During the presidential campaign there was all sorts of talk about Barack Obama bringing tough, Mayor Daley-style Chicago politics to the White House.
So far that hasn’t been the case. In last week’s stimulus bill, for instance, all seven Republican congressman from Illinois voted against the president, even though he all but begged for their support.
Most surprising was Congressman Mark Kirk, who represents such heavily Democratic areas as Waukegan and North Chicago. His district is in Lake County, which Obama carried with about 60 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Congressman Aaron Schock of Peoria also voted no, even though Obama courted him by taking him aboard Air Force One for a flight to Illinois. Schock’s 18th District also went for Obama–he carried Peoria County with about 57 percent of the vote. Schock’s predecessor, Ray LaHood, is now Obama’s transportation secretary.
If Obama were really like our mayor, he’d go off on Kirk and Schock the way Daley went off on Robert Fioretti when the rookie Second Ward alderman didn’t support the mayor’s CTA tax. Fioretti’s been a fairly loyal mayoral vote ever since.
I’m curious what would happen if President Obama stopped playing nice and started reminding voters in these districts that their congressmen are working against their interests–or if he used an old Chicago maneuver and simply cut them off from the stimulus funds.
If the Republicans started whining about bullying tactics, Obama could always remind them that he learned it all from Mayor Daley–and that the Daleys (son and father) are the kind of big-city Democrats that Republicans, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, love to love.