If President-elect Obama's appoinments of Rham Emanuel as his Chief of Staff and David Axelrod as his senior advisor serve as indicators of his leadership style, then his administration could be the Democratic Machine at it's best, and when the Machine is running right, things get done.
Now I know what some of you may say, that Richard J.Daley did as much to divide a city racially as any of his contemporaries. I think that is a true statement, however, that is not the point of this diary.
The point of this dairy is to compare Barack's campaign and leadership style to that of Chicago's famed Democratic Machine,and to illustrate how a new and improved Democratic Machine may be just what progressives need to accomplish the daunting tasks that lay before us.
Back in the day, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley ran what is known as the Democratic Machine, and it went something like this.
What you did was build an army of loyal supporters that first got you elected and then helped you build your party and your city,and by doing so, accomplish great things.
To get elected you need votes, and Daley's Democratic Machine generated and turned out voters like no one before or since.In Chicago, Daley's ground game knew no equal. Party Aldermen and Committeemen in every precinct beat the streets to knock every door,ring every bell, and help voters get to the polls by car, foot, bus, taxi, train, or wheelchair if necessary.
Not only were they going to get your vote, they were going to get your mother-in-laws vote, your brothers vote,your grandma's vote, they were going to haul your dog down to the polls and get him to vote too. If your pootie didn't want to vote, she had better hide.
Now, I am not saying this in order to imply or endorse election fraud, what I want to emphasize is the size and scope of the Daley GOTV effort.
Our efforts in getting Barack elected President have followed the same model.
This is exactly the kind of effort what won states like Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina.
It is also the kind of effort that won both Daleys a total of fourteen mayoral elections.
The political acumen of the Daleys is not lost on Barack Obama. After President-elect Obama's historic victory, pundits raved about his overwhelming ground game and how it will be studied for years. What didn't seem to be mentioned was that is was Obama who studied his mentors winning ways and them implemented them on a national level like no one before.
After the election, however, the real work begins. Here, the Daleys shine as well. The Daleys were masters at using the same people who turned the vote out as the cogs that turned the Machine.
The Daleys accomplished their feats by assembling their adminstration with a loyal constituency of supporters ,allies, and enforcers to get the job done.
For the dissenters,the sledding got a bit rough.
If Chicago Democrats knew anything it was that they had better get with the program or they can get the hell out the door, and if they didn't get the hell out the door, they would be shown the door head first. In Chicago, political dissenters didn't just get thrown under the bus, they got thrown under 2 busses, picked back up and thrown under a steam roller, then tossed into the Chicago River, where they could float away into political obscurity, never to be heard from again.
Oh, if only Joe Lieberman could have crossed Mayor Daley back in the day.
The stripping of his committee chairs would have been merciful.
In an Obama administration,it is my hope that Rham Emanuel can paint this kind of picture for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and either get them with the program or show them the damn door, Chicago style.
But I digress.Back to getting things done.
The senior Daley accomplished a fews things during his 21 year tenure as mayor of what came to be known as the "city that works"; things like the building ofMcCormick Place, theJohn Hancock Center, and the Sears Tower.
Mayor Richard J. Daley came to be known as "Dick the builder" for good reason.
Daley's large scale projects helped keep Chicago from falling into the morass of depression and unemployment that crushed cities like Detroit and Cleveland in the 60's and 70's when manufacturing jobs went into a steep decline.
Today, with the nation's unemployment numbers skyrocketing and our infrastructure crumbling, we need Barack the builder.
Chicago's second Mayor Daley is at the same time a much different man than his father but also an achiever who has made his own mark on the city.
One of current Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's most prominent accomplishments was Millennium Park. The project was heavily critisized for being grandiose, over budget, and frought with delays.
The end result, however, is not only the world's largest rooftop garden, but a beautiful gathering place for public use that is rivaled only by Navy Pier as a tourist attraction. In short, the park is a resounding success.
Mayor Daley is also an avid bicyclist and has implemented many miles of bike lanes throughout the city, with plans to make many more. Chicago's current Mayor is indeed quite green.
With global climate change a real and eminent threat, we need Green Barack's administration to get to work post haste on creating green jobs that not only save our environment, but create much needed jobs.
On Obama's website, he asked for us not only to believe in his ability to bring about change, but to believe in our own.
That's how the New Democratic Machine can work and that's how things will get done, folks. If we stay involved by volunteering, by holding our government accountable,and by supporting other progressive candidates, we will accomplish great things together.
When government is running right,it works great.This is what what I think Obama meant when he said that we have to make government cool again. We need to restore America's faith in government by making it work.It will not be an easy job.
So here's to rolling up our sleeves,staying involved, fighting the good fight and turning our hurting nation into the Country that Works.
That's the Chicago way, and it's Barack's way.
For the lazy, the milquetoasts, the naysayers,the sabotuers, and the backstabbers, well, there's always the steamroller.