Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Savior Bobby Kennedy: The Daleys/Kennedys Love Affair

Fifty years ago today, Mayor Richard Daley I was inaugurated for his first of six terms and 21 years as Mayor of the City of Chicago. A big event today at the University of Illinois, Chicago to commemorate the day and pay homage to the Old Man [called that with some affection by some in the media], as UIC is perhaps his primary legacy. And somewhat appropriately [although Senator Kennedy and Mayor Daley I barely knew each other], Senator Teddy Kennedy keynoted, this evening, a big Mayor Daley II Dinner in honor of Mayor Daley I.

And then there was this effort from CBS’ Mike Flannery and Edward Marshall:
Mayor Richard M. Daley: The 60s are very interesting. Once John F. Kennedy was assassinated [1963] and [Dr.] Martin Luther King and then Bobby Kennedy [1968], that was the end of the Democratic Party. [Program shows clip of Robert F. Kennedy speaking after he won the Democratic California Primary for President in May, 1968—“My thanks to all of you and now on to Chicago and let’s win there”]. The last three words he said, “On to Chicago,” and he walked off the stage and got killed [by Sirhan Sirhan]. Once he [RFK] got assassinated-killed, that was the end of the Democratic Party. Bobby Kennedy was the savior in 1968. If he would have lived, he would have been the presidential candidate. When he won California, prior to that he stopped to see my father [Mayor Richard J. Daley] and my father talked to him about the election. If he won California, Illinois was going to endorse him. He went to California, won the election; talked to my parents—she was the last one there, talking on the phone to my mother—and when he called, he was talking to my mother about his family, he always chatted about that.

CBS 2-News Mike Flannery: That was the night he was killed.

Richard M. Daley: Yeah. And, my father said when you come, we are going to endorse you the next day.
[Video-clip of CBS’ Kuralt interview with Mayor Daley in April, 1972]

Charles Kuralt: They say you are tough.

Mayor Richard J. Daley: I wouldn’t say tough, but my father told me never back down to any man if you think you are right and I suppose we were taught how to use our fists when we were young, you had to do that and I think that’s a great part of life, too. Not guns and not knives.

Kuralt: But you think an occasional fist fight is good for a kid?

Daley: I think he has to.

Kuralt: My mother has always said, “Don’t get into fights.”

Daley: Well, uh, don’t get in unless you win [followed by a hearty Mayor Daley laugh].
Mike Flannery: Daley famously used that [patronage] power to help his very large extended family, reputedly placing more than 100 relatives on various public payrolls.
Richard J. Daley: …and these people that talk about nepotism and all that, nepotism is a great word.
Excerpted from “Richard J. Daley: The Legend and Legacy,” which aired twice as a special one hour program this past weekend on the local Chicago CBS- 2 station. The show, produced by Edward Marshall and written by Mike Flannery and Edward Marshall, was an interesting, informative, well-edited and very entertaining show. My only criticism is that while it was reasonably balanced in that it showed and discussed the negative as well as positive sides of Mayor Richard J. Daley, on-air comments from critics were not included. We saw nothing from former 5th Ward, independent Alderman Leon Despres and former independent Alderman [and State Supreme Court Justice] Seymour Simon. That is, we saw in large part raw footage of Mayor Richard J. Daley and related personalities and events, but most of the program interviews about Mayor Richard J. Daley were with two of the Old Man’s sons: Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley and Mayor Richard M. Daley. Sons Bill Daley and Rich Daley were interesting to hear from, but obviously they can’t be relied on to provide an impartial assessment. BTW, noticeably absent from the program was the other Mayor Daley political personality son—Cook County Board Finance Committee Chairman and County Board President wannabe John Daley.

As a final note, I should add that to its credit, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight had a one hour special on Mayor Richard J. Daley tonight and it did see fit to include interviews with former independent Chicago Aldermen Leon Despres and Seymour Simon.