The PJ Tatler


In the Weekly Standard, Joseph Epstein has a piece on Chicago politics and the race for the mayor’s slot that’s well worth reading. Here’s a sample:

In Chicago elections one’s antipathies are always nicely divided. The division is usually between idealistic incompetence and corrupt quasi-competence. Corrupt quasi-competence, the way of the Daley dynasty, père et fils, for better and worse generally wins the day. The result has been that the city kept humming along, with all its messiness pushed under an ample carpet: horrible public schools, heavy debt, lots of street-gang murder in slum neighborhoods to go around. But beautiful trees were planted everywhere, and the snow got shoveled off the main thoroughfares. Chicago, the city that works​—​that is, if you don’t look too closely.

For a brief patch, 1983-87, Chicago voters went for idealistic incompetence, and elected a black mayor, Harold Washington, who died in office. It wasn’t, I think it fair to say, quite worth it. This was the period in Chicago known as the Council Wars, in which the 50 aldermen of the City Council, a group that makes Ali Baba’s 40 thieves look like l’Académie française , was divided down the line between black and white, with ugly racial feeling right out in the open. Like an unsuccessful movie, the Council Wars left no one to root for…