Monday, March 14, 2005

Mayor Garcia of Chicago? Laura Washington is grasping at straws. . .

In today's Sun-Times here, Laura Washington speculates that Jesus "Chuy" (pronounced like Chewbacca's nickname) Garcia might be the logical Latino candidate for mayor in 2007, assuming that progressives want to invest in a challenge to Mayor Daley.

While it's evident that Mayor Daley hasn't seen fit to clean out all the parasites that infect municipal government (and why not? that's an enduring puzzle), it isn't evident to me that there's sufficient juice for a challenge.

I like contested elections, but I don't buy the idea that progressives need a black or brown mayoral candidate in order to 'revive' the progressive movement in Chicago. That's the assumption behind a lot of the column. Here's what I mean:

Activists desperate to revive the Harold Washington-style progressive agenda are talking up a Garcia candidacy.


A Garcia bid could make the case that City Hall is ready for reform, knock off some of those black and Latino placeholders who pass for aldermen, and shake Chicago's progressive movement out of a 20-year funk.


20 year funk?

Did she, or these activists, miss the Barack Obama primary campaign?

The progressive movement is alive and well in Chicago.

So, I'm all for more candidates and a real, contested election for mayor in 2007. But the idea that the progressive movement is defined by the Office of the Mayor is (to my ears) a song from the 80s.

1 comment:

Jeff Wegerson said...

I like your take on the state of progressive politics in Chicago - now the Illinois. What you are suggesting is leapfrogging Mayor Daley and bringing the mountain to Mohammad.

Progressives don't need a leader-type but the silent-progressive majority often does. Garcia is probably not the leader for them. But you are right that they as well as we don't necessarily need a candidate of color to do the job of moving progressives.