December 20, 1976: Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago Dies

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Delicious
Share on digg
Digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

 

If a man ever reflected a city, it was Richard J. Daley of Chicago. In some ways he was this town at its best — strong, hard-driving, working feverishly, pushing, building, driven by ambitions so big they seemed Texas-boastful… Daley was a product of the neighborhoods and he reflected it in many good ways — loyalty to the family, neighbors, old buddies, the corner grocer… But there are other sides to Chicago neighborhoods — suspicion of outsiders, intolerance toward the unconventional, bigotry and bullying. That was Daley, too. As he proved over and over again, he didn’t trust outsiders, whether they were long-hairs against the war, black preachers against segregation, reformers against his Machine, or community groups against his policies. This was his neighborhood-ward-city-county, and nobody would come in and make noise.

Mike Royko on the death of Richard J. Daley

 

Growing up in Central Illinois I was none too fond of Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago.  An old-time machine politician, he was elected Mayor of the Windy City in 1955, two years before my birth.   I regarded him as a crook and a vote stealer and I loved Mike Royko’s columns in the Chicago Tribune regularly lambasting him.  I was therefore somewhat shocked after he died on December 20, 1976, as I was finishing the first semester of my sophomore year at the U of I, to read Royko’s tribute to Daley.  As the above excerpt indicates, it was not a blind tribute, but it captured the man and his time:

Sometimes the very same Daley performance would be seen as both outrageous and heroic. It depended on whom you asked for an opinion.

For example, when he stood on the Democratic National Convention floor in 1968 and mouthed furious crudities at smooth Abe Ribicoff, tens of millions of TV viewers were shocked.

But it didn’t offend most Chicagoans. That’s part of the Chicago style—belly to belly, scowl to scowl, and may the toughest or loudest man win.

Daley was not an articulate man, Saul Bellow notwithstanding. Maybe it’s because so many of us aren’t that far removed from parents and grandparents who knew only bits and pieces of the language.

So when Daley slid sideways into a sentence, or didn’t exit from the same paragraph he entered, it amused us. But it didn’t sound that different than the way most of us talk.

Besides, he got his point across, one way or another, and usually in Chicago style…

With Daley’s passing, the old time urban political machines of the Democrat party were also passing into history.  They have been replaced by identity politics, leftism and the rise of politicians who usually have not an ounce of authenticity to them.

In retrospect I think that was what Royko was mourning.  The rough hewn Daley, with his tangled syntax and often refreshing bluntness, was being replaced by glib, cookie-cutter politicians, with no particular love for either the voters who elect them, or the places they purport to represent.  I still wish that Daley I had seen the inside of a prison, but I reluctantly have to admit, 42 years later, that Royko was right.

More to explorer

Bail and Murder

A movement popular on the Left is to pay the bail of people accused of crime.  They do this without knowing a

ANZAC DAY 1919

  Today is Anzac Day, in Australia and New Zealand.   It commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at

Saint of the Day Quote: Saint Mark

Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the

4 Comments

  1. Mayor Daley was lackadaisical while other people did things that were unlawful, and that was indubitably policy Not sure he ever did anything himself that would be an indictable crime. He lived in the same house from 1939 until his death (there were some additions in the rear as he and his wife had more children) and supposedly traveled abroad with his wife just once. His wife wasn’t often interviewed or quoted, but she did say once they could never be at home in an official residence, so remained in the house they’d always had. His security detail was light – just one police officer guarded his home and another drove him to work. Their one extravagance was that they bought a second home in their old age (Daley was 62 at the time). In context, that house was expensive, so maybe he was on the take to pay for it.

  2. Great comments, Art and Mr. M!

    I wish I had seen this post earlier as it relates well to the ‘Shout your slave’ string. How? ….Just that it touches on an old-school pro-life Democrat who was pro-life at a time when some of our Republican heroes like Nixon and GHW Bush and Goldwater and even Reagan were anything but.

    It was Nixon who appointed the Rockefeller commission (!!!) fretting overpopulation. Yes he was scared of that. He only rejected its abortion recommendation because Pat Buchanan advised him he might need to woo Catholic voters for the 1972 election. Even Nixon’s tepid, newly-minted, pro-life support constituted a total reversal of his Administration’s policy towards abortion, since earlier it had –by fiat- made abortions available at military hospitals REGARDLESS of local laws to the contrary.

    I’m sorry, Mr. McClarey, in retrospect, the pro-life pirouettes made by Presidents’ Nixon and Bush seem a little cynical. Viewed from the cui-bono angle, it has been to Republican politicians’ advantage to keep abortion legal just so they can have it as an issue to keep Catholics (and now Evangelicals as well) from bolting the party.

  3. “I’m sorry, Mr. McClarey, in retrospect, the pro-life pirouettes made by Presidents’ Nixon and Bush seem a little cynical. Viewed from the cui-bono angle, it has been to Republican politicians’ advantage to keep abortion legal just so they can have it as an issue to keep Catholics (and now Evangelicals as well) from bolting the party.”

    Rubbish on stilts. But for the Democrat Party Roe would long ago have been but an obscene memory. Ted Kennedy led the fight against Judge Bork, and if Bork had been on the Court Roe would have been overturned more than a quarter century ago. The strong support of most of the GOP elected officials against abortion is remarkable considering the cultural forces in academia and entertainment in lockstep support of abortion. That the Republicans also draw fire from idiot pro-lifers who can’t distinguish friends from foes is truly pathetic. Peddle your rubbish elsewhere Kneeling Catholic, you are banned from this blog.

  4. That the Republicans also draw fire from idiot pro-lifers who can’t distinguish friends from foes is truly pathetic. Peddle your rubbish elsewhere Kneeling Catholic, you are banned from this blog.

    Ouch

    They can distinguish. They just don’t have the same foes you do.

    There’s a bloc of Catholic communicants (nearly all over 60 at this point) whose axiom about civic life is that the Democratic Party is the repository of all that’s good and the Republicans are the party of the hated Blueblood. Their commentary on this crucial issue consists of a flurry of evasion and fusillades of recrimination. I’ve long harbored the suspicion that they’re everywhere in the Church-o-cracy but thin on the ground in most parishes. (Andrew Greeley was a hyper-partisan Democrat, but he’s not an echt example of the type because he never pretended to give a rip about the abortion license).

    The behavior of the appellate judges appointed by Republican presidents is a strong indicator that the culture of the legal profession and of the professional-managerial class generally is badly corrupted. One of the distressing features of the age has been that sense and decency are (with some curlicues) inversely correlated with education.

Comments are closed.