What’s in a name?
Plenty, if you live in Chicago. We are a dynastic political city where fathers to sons, dads to daughters, hand off, generation by generation, not just a name. But an expectation.
Mayor Richard J. Daley paved the way for Richard M. to follow. And for John to be a Cook County Commissioner. And Bill to work in the Cabinet and the White House.
Before Ed Burke was alderman of the 14th Ward, his father was.
House Speaker Michael Madigan carved a path for daughter Lisa to become a state senator, now attorney general.
When Cook County Board President John Stroger fell ill, who replaced him? His son Todd, whom he’d installed in the Illinois Legislature and then the Chicago City Council.
There are the Lipinskis. Bill, the alderman-turned-Congressman, engineered the appointment of Dan, the son, to take his seat.
Before the Lipinskis came the Rostenkowskis. Dad, the alderman, led the way for Dan to win chairmanship of the U.S. House’s Committee on Ways and Means.
But political legacies don’t come with a lifetime guarantee that good luck — or good judgment — will follow. Danny Rostenkowski learned that late in his storied career.
As did his successor in Congress.
Rod Blagojevich, who married the 33rd ward boss’ daughter, rose from Rostenkowski’s old seat to the governor’s mansion only to live in a Colorado correctional institution now.
Which takes us to the Jacksons.