At an emotional press conference, flanked by his family, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he will not be running for another term. While I like to poke fun at him I do have a grudging respect for the man. Like his father, Daley loved this city. Like his father he ran it with an iron fist. And like his father, he will leave the city a better place. Also like his father, he inherited a thoroughly corrupt political system and turned a blind eye to it.
The city’s power structure is up for grabs. Aldermen, community activists, and professional candidates- the political mercenaries and opportunists- are scrambling to jump in the ring. It will be a very interesting winter. Unfortunately, there is no one in the political world who has the capability to run Chicago. Not one person. A word of caution, if an Aldercreature runs for mayor do not vote for it. It would be disastrous. It would be voting for a criminal dunce to run this city. Shrek, Elmer Fudd, and Al Capone all rolled into one. The last thing we need is a drooling blabbering idiot with a criminal mind.
Who will run for mayor? Who will throw their hat in the ring? Daley’s decision is leaving many befuddled- even some of the current candidates. Names are being bandied about- Ed Burke, Tom Dart, some other aldermen; the list is a long one. The real key is who will be able to clean up the mess Daley will leave behind? Will Chicago finally be ready for reform? Or will we have the same old corrupt and criminal system that has been operating here for two centuries?
Daley’s decision not only impacts the city of Chicago, but the Democratic Party on the state and national levels. Daley is the de facto leader of the state Democratic Party and he is a well respected leader on the national party level as well. Chicago and Cook County have been key in winning state and national elections for Democrats. Now that he has decided not to run, will Daley invest his political capital to fully back Democratic candidates in November. Or will he just lay back and let the cards fall where they may?
Daley will be leaving behind a real power vacuum. There will be no passing of the torch. There will be no new kingmaker. Like his father, Daley was a power unto himself. The Democratic Party will not be the same. Thank God for small favors.