brother has often said to me that he’d gladly trade Chicago’s corruption—where at least things get done—for Seattle’s Deep Process paralysis, where anything worth doing gets talked to death and then not done anyway.
But the costs of corruption are real: high property taxes, a police force riddled with members who consider themselves above the law, and organized crime (just one example of the overlap of these things: a former Chicago Chief of Detectives is serving time in Federal prison for running an Outfit-connected jewelry theft ring.). Looking back fondly at the last voters’ revolt in Chicago—28 years ago!—Connelly fools himself into thinking that Chicagoans can be as tough on pols as our pols are on each other, or on contractors who probably paid them off for the city work in the first place.
Wrong. Mayor Richard M. Daley owns this town, and we have a different form of political paralysis, the grim reality that Daley has co-opted all rivals and will reign until he dies, retires, or is indicted by the feds. As federal prosecutors keep getting closer to Daley’s inner circle, my money is on the third option.
Finally, Joel, you really shouldn’t try passing off the work of a better writer, Finley Peter Dunne, as your own. When you write that “Chicago runs on the premise that politics ain’t bean bag,” you ought to credit Dunne’s Mr. Dooley, Irish immigrant barkeep-philosopher of Mayor Daley’s home ward, Bridgeport, who said “Politics ain’t beanbag: ‘tis a man’s game, and women, children ‘n’ pro-hy-bitionists had best stay out of it.”
Given the prohibitionists who run things in Seattle, though, maybe the whole quotation would have struck too deeply.