Illinois may be a two-party state, albeit very blue and Democratic, but it has a 14-faction system, consisting of squabbling, mutually-hostile, self-interested groupings within each major party. Each faction can deliver votes and funding, and the candidate who best masters the “art of overlap” – having a solid base in one or more faction, and appealing to rival factions – wins.
The nine Democratic factions include blacks, Hispanics, gays, ideological liberals (who call themselves “progressives”), unions, Downstate county chairmen, the Chicago party machine (run by Mayor Rahm Emanuel), the Springfield legislative …
In the 40-plus years that I’ve written this weekly analysis-and-opinion on politics, I’ve never encountered an instance where the lead-up, the information-gathering, is more column-worthy than the actual column. Now I have.
Call this a “pre-column.” It’s a column on the story of getting the story to write the column. And it clearly demonstrates how and why Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s “gag-and-spend” strategy maintains his iron grip on his Democratic majority, and his stranglehold on Illinois government.
In the northwest side 40th House District, the incumbent is Jaime Andrade, age 40, …
The burden of the fictional writer or novelist is to concoct and embellish the 5-D’s – drama, distortion, deceit, duplicity and dumbness.. The joy of writing a political column on Chicago and Illinois politics is that one need not concoct; one need only observe. The 5-D’s are everywhere apparent.
Bizarre, weird and/ or wacky – that’s the norm in local politics. Nobody could make up this stuff.
Here are two examples:
* In the political food-chain, alderman supersedes county commissioner in clout and prestige. So when the governor appoints an alderman a “senior …
In the past 68 years, since 1946, Cook County has had nine sheriffs, all of them ostensibly devoid of moral turpitude, reasonably competent, generally resistant to temptation to indulge in graft and favoritism, able to sublimate the duress and stress of sitting on a timebomb – and almost all eminently forgettable.
That’s Sheriff Tom Dart’s problem. He’s forgotten. The 51-year old lawyer from Chicago’s clout-heavy 19th Ward craves a promotion – to Chicago mayor, U.S. Attorney, county board president, state’s attorney, or even a high-level job in the Obama Administration’s Department …
When Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) commissioner Frank Avila says his job is all about effluent and excrement, he means it literally, not figuratively.
Every day, the 5.3 million residents of Cook County’s 946 square miles “use the facilities,” create 500 tons of solid waste, and inundate the sewers with 1.5 billion gallons of liquid effluent. Add to that another 300 million gallons of industrial waste.
It has to go somewhere. And it’s the distinctly unglamorous task of the MWRD to collect, separate, purify and get rid of it, annually dumping almost …
Here’s a multiple-choice quiz. Which of the following utterances do not qualify as one of the world’s most egregious lies?
(1) “The check’s in the mail.”
(2) “Mission accomplished.”
(3) “I’ll still respect you in the morning.”
(4) “My dog ate my homework.”
(5) “Wait until next year.”
(6) “I never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind.”
(7) “I lost the election because of changing demographics.”
If you chose Number Seven, you’re on a fast track to write this weekly, 1,500 word column when I retire. Mail your resume and a writing sample ASAP.
On Nov. 5, the day after the 2014 election, expect a whole …
Back in the days of the Persian Empire, as epitomized by Babylon and Constantinople, eunuchs were an important presence in the emperors’ lair.
In Illinois, circa 2014, there are 19 eunuchs in the state senate. However, these eunuchs are inconsequential, ignored, and politically impotent. They’re Republicans.
The Democrats, captained by Senate President John Cullerton, have a 40-19 “super-majority” – 60 percent of the chamber. That means Cullerton’s crew can override the governor’s veto, and have enough votes to pass any bill in an overtime session. No Republican vote is needed.
The Democrats’ 2011 …
Some years ago, I remember meeting a Chicago-based writer who was pondering an aldermanic bid in the northwest side 41st Ward. “You can describe me as a mid-coastal author,” she chirped. Say what?
“Oh,” she responded. There are East Coast “people of creativity,” mainly from New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., and there are West (or Left) Coasters from Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, she explained, but “those of us in Chicago are mid-coastal.”
Welcome to the new reality — as defined by the Manhattan intelligentsia and the Hollywood …
Be careful what you wish for. You may not be content with what you get. According to Democratic sources, Illinois’ powerful public sector unions, SEIU and AFSCME, are preparing to pump $1 million or more into the 2014 Republican governor primary in order to wound and/or defeat big-spending Bruce Rauner.
The unions’ theory is indistinct. Is Rauner, who recently spent $1.5 million in TV ads over November and December promising to “shake up” Springfield, the Republicans’ weakest or strongest candidate? The unions’ upcoming barrage of TV ads, ripping Rauner as “not good …
Is another Chicago black Democratic congressman about to fall from grace? In the South Side 1st District, long the redoubt of the iconic Bobby Rush, the proverbial fat lady has begun to sing.
Rush, first elected in 1992, is following the footsteps of disgraced and now-jailed colleague Jesse Jackson Jr. An investigation released by the Better Government Association, alleged that Rush paid his wife a $404,000 salary with campaign funds, operating his campaign office rent-free, donated $196,000 in campaign cash to his church, and was unable to explain how …