It looks like the Hipkins Standard is spreading…or perhaps Chicago politics has spread to the Labour party:
If I hear one more person accuse the Obama campaign of practicing â€śChicago-style politics,â€ť I’m gonna kick all his nephews off the park-district payroll.Â Iâ€™m gonna send some precinct captains over to straighten him out. Mitt Romney and his surrogates donâ€™t understand what Chicago-style politics means. No one seems to have told them that itâ€™s been gone for 25 years. And they donâ€™t get that Barack Obama, in his Chicago days, never had anything to do with it.
Chicago-style politics, in common parlance, refers to the 1950s-1970s era of the Richard J. Daley machine. If you want to read a great, short book about that world, I recommendÂ BossÂ by Mike Royko. The strength and durability of the Daley machine was its ethnically based patronage network, a complex system of obligations, benefits, and loyalties that didnâ€™t depend on televised communication with a broader public. Â It was a noncompetitive system that in its heyday had a lock on urban power and the spoils that went with it. One of the most memorable phrases from that era comes from a story often told by former White House CounselÂ Abner J. Mikva, who described attempting to volunteer on a local campaign in the late 1940s.