I've covered every Chicago mayor from Daley the Boss to Daley the Son of Boss and I have to say my favorite has always been Harold Washington.
Washington had a real mission. For the rest, it's all been about power politics. Washington wanted to bring fairness and justice to many Chicagoans who were intentionally left out because of race.
With Mayor Daley stepping down and leaving the city in a financial mess, it reminds me of the disaster Chicago faced when Jane Byrne was thrown out of office with Fast Eddie Vrdolyak and Vrdolyak's corrupt circus.
No one reminds me of the enthusiasm that Chicago experienced when Washington won, defeating the Byrne Machine and the then-inexperienced young son of Boss, than Carol Moseley Braun.
I like Braun, and I like Miguel del Valle, too. But del Valle's challenge is to bring Hispanic voters together while appealing to blacks and whites. And Hispanic voters are divided, and their voter turnout levels are very low. And Mexican voters and Puerto Rican voters, the two largest Hispanic voting blocks, don't always see eye to eye.
Gery Chico comes from the Southwest Side, but so have most of Chicago's mayors since and including the first Daley. It really hasn't done the region any real good. And Rahm Emanuel is too divisive, bullying his way into power using former President Bill Clinton and his so-so record as President Obama's chief of staff. In addition, he dislikes Arabs and has shown a bias against them. More importantly, Emanuel can't bring Chicago together, though his non-Chicago money makes him a formidable force.
Braun - it's either Moseley-Braun or Braun - seems to offer Chicago the greatest hope, though already you've seen how racism against blacks in the media have rushed out of the closet to slander her solid reputation.
Of all the candidates, besides del Valle, Braun brings the most government experience and that's exactly what Chicago needs. What Chicago doesn't need is a candidate like Emanuel who'll bring little more than a special-interest new Machine.
If it were up to me, the dream race will be Braun versus del Valle. But if Emanuel brings his power politics to Chicago, the city will be in a real mess.
I've met many politicians like Emanuel. It's all about them, not Chicago and not in bringing all communities together.
The question is, can white voters and Hispanic voters be the true loyal Democrats and elect a black candidate without making it about race? Blacks have been loyal for years. It's time to see how loyal the rest of Chicago's voters can finally be.