Tuesday, December 1, 2009

West Wing Bling

"That's the Chicago Way...The rap is that his West Wing is dominated by brass-knuckled pols."

John F. Harris, "7 Stories Obama doesn't want told," Politico, Yahoo News, November 30, 2009

Just like the not-very-good mystery by Michael Harvey, The Chicago Way, this depiction of Chicago as brass-knuckled and all that draws more on its history of gangsterism and vice than political culture. Be careful of the imagery you choose.

The Chicago Machine in its heyday was more about control, discipline and cohesion than anything else. It married a top dog with legions of precinct workers. It was about jobs, the patronage surcharge, the business of the public sector and loyalty. Sure, enforcers delivered retribution for independence but rarely, if ever, were they deployed for goals like building a green economy or health care reform. Shutting down Meigs Field?

I'm not sure the West Wing folks would thrive in the Machine environment, no matter their self image. That's probably a good thing.


Anonymous said...

yes,West Wing people should adopt the machinery environment. It would be helpful to them.

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