February 24, 2005


A Tale of Two Daleys: Chicago's mayor doesn't have a theory of governance. He just likes to solve problems. (JOSEPH EPSTEIN, February 24, 2005 Wall Street Journal)

Rich Daley appears to have no theory of government, but merely a boundless appetite for governing. He is a fix-it, a problem-solving, man, treating the city of Chicago as if it were an unending episode of "This Old House"--and he seems to be turning the old heap into a damn stately mansion.

But perhaps the real secret behind the Daley family success is the fixed but limited ambition of both father and son. Neither Dick nor Rich Daley ever aspired to rise any higher than Mayor of the City of Chicago. Dick Daley, doubtless, enjoyed being a kingmaker and a power in the Democratic Party; this would appear to be less true of Rich Daley, but then the age of king-making Democratic Party bosses seems to be over. A homeboy, the current mayor does not wish to become governor or a U.S. senator, or--here's a thought to pass on to the search committee in Cambridge--the next president of Harvard. That goes a good way to explaining why he is so good at his job and why he is likely to be able to keep it for as long as he likes.

He may not have the theory down, but Mayor daley is the last Third Way politician in the Democratic Party and offers thereby the only viable alternative to compassionate conservatism. It speaks volumes of the plight of the Democrats that the mildly innovative Rudy Guiliani is a front-runner for the GOP's presidential nomination but the truly innovative Mayor Daley doesn't get a mention for theirs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2005 4:48 PM

I'm not so sure he will be able to keep the job as long as he likes. We have gone from big Daley supporters to "anybody but" in the last few years. Your bandwidth isn't big enough for a listing of all the scandals, acts of petty tyrant, etc. It is embarassing.

We suspect that his wife's cancer is worse than reported and that he will retire if she passes away as a graceful way out.

Posted by: Rick T. at February 24, 2005 5:00 PM

Only someone who lives in the pastoral bliss of the Granite State could call Rudy 'mildly innovative.'

The Dinkins Era nearly wrecked the City, it was coming to resemble Detroit and there was zero morale. Rudy's impact on NYC has been nothing short of Reagan's on the US after he bounced Mr. Peanut out on his shell. There are mayors all across the world following Rudy's lead from 'broken windows policing' to family-oriented redevelopment.

Posted by: Bart at February 24, 2005 5:50 PM

Chicago is a great city because of Mayor Daley. I have some friends who think his tenure has been scandal-ridden. I have listened to their arguments but, mostly, it seems to amount to stuff like "a contract got awarded to somebody's brother-in-law."

Who cares if the garbage gets collected, the city is beautiful and safe, jobs are plentiful, and incomes and standards of living are high?

Posted by: Seven Machos at February 25, 2005 12:31 AM