- AP Photos
- Former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne passed away on Friday at age 80.
Jane Byrne ran for mayor in 1979 against the “cabal” that controlled Chicago. She won, and maybe she’d have taken on that cabal—if she’d had an actual movement behind her, with its own bloc of aldermen and sharp wheeler-dealers whose biggest beef against City Hall was that it had frozen them out of the action. The Byrne insurgency was cosmetic; the Washington insurgency four years later drilled into bone.
The Eddies, Vrdolyak and Burke, were waiting for Byrne when she showed up on the Fifth Floor, and if she’d vilified them on the campaign trail, so what? They reeled her in. It’s what happens when what you stand for is vast and who you stand with is trivial. Bruce Rauner ran for governor against Mike Madigan and John Cullerton and their “cronies.” He won, but they’re waiting for him.
So we’ll see.