Picture if you will, Pulitzer Prize winner, Mike Royko, and his lifelong pal, Slats Grobnik, sitting on adjacent stools in a netherworld bar, each drinking a bottle of beer. C’mon! You did’t think opinion columnists go to Heaven, did you? My ticket to perdition was punched a long time ago!
And I can hear that conversation now!
Slats: Didja hear?
Mike: Yep! (hoists the bottle and drinks)
Slats: Didja ever think you’d see the day?
Mike: We all get old Slats.
Slats: But we’re talkin’ about The Speaker, Mike. He don’t make mistakes.
Mike: First the MeToo stuff and now this? I think the old man’s slippin’.
Slats: But he’s all we got Mike! Fast Eddie’s goin’ back to the joint, Burke’s gonna be his cellmate, the real Daleys are gone – Billy don’t count, Rahm is done, and there’s more folks runnin’ for mayor than were at the UC for the last Bulls game.
Mike: (takes another swig of beer and orders another) All good things Slats. But ya gotta admit, it is kinda funny.
Slats: Not to me Mike. Not to me.
Mike: C’mon! 2,796 recisions when the kid only got 1,703 signatures? And only 187 of ‘em matched any actual petition name? That’s almost as funny as Bilandic driving a snowplow. When did you get so serious Slats?
Slats: This ain’t Chicagah Mike. This ain’t the city we knew and loved. Ward bosses don’t blow it like this. It’s a sad day for upstanding patronage workers everywhere Mike – a very sad day.
Mike: (takes a long drag from his cigarette) Lighten up my friend. The Speaker will be joining us soon enough and we’ll all have a beer and good laugh over it. Change is an inevitability Slats. Another Bud Light for my friend here!
Of course, Mike and Slats were discussing David Krupa, a DePaul freshman who had the temerity to run against 13th Ward Alderman, favored Madigan lackey, and generally useless human being Marty Quinn.
Marty’s claim to fame is running from the cameras so quickly that Usain Bolt gets jealous.
After Krupa turned in his nominating paperwork with 1,703 voter signatures, those wacky 13th Ward bosses countered with 2,796 signature recisions. Now, we all know dead people vote in Chicago, but who knew they signed revocation affidavits, too!
And only 187 of those recisions actually matched a signator’s name!
So, every pundit, journalist and talking head in northern Illinois is losing their minds over it and demanding the kind of investigation that’d put those 90s ghost payroller convictions to shame. Please remind me! Was there a member of the Laurino family who wasn’t convicted?
Rest in peace, Tony!
C’mon! This is nothing new. I’ve been trying to tell you it ain’t clout that keeps Darth Madigan in power, it’s The Speaker’s unparalleled ground game that created that Democratic supermajority. Yes! Illinois has some rather onerous election requirements, but they and their remedies are equally available to all candidates.
And it isn’t the first time he’s done it, either.
When political upstart, Michelle Piszczor, vied for The Speaker’s 22nd District seat in 2012, a team followed her door-to-door acquiring a recision for every voter signature she got. But Piszczor remained on the ballot because her campaign manager, John Reeves of Oswego, was smart enough to use her as decoy while other volunteers secured the real paperwork.
Another favorite Madigan tactic is to insert a couple of minions into the County Clerk’s office on that fateful final nominating paperwork submission day. Armed with a slew of completed candidate packets, if an Hispanic, Polish or black candidate has the cojones to challenge he or a friend, those fine machine folks quickly add another Hispanic, Polish or black challenger into the mix.
They simply split the vote and The Speaker doesn’t even have to break an electoral sweat. And it’s perfectly legal, too.
Did his ward bosses screw up this time? You bet they did! But, despite what the media is trying to tell us, they didn’t break the law. Ah! But the frightened folks who rescinded their autographs from a document they didn’t sign did break the law. That’s what’s known in legal circles as committing perjury.
But if anyone thinks Ms. Foxx is going to prosecute 2,609 separate 13th Ward residents, then you’ve been drinking out of the Chicago River again. Some notaries could be in trouble, and if anyone resorted to forgery, they might wanna lawyer up, but The Speaker is good as gold.
His pride may have taken a hit, but I’m sure he’ll soon recover.
The irony of course is, they should’ve listened to Royko when he said his biggest regret was “peeling a grape with an ax.” Candidate Krupa couldn’t win a seat on the DePaul student council, much less muscle his way into that exclusive Chicago aldermen’s club.
But as a result of this fiasco, Krupa’s received the kind of press coverage that would generally cost him millions, and that’s just the kind of thing could send Quinn right back into his mother’s basement.
But, in an even greater irony, that very same media explosion uncovered a photograph of Krupa standing in front of a Chicago polling place waving a huge Trump flag and carrying a “Hillary for Prison 2016” sign. And no one in the eminently Democratic 13th is ever gonna go for that.
So, in the end, he’s toast anyway! Ah well! At least Krupa turned out to be every bit as entertaining as all the Chicago aldermen we’ve come to know and somewhat love.
So, Slats and Mike, fear not! In the words of that great philosopher Bob Seger, The City That Works is “still the same!” Ubi Est Mea, right Mike?