Saturday, July 8, 2006
Personal Asides: Somebody Tell Me What Bush Sees in Daley?
Thats right: I wish somebody would fill me in. Undeniably the mayor has ordered the beautification of the citybut at a cost that enriches his personal army of supporters. The idea that a patronage army is required to govern effectively is ridiculous. Im been guilty of propagating that mistaken view in my early, formative years (during my 40s and 50s). Why, the very state I served as a top aide to a governor, Minnesota, has been governed very effectively through echelons of Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor governors with only a relatively tiny crew of policy appointees, the remainder civil servants. This nation gets along very well and presidents are enabled to push their programs effectively with 1,300 or so political appointees (of which I was one) and 3 million civil servants.
Yet the idea has gained currency in the city that only political favoritism can enable this city to run effectively: thats because since Anton Cermak the view has triumphed over logic that only this city can be run by feudalistic measures. To an extent both Daleys have been the beneficiaries of a large-scale hoodwink to that effect. Its nonsense. We can have every bit as effective a municipal government as mythology maintains Daley has given us with probably only 150 employees who are designated as political because of their policy involvement. Ridding Chicago of the fat patronage system and supplanting it with a clean civil service should be the main agenda for reformers. And I dont mean a civil service that should be prostituted by political employees who serve political ends with a wink and a shrug. As a matter of fact, a very left-leaning civil service in New York City was overcome by a determined mayor named Rudy Giuliani and a handful of political employees who enforced his will on a shapeless mass.
Why in the world this president, whom I very much admire because of his willingness to hold firm positions on an array of issues against an overwhelming tide of liberal media current why this president should believe that Richard M. Daley is the best mayor in the nation why this president should behave like a lovesick calf or mooning schoolboy about Daley is the biggest unsolved mystery about himone, evidently, that the media have not pursued or he is unable to answer. Perhaps its something about presidents. Richard Nixon, who pathologically envied so much about the Kennedys and the Democrats, behaved like a tongue-tied suitor concerning John Connally who had been shot with JFK, even to the extent of thinking of putting him on the national ticket and pushing him for president. At least Bush isnt that moonstruck about Daleybut hes pretty bad.
Does the president realize that on the very day he dined with Daley, his top United States Attorney had served indictments on two of the mayors patronage people while issuing warnings to stay tuned? Aside from the urgent need to improve the tone of government here, what in the world does Bush think Daley has done for Bush? Daley collaborated with Illinois all-time worst governor, George Ryan, to carry Illinois for Al Gore in 2000. Nothing he did in 2004 could be remotely seen as friendly to Bush. If anyone who reads this Blog has the faintest idea of what has prompted this, so far as I can see, unrequited love affair, please let me know.