If Richard M. Daley feels he needs protection from the enemies he made during his 22 years as mayor, he should use his $1.1 million in leftover campaign funds to hire a round-the-clock team of rent-a-cops from American Heritage Protection Services. You know, those guys with the phony badges.
If Daley has to pay for his own security, I think he’ll realize he doesn’t need any. Jane Byrne, a petite, elderly woman, has survived 28 years as an ex-mayor with no security force. Daley is a petite, elderly man, so he can do the same. Because now that he’s out of office, no one hates him anymore. The hardest thing for retired politicians to get used to is the fact that the world stops caring about them.
“It’s hard to let go of power, to voluntarily step aside,” former Gov. Jim Edgar told the Reader, when the paper asked ex-politicians to advise Daley on life after public office. “Life goes on without you, though it’s hard to believe it can. You’re not in the center anymore. People are not rushing to you to get your opinion. Your successor does things differently, and you take it personally.”
In the 29 months Gerald Ford was president, he endured two assassination attempts. In his 30 years as an ex-president, no one tried to kill him, although he was egged during an appearance at his alma mater, the University of Michigan.
Yet we paid for his Secret Service protection the entire time. Richard Nixon, one of the few politicians people continued to hate after he left office, relinquished his Secret Service protection in 1985 and paid for security out of his own pocket. Even then, nobody tried to kill Nixon. If rent-a-cops could protect Nixon, they can protect Daley.
During his term as mayor, Daley was a big advocate of privatization. He privatized the Skyway. He privatized parking meters. He tried to privatize the Taste of Chicago, Midway Airport, recycling and the water system. If privatization is good enough for his constituents, it should be good enough for Daley.
Rent-a-cops are cheaper than real cops. They couldn’t pass the police exam, so they don’t get public employee benefits, and they can’t retire on a pension after 20 years. But they can take a bullet just as well as a real cop.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available on Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!