What is it about Chicago—or at least a certain slice of Chicago voters and media outlets—that treats disgraced or rebuked former politicians with the respect they don't deserve?
Exhibit A: Todd Stroger. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Stroger, who lost a re-election bid for Cook County Board president in 2010, plans to run again for Cook County Board. He’s eyeing the seat former commissioner Bill Beavers was forced to vacate after being convicted of failing to pay taxes on campaign money.
What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, for starters, he was only Board president because he replaced his father after one of the more audacious backroom deals in Chicago political history. In fact, his entire political career was the result of backroom deals by Democratic Party power brokers. Worse, his presidency of the Cook County Board was marked by waste, mismanagement, patronage and corruption.
Oh, and his last election one of the most embarrassing political defeats in recent memory.
You know—all the right reasons to ask voters for another chance.
Even after a career like that, all he has to do apparently is get the idea in his head, reach out to a few Democratic Party committeemen, make an announcement to a college class he’s thinking of running, and blamo! He’s back in he game.
Forgive me, but I still like to think politics—even in Chicago and Cook County—can be a noble profession where competent civil servants devote their time and energy to helping the people they’re elected to serve.
But in Chicago, all too often politics is instead seen as a repository of the incompetent, greedy and entitled, especially by those who have worked the system to their advantage year after year.
Need an example?
Just look at Exhibit A.