From Merriam-Webster - Demagogue: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.In his Tuesday rants against 42nd alderman Brendan Reilly's opposition to the Chicago Children's Museum building a 100,000-square-foot facility in Grant Park, Mayor Richard M. Daley raged at Reilly's characterization of Grant Park as "not a kid's park." It became almost a mantra, "Not a kid's park?, "Not a kid's park?!" he repeated, again and again, incredulous anger rising each time.
Except, as Greg Hinz reports in Crain's Chicago Business, "The mayor’s press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, conceded afterward that the latter remark may have been based on bad information."
In other words, it's a lie. A lie that the mayor just goes on repeating, because he thinks it has legs. Just like the lie about all the opponents to the museum having racist motives. He knows it's a lie, but it doesn't matter. It's always worked in the past.
Stop hiding behind generalities, Mr. Mayor. Exactly who are you calling a racist? Name names. Do you think I'm a racist? Blair Kamin? The Chicago Tribune's editorial board? Is New Eastside Association of Neighbors' Richard F. Ward a racist, Mr. Mayor? Name names and let the public decide whether they agree with your characterizations.
And now, the Mayor calls on all the leaders of Chicago - businessmen, community leaders, the ministers - to rise up with him in revolt against Brendan Reilly's war against children and minorities. The unstated, underlying message in Daley's bullying is clear: get behind me on this, or suffer the consequences.
As quoted in the Sun-Times, the Mayor now talks about the battle over the museum as if were a civic Armageddon . . . "a fight for the future of this city . . . If you lose this one, you lose the strength of our city . . " How poor and weak a thing is this Chicago that Daley has given us, that a single mayoral defeat can send it collapsing into an impotent gelatinous goo.
FUD - Mayor Richard M. Daley is a master.
Let's be clear. This is not about "the children." It is not a fight for racial justice. It's about raw political power, and the Mayor's insatiable hunger to maintain a monopoly of it within the city he governs. To Greg Hinz, a sharp observer who knows city politics inside and out, the real issue behind Daley's blustering smokescreen is no mystery "At stake is Mr. Daley’s ability to steamroll any local opposition to venues for the proposed 2016 Olympics."
Postscript: The Sun-Time's Fran Spielman, with Greg Hinz among the city's most indispensable journalists, has a compelling story indicating that Mayor's plan to override Reilly's aldermanic prerogative in vetoing the museum could run into stiff resistance in the City Council. Aldermen as diverse as the 50th ward's Bernie Stone, the 2nd's newly elected Bob Fioretti, and even the 21'st Howard Brookins, who saw his own aldermanic prerogative overridden when he pushed for a Wal-Mart in his ward three ago, expressed grave reservations about upending a tradition that has been a major source of their effectiveness. Savvy politicians all, they realize it would set a precedent that would open the door to the Mayor usurping and eroding the powers aldermen depend on in running their wards.