Sunday, August 24, 2008

A reading from Book of Daley

The opening chapter of the Book of Matthew lays out the geneaology and the direct line from Abraham to Jesus. Geneaology is key to understanding Chicago politics, too. To understand the Bible, it helps to know a theologian. To understand Chicago, it helps to know a political theologian or two.

I lived in the Chicago area for 5 years, during a time when the Daley Restoration took place. As this election cycle has continued, it's become increasingly clear that this election is about Chicago politics in ways that no other national election has been since 1968. Sen. Obama is from Chicago and, more importantly, of Chicago. It takes a lot of words to explain what that means, so I'm going to suggest that you read two related pieces that may help you understand.

The first piece is from our friend The Lady Logician, who came of age in Chicago and observed the odd rituals for a good part of her youth. While LL has recently decamped to Utah, she knows where the bodies are buried. As you read her piece, you'll notice that she links to another piece from Michael Barone, one of the most intelligent and respected political observers on the national stage. The main thrust of Barone's piece is the controversy surrounding the relationship of Obama with William Ayers, the one-time domestic terrorist who is now a respected part of what Barone calls tout Chicago. It's an interesting story, but the key to Barone's piece is the Book of Matthew-style discussion of how geneaology is key in understanding Chicago politics and why a member of the House of Madigan or the House of Burke or the House of Lipinski, to say nothing of the House of Daley, can pretty much control a baronage in Chicago, or beyond.

Hit those links - if Obama wins, Chicago politics will go nationwide. You need to know what that means.


Mike said...

Thank God we're in Minnesota, where things like this don't happen...except for the Mondales, the Humphreys, the Colemans (not Norm), etc.

Mark Heuring said...

Don't forget the Freemans, Mike. I take your point. The difference is one of degree. And note well: Skip Humphrey has been rejected numerous times by the voters of Minnesota and Buck won't even try to run. You couldn't get by with what the Lipinskis did in Chicago, but it was SOP there.

Anonymous said...

as you know, I am a pretty fierce critic of Chicago politics. My Congressman is Lipinski the Younger, who I have yet to cast a single ballot for, and never will. But I think your concerns over Obama bringing Chicago-style politics to Washington are a little misplaced. How could he possibly do that? Of course, every president constitutes his staff from his home base, but that is to be expected. Those are appointed positions that come and go with each new administration. Furthermore, any new President would be hard pressed to outdo the current administration on appointments of political hacks. In fact, one of the things that makes the Chicago system 'work' is that most of these nepostistic darlings are actually pretty competent politicians, having been groomed for their positions since they were toddlers.


Mark Heuring said...

Fair point, Rich. But my concern is that what will happen is this - we import the culture but not the competence. That’s not desirable, no matter what you think about the relative merits of either candidate. Change will come in any event; it always does. But I’d like the change to be a little more, well, incremental. I’m conservative, after all….