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 âChicago-style politics,â I’m gonna kick all his nephews off the park-district payroll.Â Iâm gonna send some precinct captains over to straighten him out. Mitt Romney and his surrogates donât understand what Chicago-style politics means. No one seems to have told them that itâs been gone for 25 years. And they donât 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 didnât 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.