What to get for the political dad who has everything

John Kass

June 16, 2013


What do political dads really want on Father's Day?

I'm not a political dad. So all I'd like is a pair of leopard-print spandex bike shorts and a Big Wheel Sidewalk Screamer, that I may go on bike rides with the mayor of Chicago.

But what do political dads want?

They're very much like the ruthless political warlords on HBO's "Game of Thrones," only the characters of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros wear tights and leather jerkins when they bend the taxpayers to their will. And ruthless Chicago politicians don't wear tights.

But they still want cool stuff on Father's Day. So what shall we give them?

President Barack Obama is the man who has everything. And he knows everything. About you.

Like what movie you're thinking of renting on Netflix and the next sentence I'm about to type on my computer.

And after the last couple of weeks he's had, I'm sure he'd like to chill. There's the IRS scandal and the NSA scandal and the Benghazi scandal.

There's also that business of his Justice Department describing journalists as criminal conspirators, even if Justice officials now say they really didn't mean it.

He's about to take a vacation to Africa that, according to The Washington Post, will cost us only $60 million to $100 million in post-sequester Bernanke Bucks.

So how about Michelle just cuts him some slack as the next scandal breaks and he touches his breast pocket, realizes he quit smoking and tells a Secret Service agent that the two of them should step outside for "some fresh air."

Please Madam First Lady, the man's got pressures. Give him a break.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel certainly doesn't need stuff either. He's mayor of Chicago. He made millions in a brief stint as an investment banker between political gigs. He's a family man, and about all he really needs is some time to go bike-riding with the wife and kids.

What Rahm also might like is Billy Daley not becoming governor of Illinois, lest Rahm's star be eclipsed before it reaches its zenith.

Oh, there's one more thing Rahm might like: Hillary Clinton serenading Rahm with her rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings" at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, just before she raises his hand.

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. might like a few stuffed elk heads to remind him of happier days. When you sit alone in a room with stuffed elk heads looking back at you, staring at you hour after hour after hour, year after year, from up on the wall, you might just start thinking their lips are moving.

House Speaker John Boehner just wants a box of tissues for those emotional days.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has already made it plain what he wants. The political boss of the state wants his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan installed as governor of Madiganistan.

What father wouldn't like to make his daughter the governor? It's way cooler than giving her a pony, but maybe a bit messier.

The late Mayor Richard J. Daley doesn't need a thing these days, but he sure could use a French-English dictionary if they have them up in heaven.

Looking down from the great cloud above, he may have seen his son Bill, a prospective candidate for governor, interviewed by Randi Belisomo on WGN-TV.

"I've been around politics my whole life," Bill Daley told Belisomo. "But I don't come from the Springfield milieu that seems to be rather dysfunctional right now."


"Bob? Bob? What's this 'maloo' my kid's talking about?" the late mayor might ask his cloud friend, Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn. "Maloo? Maloo? He's scarin' me, Bob, he's scarin' me."

The word is of Old French origin, though most likely not from old French settlements in Chicago's 11th Ward, near 35th and Lowe, where the Daleys learned the native tongue.

But milieu is the perfect word for the sentence, and I use it whenever I get the chance because it makes me sound like an old TV character, the portly and urbane Mr. French from "Family Affair."

According to Merriam-Webster, "milieu" is defined as "the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops."

Merriam-Webster's example: "Theirs was a bohemian milieu in which people often played romantic musical chairs. — Edmund White, New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009."

Illinois taxpayer's example: "Theirs was a Springfield milieu in which politicians often played pin the tail on the chumbolone." — John Kass, sitting on the porch, drinking a can of Hamm's, 16 June 2013."

Bruce Rauner, a Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, is perhaps the wealthiest man ever to seek the office. He needs nothing. So what do we get Rauner — a bottle of Old Spice?

How about a couple of trainloads of lotus fruit, so Illinois voters may forget his past business dealings with Democrats like Emanuel, as he campaigns against all those insiders?

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, recently accused Sen. Mark Kirk of the sin of insensitivity after Kirk suggested that federal law enforcement should target a murderous black street gang in Chicago. Rush said Kirk's plan was an "elitist white-boy solution." So what's the real news here? The news is that Bobby Rush's deck of race cards is embarrassingly old. Some race cards are missing from his campaign against Obama. Other Rush race cards are frayed. "Elitist white boy" is as about as '70s as you can get, as old as disco. Can't somebody please get Bobby Rush a brand-new deck of race cards?  

Political and nonpolitical dads all want the same thing on Father's Day: time with our families, our wives and children.

And maybe a pair of leopard-print spandex bike shorts.


Twitter @John_Kass