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 āChicago-style politics,ā I’m gonna kick all his nephews off the park-district payroll.Ā Iām gonna send some precinct captains over to straighten him out. Mitt Romney and his surrogates donāt understand what Chicago-style politics means. No one seems to have told them that itās been gone for 25 years. And they donāt 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 recommendĀ BossĀ 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 didnāt depend on televised communication with a broader public. Ā 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 CounselĀ Abner J. Mikva, who described attempting to volunteer on a local campaign in the late 1940s.