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Election Coverage And Chicago History

November 13, 2008

This Time magazine piece by Amy Sullivan does a nice job of mixing the past with the present in terms of Chicago’s political history. Sullivan makes some intriguing and telling observations:

1. [Rahm] Emanuel, a Chicago native, is a typically colorful figure, known for once mailing a rotting fish to a political opponent and for a post-election dinner in 1992 at which he repeatedly stabbed a steak knife into a table as he yelled out the names of those he considered President Bill Clinton’s enemies.

Now that’s rough-and-tumble politics! But I hope that means he’ll be a “fierce compromiser/pragmatist” in the coming years.

2. These days Chicago is known for blending working-class kitsch — Da Bears and the Cubbies — with cosmopolitan shopping and restaurants on Michigan Avenue. Its graceful mix of cutting-edge, environmentally conscious modern architecture and classic parks and buildings has actually given it a reputation as a model of a 21st-century metropolis, which the city is hoping to use to help land the 2016 Summer Olympics.

I’m partisan, but this is true to me.

3. The description “old Chicago pol” conjures a stout machine boss wearing a porkpie hat and chomping on a stogie — not a whip-thin black guy trying to quit smoking.

That occurred to me a number of times in the last month before the election.

4. Politicians from Chicago can be just as liberal as those from New York, New England and California, but they come from the much-fetishized heartland, which makes attacks on them a tougher sell to swing voters.

Could it also be the case that they actually ~are~ more moderate than those from other areas?

5. Of course, Chicago roots aren’t always enough for a candidate, as Adlai Stevenson proved twice.

Aside: I’d like for all of America to know that Stevenson was, coincidentally, the last time before Obama that my home state of Missouri didn’t vote for our president.

But, on Sullivan’s piece overall, good stuff. – TL

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