Well, he’s left behind the ingredients for the best political donnybrook we’ve had in fifty years.
They’ll be kicking and gouging, grabbing and tripping, elbowing and kneeing to grab all, or a thin sliver of the power he left behind.
It will be a classic Chicago debate.
He knew it would turn out that way, and the thought probably delighted him.
I hope where ever he is, he’ll have a good seat for the entire show. And when they are tangled in political half-nelsons, toe-holds, and headlocks, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear a faint but familiar giggle drifting down from somewhere.”
Mike Royko wrote the above on December 21, 1976- the day Richard J. Daley died suddenly.
Change a few words to the present tense and you have September 2010, when his son, Richard M. Daley, announced his retirement. Daley, like his father, did not leave a political successor behind- they usually stab you in the back anyway and try to take over. Why bother? So, now Chicago is in for a real war between the Democrats. A battle that has been brewing and simmering since Lady Jane became mayor. A street fight. A riot. A melee. A brawl. A cage fight. Joe Berrios, the sock puppet in charge, is probably shaking and quaking in his designer shoes. He will be toast. He was a creature of Daley and Daley alone. Berrios is toast.
There will be Burke, Schulter, Stone, Mell, Daley (John), Madigan, Cullerton, and a host of others who will be slugging it out to be the Boss of Bosses. Then of course their are the factions and coalitions- Blacks, groups of Hispanics, pseudo-reformers, and others.
All lining up, pulling out the chains, brass knuckles, bats, bricks; sharpening the knives, loading the guns, and preparing for war. There is just too much graft and boodle in this town. One man will survive. One man will pull the strings. One man to rule them all.
Rich Daley left behind a power vacuum. Chaos loves a vacuum. Rich Daley will walk a way laughing his scrutined butt off. The old man will be giggling and cackling with pride and glee from up there.