US President Barack Obama (R) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (C) arrive to speak at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago, Illinois, February 19, 2015. Obama designated the Pullman Historic District as a National Monument. The district was founded by railroad car manufacturer, engineer and industrialist George Pullman in 1880. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The Southside Chicago neighborhood of Beverly — on its surface, it hasn’t changed much over the years. It still has more Irish pubs than any place in Chicago. Pleasant old ladies still tend to their immaculate tree-lined front yards. Capacity crowds still fill the pews at St. Barnabas and Christ the King. Kids still ride their squeaky bikes to Rainbow Cone in the summer. Irish clans, with surnames like Hynes, Joyce, Keane and, yes, Daley, still mark the area as their political “turf.” All cogs in the wheel of Chicago’s well-oiled Democrat political machine.
It is the Irish Catholic edge of the 1st Congressional District represented by former Black Panther Defense Minister Rep. Bobby Rush. The Hawaiian-transplant, then State Senator Barack Obama, ran and lost his first race for Congress here in 2000. Salty newspaper reporters, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonists, and Louis Farrakhan have lived here too. This is the politically-powerful 19th ward of Chicago. The borderline of civilization.
At least, it was powerful once. With Rahm Emanuel soon to be inaugurated (some would say coronated) mayor of Chicago, operatives wonder if any of the “old rules” will still apply. But has anything really changed?
For most of Chicago’s rank and file, “turf” has had very little to do with political ideology. It has everything to do with survival: Who gets what? Or, more realistically, who gets not? For a paycheck and a retirement package, they’ll believe anything you want. Global warming. Carbon credits to erase your carbon footprint. Government-run healthcare. Rights for garden vegetables. You name it.
Chicago-style progressivism also helps keep other disparate ethnic, racial, and other politically challenged factions toeing the line. Ultimately, the end-game is the same: consolidation of power into one government ruling class. That’s why Democrat elites have never had a problem with classism. It’s the politically correct form of discrimination. As a Chicago ward boss once said, “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.” Ain’t it the truth.
This is the way it has been here for almost a century, ever since Anton Cermak, a Bohemian immigrant, defeated William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson, the last Republican mayor of Chicago, back in 1931. It is still the same machine of Richard J. Daley, the “Father,” who ruled Chicago with an iron fist and a tangled tongue for 21 years from 1955 to 1976. The old school cops who live in Mount Greenwood, and who still keep the Old Man’s photo on their mantels (along with JFK and the Pope), will tell you that. Outwardly, it’s Barack Obama’s machine. It’s Rahm “Deadfish” Emanuel’s machine. But it’s really just the same machine.
The big difference now is that machine has gone global and, in 2012, the stakes are higher than they have ever been before. In order to defeat the Machine, you need to understand its components and its modus operandi.
So what are the lessons of the Chicago Way?