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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Chicago blues

This story lost me at the very first sentence:

Richard M. Daley's 21-year run as mayor will end next spring with the city broadly reshaped by his vision and unprecedented grip on power, but with his image as Chicago's sure-handed leader increasingly challenged.

An "unprecedented" grip on power, considering that his father Richard J., the "last of the big city bosses" also had a 21-year reign? The story does try to make its case, but it seems to me the details only underscore the greater power wielded by Daley Sr. before modern sensibilities made machine politics unfashionable.

There have been only a few years in the last 50-some when there wasn't a Daley in the mayor's office and, coincidentally, those were the years I lived in northwest Indiana and got a regular dose of Chicago news. I got to vicariously enjoy the suffering of Chicagoans as they endured the tenures of Michael Bilandic, Jane Byrne and Harold Washington, who managed to add ineptidue to corruption and, unbelievably, make the whole package boring. (WARNING: SEXIST JOKE COMING UP. DON'T READ THE NEXT SENTENCE IF YOU'RE EASILY OFFENDED.) There was a joke going around about the time the Great Blizzard underscored Byrne's incompetence that compared here to the Suez Canal and had the punchline, "One is a busy ditch."

So now Rahm Emanuel wants the job. Chicago's loss would be the nation's gain.