--- by Howie Klein
I grew up with a cast of bipartisan political enemies handed to me by my grandfather. Although many were Republicans, back then just as many were conservative Democrats, overwhelmingly southern Dixiecrats who ALL became Republicans or died before they got around to switching. But there were some really bad northern Democrats too and one of the worst of all was Mayor Daley. And for people of my generation, Mayor Daley, meant Richard J. Daley, Chicago's mayor for 21 years and a powerhouse in the Democratic Party, a powerhouse always on the wrong side of history. He was the posterchild for political corruption, though he always personally managed to escape formal charges. He was also an unrepentant bigot and authoritarian. During the infamous Democratic Convention in 1968-- which resulted in the election of Richard Nixon, Daley presided over a police riot and screamed "Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch" at Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff when he referred to Daley's Gestapo tactics.
Daley's oldest son, Richard M. Daley, elected in 1989, is the only man in history to have served as Chicago's mayor longer than his father. The traditionally Republican downtown interests support him despite his party. He's every bit a Conservative Consensus kind of guy. He's retiring now and making way for someone every bit as ruthless and corrupt as the Daleys, Rahm Emanuel, another Conservative Consensus dedicated follower of cash flows.
Richard J.'s youngest son, William M. Daley, was Clinton's second-term Commerce Secretary, a usually shady position reserved for shady characters whose main function is to fill party coffers. In 2004 he was made Midwest Chairman of J.P. Morgan, long one of Wall Street's most criminal enterprises. Yesterday it came to light that Obama is likely to appoint William M. chief-of-staff, keeping the whole Chicago political Mafia thing very much intact. In fact, Daley and Emanuel worked together to strong-arm Democrats in Congress who opposed NAFTA, which Big Business was demanding and which Clinton promised he would deliver.
This Daley is widely credited with being Rahm's mentor. In late 2009, when far right Dixiecrat Parker Griffith jumped the fence and officially joined the GOP, Daley penned an OpEd for the Washington Post defending Blue Dogism and Emanuel's anti-progressive jihad as former head of the DCCC. And he celebrated "a diversity of views even on tough issues such as abortion, gun rights and the role of government in the economy." He was a bastion of the Conservative Consensus which had come to power with Obama:
On the one hand, centrist Democrats are being vilified by left-wing bloggers, pundits and partisan news outlets for not being sufficiently liberal, "true" Democrats. On the other, Republicans are pounding them for their association with a party that seems to be advancing an agenda far to the left of most voters.
...All that is required for the Democratic Party to recover its political footing is to acknowledge that the agenda of the party's most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans -- and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan.
For liberals to accept that inescapable reality is not to concede permanent defeat. Rather, let them take it as a sign that they must continue the hard work of slowly and steadily persuading their fellow citizens to embrace their perspective. In the meantime, liberals-- and, indeed, all of us-- should have the humility to recognize that there is no monopoly on good ideas, as well as the long-term perspective to know that intraparty warfare will only relegate the Democrats to minority status, which would be disastrous for the very constituents they seek to represent.
In his editorial, Daley got it all wrong. Voters rejected what he calls "moderate Democrats" but what are clearly conservatives who reflexively vote against the interests of working families and with the Republicans to back the Big Business status quo-- his own brand of Conservative Consensus Democrat. The Blue Dogs were decimated in November-- over half their anti-family Caucus was defeated (the explanation for what looked like a rejection of the Democratic Party). Disillusioned, disappointed, unmotivated Democrats just did not show up at the polls and dozens of Daley's and Rahm's misnamed "moderates" were swept out of office. With Daley as his chief of staff, a similar fate could be in store for Obama in 2012 and, much worse, for more congressional Democrats. Daley's clearly and unambiguously a Wall Street shill (the way Rahm is) and he's on the take. His advice to Obama will always be wrongheaded and will lead to more anti-family GOP policies (from NAFTA-like trade policies to the dismantling of Social Security) not just gaining traction and enactment but being blamed-- rightfully-- on Democrats.
Did you ever imagine Obama could find a worse chief of staff than Emanuel? I had faith in him that he could do it, although I never imagined it would be as grotesque as Daley. I'm guessing the guys and gals at OpenSecrets, which keeps tabs on all the sleaze-- and has all the Daley stats-- wasn't in the least bit surprised.
UPDATE: The Plot Thickens
Supposedly, at least according to Howard Fineman, the White House is also considering Acting Chief of Staff Pete Rouse, ethically-suspect Tom Daschle, and former DLC Chair, former Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Sounds like Daley has it sewn up. Sam Stein broke the story today that Daley has publicly opposed healthcare reform and that he "was not exactly enamored with a new consumer financial protection agency, a key element of the plan and one of the president's most cherished provisions, going so far as to lobby White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to drop the idea."