Daleys Divorce Stroger

Atta boy, Todd! You've torn asunder a valuable political alliance

Of all the stupid things Todd Stroger has done as Cook County board president, the stupidest -- from a political point of view -- must be his failure to tend to his family's relationship with the Daleys.

Once a political marriage of great mutual benefit, the alliance is now dead.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! 

And considering the way Mayor Daley holds a grudge, there is no going back; not after Stroger called out the mayor's handling of the city's finances in the New York Times earlier this month and chastised him for not having his back the way he did in the early days of his tenure.

Stroger, though, proved to be in over his head. So the Daleys turned on him.

And that's "Daleys" plural. Any county board president has to deal with the peculiar dynamic of mayoral brother John Daley being the board's clouty finance committee chairman. The Daleys run the show - or at least try to. They don't like to see the Tony Coles of the world mucking things up.

"At some point John Daley became convinced that Stroger was, what shall I say, incompetent," former alderman and current University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor Dick Simpson told the Sun-Times.

The split is evident in a study Simpson is releasing today showing that John Daley has voted with Stroger on only half of 14 votes since 2007 - a sharp departure from Daley's earlier, more steadfast support of Stroger.

John Daley told the Sun-Times that he talked with Todd Stroger's father, John, every day when John was the county board president. Not so much with Todd.

Now, splitting with the Daleys is a fine idea if you are bent on reform. But if you are a go-along to get-along hack, it's a terrible idea.

And now Todd Stroger is paying the price.

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

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