Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Todd Stroger Set to Replace Dad? Not So Fast

Before we just hand this thing over to Todd Stroger, we need to remind ourselves that Fran Spielman doesn't get to pick John Stroger's replacement on the Democratic ticket, the Cook County Central Committeemen do. (Fran's shilling for Todd has been nothing short of breathtaking.)

Todd might be the frontrunner, but his ascension is by no means a done deal. No doubt, given the recent examples of Cook County nepotism, it's going to be hard for some committeeman to say no to Todd. However, I can think of at least five good reasons why Todd might not be able to pull this off. Here they are:

1) Bill Lipinski and Tom Hynes are still influential and they are indebted to the gods of nepotism, but they are no longer committeemen. Hynes will push hard for Todd behind-the-scenes, and will likely quarterback the entire Stroger effort, but he no longer carries the 19th Ward's weighted vote in his back pocket and will need an assist from Madigan or the Daleys. Hynes’ remaining influence among the committeemen was called into question when he failed to derail Tom Dart's slating as sheriff last Fall.

2) John Stroger is incapacitated and unable to broker the deal for Todd -- so who will work the smoke-filled room for Todd along with Tom Hynes? The African-American committeemen capable of rallying black support behind Todd (Bill Beavers, Ike Carothers, and Jesse White,) are all potential candidates to replace John Stroger themselves. Will their hearts be in it for Todd? Are Ed Burke, Mike Madigan, Dick Mell, or John Daley willing to twist their fellow committeemen’s arms purely based on a feeling of loyalty towards John Stroger – or will something else motivate them? (See below.) The central committee is filled with followers, Todd needs to get a few of the leaders on his side.

3) Most committeemen will have more to gain personally if a new Democratic board president is elected. If they kiss in Todd Stroger, there will be no turnover in the top, high-paying county jobs (and there are a ton of them.) A new board president – appointed by the committeemen – will bring in a new team and encourage the 8th Ward hacks to retire. Then the new guy will have to repay the committeemen by filling some of those newly opened positions with job seekers the committeemen recommend.

4) Electability is an issue with Todd Stroger. Like any Republican in Cook County, Peraica is a longshot...and his odds will get longer if he keeps fighting with his fellow Republicans. But running against Todd gives Peraica his best shot of actually winning. He will get to run against the Stroger record without actually running against John Stroger! Todd will have to run with all his dad's baggage and none of his political I.O.U.'s and good will. That probably won't be enough for Peraica, but with a well timed indictment or two he'll have a decent chance.

5) Finally, the committeemen who are inclined not to support Todd for board pres. have a fallback position: they can offer to slate Todd for Recorder of Deeds in 2008. As long as another African-American is chosen to fill the board president spot, the white committeemen can buy political cover on the nepotism-hypocrisy front by steering Todd into another countywide spot.


Anonymous,  5:43 PM  

Here is the black argument:

If it works for whites, why can't blacks do it as well.

Anonymous,  6:22 PM  

Eugene Moore is done
put a fork in him

Anonymous,  7:25 PM  

It might not work for blacks this time. Like Sammy points out in #3, John Stroger isn't healthy enough to pull the strings the way Daddys Hynes, Madigan, Mell, and Lipinski did.

Ignatius J. Reilly,  11:48 PM  

If history is prologue then what about this screenplay:

Peraica will loose but Daley will have to mobilize all of his imperial guards to ward off the insurgency in the provinces. All tolled, the campaign to defeat Peraica, retributions against Daleyites in the GOP, a softened populace, insubordination amongst elected appointees, internal squabbling and mounting loses from Fitzgerald's advances will prove to be insurmountable. In the end, a last stand defence by women, adolescent boys and old men will be overrun by opportunistic invasions of Hispanics and African Americans lead by 2 charismatic congressmen who will restore the republic. One from the north, the other from the south.

Anonymous,  7:40 AM  

good honest government at it's best

Pat Hickey 8:04 AM  

Danny Davis is being touted by the tin-foil hat progresive wing; picture the County Board burning incense to 'The Great Father - Rev. Moon.'

Skeeter 9:19 AM  

I would support Danny Davis over Todd Stroger any day. We win twice. We get Danny Davis out of Congress and we defeat Stroger.

The nepotism needs to stop now. It was bad enough when the family members all became judges. Now we have Bush, Hynes, Lipinksi . . . Lisa Madigan is an exception because she is a genuinely qualified candidate.

I will not vote for Todd Stoger for any office.

Merlin,  9:36 AM  

As much as everyone is railing against nepotism and Todd Stroger, I would suggest his slating would have less to do with his pedagree as with his politics. Madigan, Daley, Hynes, Lyons, Burke and all the other Irish powers know they have to appoint an African American and don't trust anyone else.

grand old partisan 10:05 AM  


Generally speaking, I agree with you. But I do take issue with is your lumping Bush in with Lipinski, when – by an objective measure – he belongs in the category with Madigan. YOU may think Lisa was “genuinely qualified” while W was not, for whatever reasons. But that’s just YOUR opinion. And that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion. More importantly, unlike Lipinski, everyone was entitled to voice their opinion on both W and Lisa, and choose between them and a very competitive primary challenger before their only other choice was the other party’s nominee.

Skeeter 12:28 PM  


Do you think that George W. Bush would stand a chance for election if he wasn't named George Bush?

My personal view of Lisa Madigan is that although the name (and connections associated) clearly helped, she is somebody with the skills and personality that would have made her a force even without the name. I definitely cannot say that for Stroger, Lipinksi or any of the second-generation Illinois judges.

"Lisa Smith" would have had a tougher time getting elected, but is could have been done. She has the personal charisma that would have put her on top even without the name.

"George Smith" would never have been elected Gov. of Texas and probably would be lucky to get elected to a Texas State House seat.

grand old partisan 1:37 PM  


You seem to be excusing the nepotism that assisted Madigan on the basis that – in your opinion - she was somehow more “qualified” for her post than the others. That seems like a distinction worth exploring, but we have to remember that there is no objective standard for any office, other than the age and residency or citizenship requirements outlined in the constitutions of the state and nation. Rather, whether or not someone is “qualified” for office is ultimately a subjective judgment call by the voters. If Democratic voters felt that Lisa Madigan (who - despite being admittedly very bright and ambitious - was barely 10 years out of law school and only served 4 years in elective office prior) was more “qualified” and deserving of being their candidate for the state’s chief legal officer than a person who’s long career included being #2 at the U.S. Justice Department under the last President from their party, then fine - that’s their call. Likewise, if Republican voters felt that George Bush (despite the many personal faults of his I’m sure you’d be more than happy to fill in here) was more “qualified” and thus more deserving to be the President than a seasoned Senate veteran and bono-fide war hero, then fine - that’s their call as well. You may disagree with them, stridently so. And you have every right to vocally do so. But my point is that – except in the case of unavoidable circumstances (death, etc) - it’s important for that a judgment call to be left up to the voters, not a ‘smoke-filled room’ of party operatives. In the case of both Madigan and Bush, it was. And thus, in the debate about more or less appropriate or acceptable examples of nepotism in politics, Bush is in the same category as Madigan, not Lipinski.

In regards to the questions you posed, the answer is: “I don’t know.” All I know is that there are plenty of politicians out there without famous names or families who I would consider unqualified and unsuitable for office as people, too. It’s a wonder how so many of them have risen to the top.

Skeeter 2:14 PM  


It looks like we are arguing over details that don't matter all that much.

The botton line remains that Todd Stroger will not get my vote in 2006.

The nepotism needs to stop now.

We also need to stop sending every semi-retired hack politician to the courts, but that is another matter completely.

grand old partisan 2:44 PM  

I can certainly agree to that, skeeter.

Anonymous,  5:59 PM  

Skeeter - You seem to forget that George W. Bush was elected Governor, and then elected President. Although I'm sure his father and his last name helped, he was appointed to either job by a bunch of corrupt politicians who only care about putting their families and friends in a fat, do-nothing, government job.

Anonymous,  6:00 PM  

oops, sorry. Meant to say he WAS NOT APPOINTED.

Skeeter 8:43 AM  


ALL of the people we are discussing were elected.

Todd Stroger will face the voters. So will Lipinksi. So will Hynes. So did Bush. Each of them wouldn't have a chance in hell with old dad though.

Anonymous,  11:51 AM  

Merlin at 9:36 is right. Also, don't forget what Todd holds over everyone. If he doesn't get his way (whether it's the Presidents job or another for him or Marlowe) he doesn't get his father to resign from the ballot. He holds all of the cards.

Skeeter 1:27 PM  

I agree with anon 11:51.

At risk of kicking somebody when they are down, I sure would not put it past Stroger to make the requirement of Todd or basically a vacant seat.

After all, Stroger allowed the County Hospital to be named after him, so the typical views of what is appropriate did not really seem to play a major role in Stroger's pre-stroke decisions.

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