When the deal goes down

by nkronos on January 25, 2011

“Chicago politics”: a phrase synonymous with the urban machines, one-party rule, and insider corruption that hearken all the way back to Boss Tweed. During the first Mayor Daley’s era, Chicago was referred to as the city that works–a sort of Mussolini-style praise indicating that “Da Mayor” (El Duce) at least made the trains run on time. Perhaps Chicago police resembled Fascist Blackshirts more than public servants, but that was the price paid for security and order.

You wouldn’t want to be Detroit would you?

Neither city is doing too well these days. Detroit has gone from being America’s fourth largest metropolis and “the most significant industrialized city in the world” to a marvel of decay and rot, its squalor drawing international attention. And Chicago is the biggest millstone in a state that has the greatest likelihood of defaulting in the country, its budget more than 50 percent in the red. The single-year shortfall of $17 billion is more than $1,300 for every man, woman, and child in the state.

As with Jerry Brown and the governorship of California, one has to ask, “Just why does Rahm Emanuel want to be mayor of such a place?”

Regardless, his assumed coronation took a major body blow when Judges Thomas Hoffman and Shelvin Hall threw him off the ballot because of a failure to meet the residency requirement.

The Illinois Review provides a thorough analysis of the particulars.

For those who come to the story with a naive belief about Chicago politics and thus think Emanuel is being treated unfairly, just remember how a young candidate for state senator named Barack Obama first made his bones.

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