Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Uncle John

Stroger. The name that has owned Cook County government since 1994 has been besmirched by years of corruption and fiscal mismanagement, not to mention the revolt of the two board members opposing him in the primary: Forrest Claypool and Mike Quigley, whom Mr. Stroger has characterized as politically motivated people who are "ambitious and who want to try to go ahead." (Stroger has also had a falling out with fellow African American commissioner Earlean Collins.)

Cook County Board president John Stroger now claims to be an acolyte of Harold Washington's, but he once ran against him. Stroger has continually prostituted himself out to the white establishment(i.e. Daley) to gain their votes and now says that he would "enthusiastically endorse" a Dart candidacy for Sheriff. Stroger has continually delievered by Daley from his post as 8th ward Democratic committeeman. The seventy six year old county board president has been on the city's payroll since he was "special attorney to the general attorney of the park district."

Stroger is an ineffective and often paranoid leader who is convinced that his members are continually conniving against them, which, after the elections of Quigley et. al., may not entirely be inaccurate, as the board has long ceased to be a rubber stamp for the president's desires. Seemingly uncomfortable with the way democracy works, Stroger has repeatedly remarked on the relative acquiescence Mayor Daley gets from the City Council and the fact that both Daley's and the governor's dubious fiscal practices have not garnered as much notoriety as his own, going so far as to say that the Mayor had "increase[d] every fee you could think of." (Even the mayor, however, gave a chilly welcome to some of Stroger's fiscal exigencies.)

Conventional wisdom dictates that Quigley and Claypool-in the ultimate manifestation of "divide and conquer"-will split the reform vote and cede the primary to Stroger who will, in turn, defeat Peraica in the general election. However, even with the mayor's support, victory for Stroger is all but assured. As Quigley put it, "The revolution has begun."


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