Stroger Isn't Qualified For His Position

New details on old story

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cook County
    For some reason, Todd Stroger is a political power player in Chicago.

    Todd Stroger is lazy, directionless and not that bright.

    But then, we already knew that.

    Not to be mean, but Stroger runs one of the largest municipal units in America and, as such, he affects our pocketbooks, the health and welfare of Cook County's poor, and the budgets of the sheriff's office, the state's attorney's office, the circuit court clerk's office and a slew of other services.

    We get no satisfaction out of having a dimwitted county board president.

    But the truth must be faced. Again.

    This time it's coming from Chicago magazine, which takes a look in its new issue at how the curious political figure known as The Toddler got his job.

    The magazine confirms what we already knew, but in depressing detail: After the John Stroger campaign deceived the public about how bad he was suffering from a stroke shortly before Election Day, the 80 people who make up the Cook County Democratic Central Committee decided to replace the ailing elder Stroger with his son, Todd.

    The deal couldn't have happened, though, without the blessing of Mayor Richard M. Daley and state House Speaker Michael Madigan, nor the orchestration of then-Ald. Bill Beavers, who wound up with a county commission seat as part of the scheme. Barack Obama and Dick Durbin also signed on.

    So it's not all Todd's fault. He's always been a pushover. And someone else's tool.

    His father, for example, pushed him into politics after first getting him a job at an investment banking firm, according to Chicago mag.

    "I saw myself doing just about anything else," he told the magazine.

    He moved on to become a state representative when John Stroger had an opening in his organization. He was known in Springfield for being a goof-off. Madigan reportedly had to call his father at times to get Todd to show up for votes.

    When the 8th Ward aldermen's job opened up, "It was pretty much his father's decision" to have Todd fill the post, state Rep. Marlow Colvin said.

    And his "campaign" to become Cook County president was marked by ambivalence.

    Stroger insists to Chicago that he's running for re-election, but it's hard to understand why. He doesn't seem to have any particular desire for the job. Maybe he just can't think of anything else to do. Or just think for himself.

    But then, we already knew that.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.