[Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has] been offered up to voters as a young progressive independent, even though he’s also beholden to the Southwest Side political oligarchs.
The other day, Kass said Dart would run once he received the expected endorsement of Mike Madigan. Dart and Madigan are not allies. Far from it. So now, Kass appears to be recycling this charge without including a name so he can’t be called out as a serial fantasist.
By far, Kass has attempted to destroy more people with unsubstantiated nonsense than anyone else in the Chicago media. Dart’s late father was, indeed, a powerful behind the scenes player in city politics. But Dart himself has done a very good job of proving his independence. His connections have and will definitely help him, no doubt about it, but as I’ve said many times before the South Side Irish are not some monolithic beast, no matter how hard Kass tries to make them so.
Kass learned politics at the feet of Eddie Vrdolyak. Fast Eddie hated the Irish, except for Ed Burke. Kass often quotes Burke in a favorable manner. See? Two can play this game.
* I like and respect state Sen. James Meeks. I think he’s a decent guy. But his alliances and his beliefs will most certainly become an issue if he runs for mayor. Here’s a 2007 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center…
The Rev. James Meeks is a key member of Chicago’s “Gatekeepers” network, an interracial group of evangelical ministers who strive to erase the division between church and state. A stalwart anti-gay activist, Meeks has used his House of Hope mega-church to launch petition drives for the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), a major state-level “family values” pressure group that lauded him last year for leading African Americans in “clearly understanding the threat of gay marriage.”
With over 22,000 members, Meeks’ congregation was large enough to buoy his successful 2002 campaign for state senator. Last year, he ran for governor as a virtual single-issue candidate, drawing national support from Christian fundamentalists by boldly vowing to fight marriage equality at every turn. Meeks eventually dropped out of the race.
Meeks and the IFI are partnered with Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund, major anti-gay organizations of the Christian Right. They also are tightly allied with Americans for Truth, an Illinois group that said in a press release last year that “fighting AIDS without talking against homosexuality is like fighting lung cancer without talking against smoking.”
And there’s plenty of video out there which could be embarrassing. Like this one…
He’s done lots of good things in his career, but his mouth always gets him in trouble, and there are large numbers of videos online that will give opposition researches lots of work.
* A couple of months ago, Sen. Rickey Hendon told me that he would run for mayor if Sen. Meeks did not. That pledge may now be inoperative…
State Sen. Rickey Hendon also told us on Tuesday that he plans to run for Mayor. Hendon is a former Chicago Alderman who has represented the fifth district in Springfield since 1993.
“I’m in all the way,” said Hendon. “Somebody’s gotta fix this mess and I think I am qualified to do it.”
Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle scoffs at potential candidates who in the past week have said they’re thinking about running. Del Valle was quick to jump in the race.
DEL VALLE: I decided that I was not going to play the game of forming an exploratory committee or consulting with a long list of people or pretending to consult with a long list of people. I think that would be disingenuous.
The first thing that Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin wants to tell voters about the suddenly wide-open Chicago mayoral race on the last Tuesday in February is this: Don’t get overly focused on it yet.
“Two years ago when I was running for [Cook County] state’s attorney and [Barack] Obama, was running for president, Obama sucked all the oxygen out of the political arena,” Suffredin says. “I think that [the mayoral election] right now is causing people to skip the Nov. 2 election. We all have to be encouraging everyone to vote [on Nov. 2], not just to move on to the next election.”
CMB’s Senate office was poorly run with horrible constituent services. By the time people reach out to a US Senate office, they are often at their wits end and have no where else to turn. Many, many pleas for help to CMB senate office went unanswered or simply got lost in the shuffle.
The fact remains that she was not a hard working campaigner. I have no reason to believe that any of those past habits would be different this time around.
Do you guys think that the crowded race, and the need for all of the candidates to organize quickly and concentrate on their own mayoral campaigns, will dilute the Democrats efforts in the November elections? Specifically, do the candidate’s effort peel off workers and/or enthusiasm needed by state-wide Democrats in their races?
It seems to me that if such a huge event were to happen in DuPage County, the dilution of campaign professionals and volunteers would cause problems in organizing efforts for November given that the nominating petitions are due in late November, and any series candidate needs to concentrate their efforts on their own elections.
Good job on the Kassamoron description Capt. Fax
BTW anyone checking to see if the Two Party System guys are holding their cash to wait for the Mayoral? StateWideTom might be left in the dark. What a shame.
Rich, you are correct about Dart and his relationships with Madigan and the 19th ward. His father (who passed away last January) was a powerhouse with the first Daley and stayed behind the scenes during Tom’s political career. And you are also correct about Tom’s independence. Just ask any of the 19th ward politicals.
With all the candidates jocking for position in the mayoral race, mostly democrats, Chicago field workers are positioning themselves to get on board a race for one of the front runners. It’s not like they are lining up to work for Quinn.
Rich, bringing together two of your right-on comments today:
Kass (I-Redundantville) preaches to folks who invariably fill comment sections on newspaper websites with non-thinking, reactionary “My problems are the fault of that scumbag Daley/Obama/INSERT NAME HERE!”
Big John is sometimes correct, but mostly delusional.
Kass is a bully who doesn’t understand the complexities of IL politics, but prefers unfounded conspiracy theories. In fact, he gets all his of info. from a few favorite “sources”, most of whom simply parrot back his pre-conceived story lines. Kass could be a very influential voice if he would bother to learn a few things, instead of thinking he alone has the inside track on all the palace secrets.
What makes you say this? I don’t recall him having any animosity toward any geographic group.
- lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 15, 10 @ 11:29 am:
In 2005 Channel 7 reported this about Dart and Madigan:
House speaker Michael Madigan didn’t vote for or against Dart. He voted present but wouldn’t say why. Speculation is he doesn’t want competition for his daughter — the attorney general — if she ever runs for higher office.
In the end, of course, it will only be the citizens of Chicago whose votes elect a new mayor. What is frighteningly lost in much of the current babble though, is that the person who occupies the office of Mayor of Chicago holds in his/her hands the health of a great, influential, American city–and therefore affects not just those who live within the city limits, but an entire region.
The hundreds of thousands of suburbanites who stream into the city to work and attend college each day, and who patronize the restaurants, stores, cultural facilities, and sports events rely on a functioning, safe and vibrant city but contribute greatly to the city, too.
Suburbanites’ interest and stake in the politics, finances, and governance of the city therefore should not and cannot be ignored. Political contributions will flow to the campaigns of mayoral candidates who have already shown competence at some level and are viewed to understand the larger regional issues. Many, many of those monetary contributions will come from suburbanites and from businesses.
So far, the identity politics and obvious struggle for power rising forth from some truly mediocre and unlikable politicians is not encouraging at all. I hope the serious mayoral candidates are still waiting in the wings, but they better not wait too long.
Kass is the most panicked guy in Chicago. His entire reason for existing — Richard M. Daley — is about go away.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed many of his Daley-bashing columns. But I think we all know he’s a one trick pony. He figures if Rahm wins his narrative can go on…mentions of Tomczak and the “combine”, etc. But Dart is much harder to paint with that brush.
When I read his line about Dart asking Madigan for permission to run for mayor last week my gasp of disbelief could be heard throughout my Metra car. How can Kass pretend to be the in-the-know wisguy of Chicago political journalism and think that Dart and Madigan were on good terms? He obviously didn’t spend any time in Springfield in the ’90’s, or pay much attention to the statewide races in 2002.
As for Kass, connecting the Vrdolyak/Burke/Madigan dots, Kass
can wax on about how much he hates the combine, but he loves
writing about them. everyone takes credit when someone wins.
the combine is not Tom Dart. Kass is either trying to draw
him to the combine, or kick his ass in advance so the combine
can have their play.
- Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 15, 10 @ 12:09 pm:
OK, I’ll try again.
I’m confused. Dart sought assistance to get elected from those he claims his independence,
Or, is Dart is an independent who accepted no assistance from the Democratic good old boys on the South and Southwest side to get elected and to further his own career?
I know you don’t like Kass and question a lot of what he writes, but I wouldn’t be so quick to blow off his commentary on this topic.
I have a flock of “independent” Democrats in my area sending out mailers and doing interviews claiming how “independent” they are of their party machinery in Springfield. The messages all seem to be the same or shall I say, they are all parroting the same message. Perhaps they received it from the Democratic House Committee?
A lot of folks are trying to attach that “independent” label to themselves. Few deserve to wear it.
An oft-told story goes like this: Mayor Daley and his team (Joyce, Degnan) used to refer to any white ethnic politician that wasn’t Irish as a (perjorative term for Polish-Americans). ERV is a proud Croatian, but to Daley, he was just another (rhymes with hemlock). In Daley’s view, if you were white and not Irish, you were part of a monolithic group of ethnics that didn’t matter much to him.
While Polish-American politicians once held great sway in Chicago (think Rostenkowski, Pucinski, Lipinski, Derwinski etc.), they fragmented politically and migrated to the suburbs, pretty much following Milwaukee Avenue NW and out to Niles and beyond. Daley didn’t have much use for them and their influence waned.
The Irish, on the other hand, continued to dominate the ranks of police and firefighters, city workers, plumbers and tavern owners and many still do. Plus, like the Mayor, God loves the Irish, and you always want to be on His side.
ERV never forgave Daley for treating him so poorly. He also has no love for Madigan, Hynes, Burke or other Irish pols who prospered under Daley’s reign. That’s one of the reasons ERV was fond of Blagojevich, which is weird because historically, Serbians and Croatians are the Hatfields and McCoys of the Balkans.
The story of ethnic politics in Chicago is rich and fascinating and more relevant than ever.
===but I wouldn’t be so quick to blow off his commentary on this topic.===
He said Dart was “beholden.” I said Dart had benefited from his connections, but I don’t believe he’s beholden to the South Side Irish because I’ve watched him and the Irish in action for so many years. If he was beholden to them, they sure don’t think so.
I think it is pretty well documented how Dart feuded with the Hines family in the 19th Ward, and how he was an independent during his stint as a state rep. For Kass to say Dart is waiting for Madigan’s blessing is one of the more ignorant things ever written by an ignorant man.
I sincerely believe Dart is the front runner, even if Emanuel enters the race. He is more likeable, and is just as substantial.
Who was it said, “we don’t want nobody nobody sent”? That’s what the powerbrokers in Chicago are saying under their collective breaths. They want to present to the voters their choice for mayor to keep the lines of power open to them. Trouble is, there are multiple, competing, power brokers. That noise you hear is the great sucking sound of a power vacuum. And we have front row seats. I want a beer with my hotdog, please - and a program, gotta have a program.
47th, your insights are spot on, but keep in mind that there are a number of reasons that ERV and Rod were close, some going back to before Rod even took office.
As far as the relationship between Hynes, Madigan Burke, Daley, ERV, etc., think of it more as a cross between an uneasy detente and mutually assured destruction. They are enemies unless they had a common goal, and they each know that the others know where enough of the bodies are to take each other down. Quickly.
While you know I’m all for the return of Meigs, I really strongly dislike Hendon and all he stands for. I think he just brought up Meigs as a stunt to get some press. Meigs has about as much chance of revival as the Bozo Show on WGN TV. Maybe, Like Palin, Hendon will talk a good game for a bit and then quit.
Meeks is also a bad choice; I remember all the slap-and-tickle between him and Blagojevich over school funding and the budget, and his crass abuse of his religious followers as political minions bothers me greatly.
Kass shouldn’t be compared to Royko in any way, shape or form. He’s barely literate. He recycles the same column over and over, with just a few fresh paragraphs up top.
It is kind of funny that you’ve never read a negative column by him on Fast Eddie or Burke. Wonder why.
By the way, 47th, the word you hint at is Polack and it is not a pejorative to everyone. Back in the day, Ann Landers got in trouble with the allegedly politically correct when she referred to John Paul II as a Polack.
The biggest Polack in Chicago rushed to her defense with a classic column. Paraphrasing (can’t find it online), he called himself a proud Polack, like Copernicus, Chopin, Walesa and John Paul II.
re 47th and Vrdolyak vs. the Irish. Actually, it’s Byrne vs. Daley.
Vrdolyak and his minions stomped on anyone Daley related when Bryne took over. nobody on either side forgot. If the
Daleys forget about anyone but the Irish, please explain Pam
Munizzi and Robert Sorich and their longtime associations.
Croatians have their own divisions, just like there are some
county spats even down in the South of Ireland.
Rich, I wrote this letter to Kass several years ago, but never sent it, primarily because of the “ink by the barrel” issue. I should have sent it
John, who exactly are the members of this combine that you’ve written so much about over the last few years? I’m interested in finding out more.
Is Speaker Madigan?
Is President Jones?
Was/is Pate Philip?
Is Minority Leader Cross?
Is Lee Daniels?
Is Comptroller Hynes?
Is AG Lisa Madigan?
Is Governor Thompson?
Is Governor Edgar?
Is Governor Ryan?
Is Governor Blagojevich?
Was Governor Walker?
Is Senator Durbin?
Is Senator Obama?
Was Senator Percy?
Was Senator Mosely-Braun?
Is Mayor Daley?
Was/is President Stroger?
Are federal judges members?
How about Illinois Supreme Court justices?
Are there other important members? If so, who?
Was I a member? If so, am I still?
I’m really intrigued. Who gets to decide on who is a member? Once a member, are you always a member? Do you have to work for government to be a member? Is there a leader of this combine? Who makes decisions for it? Do they take a vote?
How does it set its agenda? How do members communicate their plans to each other, or do they just intuitively know what to do (or not do) next? Why do some of them disagree on so many matters? Isn’t that inefficient for a smoothly running Combine? Are there difference between a Combine and bipartisanship? Is bipartisanship good? Is the Combine bad?
I learned years ago that it’s a bad idea to try to argue with people who buy ink by the barrel. I expect you to make fun of these questions (and my motives), as a means to avoid answering them. But John, you are the biggest proponent of the existence of this “Combine”. You should have answers to these questions, and I would appreciate hearing them.
I’m sitting here drinking some Guinness and listening to “Danny Boy”.
Tom Dart clearly had strong support from a ‘portion’ of the Southwest side Irish establishment. Think Sheehan and a good hunk of the non monolithic Irish 19th Ward.
As was said the SW side Irish aren’t some monolith. Even at the ward level they battle.
As for Vdrolyak hating the Irish, I think that is oversimplified. He hated the Daley’s and the Daley Irish. Eddie’s wife is of Irish descent.
The Fast One’s hatred of the Daley’s is rather simple. Overall they beat him at the game he thought he was so good at. Eddie never became Mayor, thank the Irish loving Almighty, and the man he mocks as a tongue tied moron is now leaving office after 22 years.
Fast Eddie always thought he was smarter and sneakier than everyone else. He was too smart and too damn sneaky for his own good.
- Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 15, 10 @ 3:04 pm:
Went back and reread the column by Kass. He does use the word “beholden.” That may put him a little further out on that issue than he ought to be. Unless he means “who else” are they going to support other than Dart?
Now I’m getting a headache (which I usually treat with a shot of Ouzo.)
kass(fed)hinsdale, is nice to the pols who help his friends & relatives, everyone else he throws into the mysterious “combine” without any facts. hopefully a new editor at trib will see some of their “writers” for what they are.
The combine goes even deeper than Moline and Deere, word. An earlier version of the combine was the reaper, invented by Cyrus McCormick. A relative of his started a Chicago newspaper and another member of the family has his name on a local school of journalism.
Oh, BTW, the name of that newspaper? You guessed it, Mother Tribune.
You’re right. Poorly worded on my part. But Sheean did maneuver his chief of staff Dart in by announcing his retirement the day of slating for Sheriff by the Cook County Central Committee. It was a brilliant preemptive strike. No one else even knew the office was going to be open until it was too late (at least for backing by the ward organizations).
Why are people slandering the good reputation of Mike Royko with comparisons to his pale apprentice? Royko was perceptive, funny, and sharp; Kass is a self-important bloviator as uninterested in facts as anyone in the Chicago media since Jay Mariotti left our fair city.
On a happier note, where can I donate to Ricky Hendon’s mayoral campaign? I want his ads on television yesterday.
Royko wrote some truly remarkable columns. I still re-read them, like the one where he is buying the Christmas tree from the old man up in the deep woods. I have to say that Kass has written some good ones, too, he is just too up and down quality-wise, and the Combine and DeLeo columns are almost always among his worst.
Rickey Hendon is the reason why Art Turner didn’t win the Lt. Governor Nominee and it was given to someone who didn;t even run.
Hendon will only hurt African American candidates.
Also, the article quoted is INACCURATE about Rev. Meeks — he NEVER ran for governor, though seriously contemplated it.
Had he run, he would have gotten a SIGNIFICANT number of votes (probably the best time for him to have run):
1) Social COnservatives (especially Republicans)
2) African - Americans
3) Downstaters (not a lot — but more than Gov. Rod…does not have at least some downstate respect due to his work in the senate)(certainly areas like East St. Louis & Rockford)
4) Independents would really like voting for omeone OTHER than a Democrat or Republican (votes which then drifted to Rich Whitney)
Meeks could have gotten between 15 to 28% had he actually ran…and with Whitney in the mix, it could have been enough to win.
The stuff on Kass was cathartic to read. I’ve loathed his faux Royko caricatures of complex local politics for years, and based on the reactions I’d get when I’d write about him, thought maybe I was alone in my reading of him.