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Daley's Not Looking Ahead, But Who Is?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Oct 8, 2009 2:20PM

While Daley decried the press for writing his political obituary too soon and declared that there would be no political fallout for his failed 2016 Olympic bid, the fact of the matter is that he's said publicly that he hasn't decided if he's going to run for mayor in 2011 or not. That's not a shocker - lots of politicians play coy when asked about an election that's still too far on the horizon to predict. Nevertheless, Chicagoans have been whispering about the impending municipal elections for days now (if not months). And while the mayor hasn't made anything official just yet, his brother (and former U.S. commerce secretary) Bill expects Richie to run again. "Win or lose, the Olympics were never going to determine what Rich Daley was going to do," William Daley told the Tribune. "I believe he runs again. I just assume he does. He still has the enthusiasm for the job."

While the boys from Bridgeport may have their elder brother's future planned out, others are taking a hard look at who may be able to step up and challenge the mayor. Political consultant Don Rose took at look at the possibility of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart as a candidate for mayor. Dart,

who may be the hottest political property in the state. He is a former white state representative from a majority African American district who built a record of child protection and sensible anticrime measures.
As sheriff he got national attention by refusing to evict hardscrabble foreclosure cases. Then he busted up a national prostitution ring operating on the Craig’s List website.
Then he got even bigger play with the Burr Oak Cemetery case, handling it all in a compassionate, quietly dignified way.
The next thing that falls his way is a dog-fighting ring.
It is on any single such case that careers are built. They are neither liberal nor conservative. They are what we call good-guy issues—nobody dares take the other side except maybe Roman Polanski.
Most politicians dream of getting such cases once in a career—and this guy gets four in the blink of an eye. That means he is lucky, too—another arrow in the successful politician’s quiver. Lucky enough even to have a name that sounds like a comic strip hero: Tom Dart indeed!
Citing the Olympic debacle and the demise of Daley's gold medal dreams, Rose astutely observes that it will take a lot for Mayor Daley to get himself out of the political mess he's found himself in these days. "Daley has become an unpopular mayor—his numbers are at 35 percent according to the most recent Tribune poll—and it’s hard to recover from that kind of slide. I suspect, too, he saw this coming before the Tribune did and was cooking up a lot of circuses to get people’s mind off the bread he is costing them. Another massive cookout in Grant Park or festival of Baltic Music will not do it. Maybe free tickets to the next 100 Bears games might buy back a little love." That might be wishful thinking, but Rose is right about the situation Daley's in these days.