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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Political Machines

April 5th, 2011

The Boss
We received some amazing feedback from a former Chicagoan regarding our missive which compared Gov. Scott Walker's corruption to some of the old time Chicago political hooligans.

This reader shared a perspective on the late 1960's Richard J. Daley Machine you don't hear too often these days. Heads up, life within it sounds pretty damn good.

"Ah good old Chicago. I remember when my husband and I moved into our first apartment in the city, and the local ward heeler turned up -- a dear little man named Harry Jacobsen as I recall -- just to let us know that if we needed a job or any help with city services or anything at all, he was there for us.

There was no bribery -- no quid pro quo -- no overt or implicit corruption: just the kind of "constituent service" designed to keep the voters loyal. What Walker and the Kochs are doing is shamelessly, openly corrupt, and their habit of deflecting it with their usual "we didn't do it, what about those wicked liberals" crap doesn't change the facts.

It's a simple little illustration of the Chicago of the late 1960s. All that's gone, now, of course, but for a few generations it's how most of our cities thrived. The book and movie The Last Hurrah touch on this a little bit, the Boston version -- Boss Curley ran the same kind of operation as Mayor Daley.

The corruption was never in the neighborhoods (though the same cannot be said for things like bank deals and construction projects) -- instead, the GOTV model was to make sure nobody went hungry or jobless, that streets were clean and safe, and that widows and orphans were tended to." EMPHASES OURS

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