* If you read this 2009 interview of House Speaker Michael Madigan regarding the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, you’ll see that Madigan did a long stint as an eager and unquestioning foot soldier before rising to power in his own right…
[Daley] was the commander. He would give his orders and give his directions. And this is an important point with me—It’s because there was a group of people like myself, about the same age, that came in as ward committeemen in the early seventies. There was Alderman Burke, Ed Vrdolyak, Tom Hynes, Congressman Lipinski, Alderman Mel, and Ed Kelly. This was the group there that came along at about the same time, and if they were being honest with you, they would tell you that they would have trouble living under his methods.
So they were duly elected to whatever office they held. After a while, they would think, “Well, I ought to be part of the decision-making.” So they would be troubled by that. They would struggle with that. There would be complaints when he would make a decision and they didn’t like it. But with me, I had no trouble with that at all. That was because, to me, the mayor was just a carbon copy of my father. So I’m the only son. I have a sister. There were two children in our family. My father was very strong-willed. He was not inclined to change his opinions on things
I got a call to come over and see [Daley] at city hall. We sat down, and he started into a negative conversation about [Gov. Dan Walker]. He said, “He did this wrong. He did that wrong. We’ve got to take that guy out of the governor’s office.” So I listened for a while. Then finally, I just said, “Mr. Mayor, you don’t have to convince me. I’m part of your team. If you want to be against this guy, fine. Sign me up. I’m ready.”
And so, in that election, in this ward, we defeated Walker sixteen thousand to eight thousand—two-to-one. So there are two points—There was his political genius in organizing that effort against Walker, and then there was my relationship where I was not going to disagree with him. Every once in a while, he’d ask for my opinion and I’d give him my opinion. But I was not going to make a cause out of it. I was very happy to be there.
He was just “happy to be there.” Very telling.