Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chicago's black politicians building own dynasties

The AP writes:
In a city where the mayor holds the job his father once did, politics can seem little different from the early years of the legendary Democratic Machine. But the faces of political privilege, long dominated by white ethnic groups, have changed as powerful black politicians unabashedly use their clout to build new dynasties.

The next in a long line of successions has been set in motion by Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, one of Barack Obama's first political mentors, who in announcing his retirement this week made it clear he wants his son to take his seat.

It's the latest twist on the "it's our turn" catch-phrase popular when Chicago elected its first black mayor in 1983, said Laura Washington, a professor at Chicago's DePaul University.

"It also means it's our turn to be as corrupt and irresponsible to the Democratic process as their white predecessors have been," said Washington, who also is a Chicago Sun-Times columnist.
Also from the Tribune from the mouth of outgoing Senate President Emil Jones:
Senate President Emil Jones Jr. pointed Tuesday to famous political dynasties from Chicago and beyond as he defended his effort to pass his South Side legislative seat to his son, Emil Jones III.

"I recall John F. Kennedy, president of the United States, when he became president, he recommended his brother. Right? And his brother was elected," Jones said, in an apparent reference to Sen. Ted Kennedy, who followed his brother as a senator from Massachusetts.

"Mayor Richard M. Daley begot . . . Richard J. Daley," Jones continued, inadvertently reversing the order of the Daley mayors.

Jones also mentioned House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who helped daughter Lisa Madigan become first a state senator and then state attorney general.
I don't want to make a racial issue out of this but this just brought to mind some of the issues that came out back in 2006, when County Democrats were trying to figure out what to do with the incapacitated John Stroger. Whether or not to replace him and then with whom.

Either way I wonder if someone shares the sentiments of current Cook County Comissioner Bill Beavers during the time where it was unsure if John Stroger was coming back to office...

Ald. Beavers: --It’s always a double standard when it comes to black folks and white folks, OK? Old Man (Richard J.) Daley had a stroke and was out for a year. Nobody said one word. They were even afraid to whisper that he was sick around here, OK? President Stroger is alive and well, and until he decides that he don’t want run again, it’s up to him. And whoever he decides is going to replace him, that’s what’s going to happen.

Andy Shaw: That doesn’t sound very democratic.

Ald. Beavers: Listen, if white folks can do it, black folks can do it, OK? Easily, all right? We’ve got control of the votes in the city and the county, so we do what we want to do, all right? Remember that.

And following in the tradition of Dan Lipinski, Beavers help to usher in the Todd Stroger era in Cook County government.

Oh you don't know who Dan Lipinski was? Well Lipinski is the current Congressman in Chicago's 3rd Congressional District. He was appointed at virtually the last minute by his father Bill Lipinski to that congressional seat. In fact Bill was the incumbent congressman at that time, but during the summer he elected to remove him name from the ballot and was able to place his son in his slot instead. That was just over four years ago and needless to say, Dan Lipinski has been in Congress ever since.

I just want to note the difference between Lipinski, Stroger or now Jones (in fact the son who might inherit his father's seat is being referred to as Threemil lol) versus Madigan or Daley was that one group chose not to stand in a primary. Instead Lipinski, Stroger and Jones chose to circumvent the primary process and insert someone else (that is kin) in their place. Playing on the idea of familiarity or indeed thinking they might know someone if only because of their last name.

At least with Daley or Madigan, they stood on their own even if they had a family name to stand behind. Still if their family name helped them, they at least didn't get inserted sometime after a primary election. In other words they earned their spot on the ballot in a general election. They especially were just appointed to their ballot spot or their position thanks to their family name.

Want more
Illinois politics: All in the family - Clout Street
A fine tradition of Chicago mediocrity - Sun-Times
And It Came to Pass - The Broken Heart of Roger's Park
More on Emil Jones' bait-and-switch - Marathon Pundit

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