The Last Hurrah

Well, Chicago’s Mayor Daley called it quits yesterday, ending a remarkable two decades plus as mayor of my hometown.  While his malapropisms made George W. Bush look like Cicero and there was plenty of graft in his administration, I’d say he was a remarkable success.  His retirement made me think of the Edwin O’Connor novel, The Last Hurrah.  Ostensibly written with Boston’s Mayor Curley as his template (my mother always insisted it was based on Jersey City’s Boss Hague…but then again, you can’t always trust your mother) the novel was an exploration of how big city bosses run their fiefdoms and also a dirge for what O’Connor felt was the dying breed of Irish political machines.  With Richie Daley (a.k.a. Hizonner, King Richard II) riding off into retirement, I’d say O’Connor’s prediction has finally come to pass.  Best of luck Mr. Mayor; you left Chicago a better place than you found it.

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2 thoughts on “The Last Hurrah

  1. andykorki

    As a native Chicagoen who vaguely remembered Jane Byrne (I think she was right after Daley I) taking office and very much remembered Harold Washington and the turmoil after his death, it was a welcome when Daley II took over, I wish him the best. Corruption may have been his game, but it made the city work. He is the epitome of what makes Chicago a great city.

    Reply

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