Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Election Day in Chicago

It seemed appropriate to try to write a witty article about the Primary here in Illinois. But it seems to be a forgone conclusion that Illinois is a Barack Obama state - the results seem to be running 2 to 1 in our Senator's favor. There's not much to comment on - politically. I run with a diverse circle of friends. Dear friends with whom we dine regularly are absolutely convinced that as our next President, Mr. Obama would lean only marginally to the left of Richard Nixon. Of course, my in-laws in Minnesota - near North Dakota - believe that under President Obama the country will be headed in the direction of Socialism. Polite French Socialism, at least, rather than full blown Marxism. Odd, since they're so close to the border that we consider them Canadian.

No, the real races to watch are your die-hard Chicago and Cook County Democratic Party Machine races. Historically, here in Cook County, the Party Machine chooses the candidates who will run in the general election, and in the primaries, only one candidate appears on the ballot. A major hiccup in the machinations of the Machine stymied party officials and no clear anointed-one appeared. Witness, then, the race for the Democratic Nomination for Cook County State's attorney. Six different candidates are actually running a fair and balanced campaign to win the votes of Cook County residents - an unheard of possibility in elections past.

The races for Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk ran pretty much the way they always have. Candidates were pre-selected by party fathers based on loyalty and past performance. These don't sound like terribly glamorous positions, but beneath these posts are thousands of jobs just waiting to be filled by loyal campaign workers, family members and generous contributors.

If you don't believe me, just ask yourself why the Cook County Assessor, the Cook County Treasurer, and the Cook County Recorder all have separate offices along with their respective armies of bureaucrats toiling in living wage jobs with generous government health plans and retirement benefits.

Do I hear another quarter-point sales tax? Anyone?