Saturday, March 31, 2012

From the Marathon Pundit archives: Adlai Stevenson III and Parky Cullerton

Illinois is a land of political dynasties--at least among Democrats. Chicago has had two Carter Harrisons and two Richard Daleys serve as mayor.

Michael Madigan is not only the speaker of the Illinois House, he's the chairman of the state Democratic Party. His daughter is Illinois' attorney general. Rod Blagojevich is the son-in-law of Chicago alderman Dick Mell. His daughter is a member of the House that Madigan runs.

My state senator is Ira Silverstein, his wife is a Chicago alderman.

What a state...

I could go on and on but let's move on to the photograph posted here.


On Friday Little Marathon Pundit and I visited my mother and we went through some old photographs that belonged to my late father. Pictured are members of two Illinois dynasties, Adlai Stevenson III (right) and Patrick J. Cullerton, usually called P.J. or Parky.

Cullerton was the longtime Cook County Assessor in 1970 when this photograph was taken, my father--then a Democrat--was a paid staffer for his successful reelection campaign that year. He even drove around in a campaign station wagon with Cullerton's Roman columns logo--the two 'Ls' in his name came in handy. I got to ride in the Cullertonmobile a few times.

Since 1871, when Edward Cullerton was elected Chicago's 6th Ward alderman, there has almost always been a member of the family serving as a public official in Illinois--usually in Chicago's City Council. Parky's grand-nephew, Tim Cullerton, is the current alderman of the 38th Ward--a job Tim's father once held, as did Parky.

As for the street sign, there is a Cullerton Street in Chicago--it honors Edward. My father called a city office to get reproductions for this event.

Illinois' Senate president is John Cullerton, although he's from a different branch of the clan.

Parky was known for silence and amassing wealth as a modestly-paid public servant. The assessor's office is in charge of calculating county property tax rates--and real estate magnates would seek Parky's blessing--with the goal of receiving a favorable assessment. Although he was never formally accused of wrongdoing, three years after this photograph was taken a bribery scandal swept through assessor's office--resulting in 18 convictions. Parky retired the following year.

But Cullerton did talk a little. Another one of his nicknames was "Hi Keed."

Also running for office in 1970 was Stevenson, who was then serving as state treasurer. US Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, the longtime leader of the GOP caucus in the upper chamber, died the year prior; Ralph Tyler Smith was appointed to replace him and was the GOP nominee to fill the remainder of Dirksen's term. Stevenson gained the Democratic nod and trounced Smith, despite the presence of a 19 year-old Utah college student, Karl Rove, on his staff.

Stevenson's father was Adlai Stevenson II, the Democratic nominee for president in 1952 and 1956--Dwight D. Eisenhower crushed him both times. He was also a one-term Illinois governor as well as ambassador to the United Nations during the Cuban missile crisis. That Adlai's grandfather was another Adlai Stevenson, who was Grover Cleveland's second vice president.

Like his father, Adlai III had a reputation as an intellectual. No one ever accused Parky Cullerton of being one. Stevenson won reelection in 1974. He declined to run in 1980 for a third term. Adlai nearly won the governor's office in 1982 in a race against incumbent Republican Jim Thompson; four years later he was once again the Democratic nominee but was paired with a running mate who was a Lyndon LaRouche wacko, which compelled Stevenson to form the Illinois Solidarity Party for the general election. That embarrassment--and straight-ticket Democratic voters who didn't know any better--led to another defeat for Stevenson at the hands of Thompson--although by a much larger margin.

Stevenson is still alive, but Parky left us in 1981.

Back to the picture--it was taken in the old Bismarck Hotel's Walnut Room, I worked at the hotel in the late 1980s.

Related post:

Steve Goodman: Daley's Gone

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XTC: Love On A Farmboy's Wages

Sometimes I'm not sure what song to include for my Saturday Musical Selection. On such days, I'll often fall back on one of my favorite bands, XTC.

"Love On A Farmboy's Wages" from 1983's Mummer album--the record was released in the United States in 1984--is a representative track from that effort. Relying heavily on acoustic instruments, the band's American label, Epic, didn't known what to do with it, so Geffen picked up the band and stayed with them until their break-up around ten years ago.

Although XTC was never a chart topping band, Mummer was among the lads from Swindon's poorest sellers. Which is too bad for the people who haven't heard it. That's why I post such videos.


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AFL-CIO's endorsement of Obama is payback

As today is the last day of the first quarter of 2012, my email box is filling up with requests from candidates of both parties asking for contributions to their campaign funds--they want to report on healthy bank accounts next month.

So it's timely that I refer to an Investors Business Daily article about the AFL-CIO's endorsement of President Obama.
This month the AFL-CIO "enthusiastically" endorsed Obama's re-election bid. No surprise there. No previous president has created anywhere near as large wealth transfers to unions.

Obama's $825 billion stimulus package targeted union jobs. Then there was the $26 billion Public Sector Jobs Bill of 2010. And the Disaster Relief and the Summer Jobs Act of 2010 provided another $24 billion to specifically help teachers, police and firefighters.

The stimulus required Davis-Bacon "prevailing wages and benefits" rules for contracts receiving any stimulus money. These rules typically force companies to pay union wages.

In addition, Obama enacted new executive orders that forced some contractors bidding for government contracts to recognize unions and adopt existing collective bargaining agreements. He even went so far in this process as imposing a "gag" order on what firms were allowed to tell employees about unions and collective bargaining in the event that union organizing efforts were undertaken.
Last month the Workforce Fairness Institute's Big Labor Bailout reported that union bosses plan to spend $400 million to reelect President Obama.

Who wins? Big Labor and Obama. Who loses? Taxpayers.

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No statement from Bobby "Hoodie" Rush on Thursday's shootings

The day before six Chicagoans were shot outside a convenience store in the South Side's Gresham neighborhood, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) wore a hoodie on the floor of the House where he decried the killing of Floridian Trayvon Martin.

I was the first reporter to piece together the ironies of this story. The shootings, which included one fatality, occurred in Rush's congressional district. And the two perpetrators were wearing hoodies.

On Rush's House web site, there is a transcript of Rush's 'hoodie speech,' but nothing about the Thursday evening Gresham shootings. Or the other seven Chicago shootings that night.

That my friends, is the ultimate irony.

Related post:

Six shot, one dead in Bobby "Hoodie" Rush's district tonight

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Weekly GOP Address with John Boehner on energy and jobs

Speaker of the House John Boehner delivers the latest Weekly GOP Address.

The Ohioan is calling on the Senate to act on some bipartisan energy jobs bills that have passed the House. And he's asking for the presidents help too.

However, Boehner chided the Obama on one job creation project. "About the only thing the president has pushed the Senate to do is to prevent construction of the Keystone XL pipeline," the speaker said.

Boehner is also calling for "a real all-of-the-above energy strategy."


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