Bill Daley, Illinois governor hopeful no longer, at a news conference this morning

Why did Bill Daley decide he didn’t want to run for governor after all? He didn’t have the “fire in the belly,” political strategist David Axelrod says.

I’m skeptical about this explanation. I’ve had fire in my belly, and public office isn’t what it’s made me want to run for.

I don’t know why Daley’s decided to pull out. I suspect Axelrod knows the real reason, and is diverting our attention with the ol’ fire-in-the-belly excuse. Not that a political strategist would ever dissemble.

In a videotaped interview yesterday with the Tribune‘s Rick Pearson, Daley complained that “So much of our system now has become strictly raising money, doing the politic thing all the time.”

I chuckled at the idea of a Daley lamenting how political the political system has gotten. He went on:

“We’ve got to change this system, change the mentality. You know, Shakespeare’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results.”

Doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results may not be wise, but it sounds pretty sane to me. Daley was botching a quote whose author is unknown, although it almost certainly wasn’t Shakespeare. Or maybe he was quoting renowned Bridgeport precinct captain Fast Eddie Shakespeare.

The Daleys have always been masters at turning a phrase, and it’s disappointing that we won’t get to hear Bill Daley turn more of them in the governor’s race. As Shakespeare said, parting is such sweet sugar.