For Lori Lightfoot’s Survival, Size Really Does Matter

By John Kass

April 13, 2022

Where Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is concerned, size actually does matter. Yea, verily.

And not just when she’s boasting on her “manhood” while making a national laughingstock of herself. The size issue is perhaps her only political lifeline. It’s all about size with Lori. It’s all she’s got left:

Because to survive, to hold onto power, to keep the 5th floor of City Hall to herself, Lightfoot needs a large field of mayoral hopefuls running against her in the Chicago mayoral election.

The biggest imaginable. Maybe bigger.

She needs a large field of contenders going into February, to have any hope of making it to the April run-off between the top two vote-getters. It may not turn out that way, but to make it to the runoff, I think that’s s her best chance of survival. Her poll numbers are tanking, her political funds come from out-of-town, not from Chicago.

The city has grown weary of her.

And few if any Chicagoans believe she can actually manage the city or deal with the most important issue, the one that she’s failed at since she became mayor:

Chicago’s increasing violent crime.

That’s the number one issue in Chicago, a city exhausted by constant, increasing violence and fear.

Crime, Crime and Crime.

She’s already (allegedly) on record in a lawsuit bragging that size matters and that she has the biggest phallus in Chicago, even bigger than the Italians who just want their Christopher Columbus statues released from her absurd left-wing prison for politically incorrect statues. At least that’s what the lawsuit alleges, and she has yet to deny the meat of the complaint.

Hence, her new name: Chicago Mayor Phallus Maximus, on account of those lusty priapic boasts on a zoom call.

As if to prove my point, the other day she visited The Wiener’s Circle, the hot-dog stand on North Clark Street where you get hot-dogs and pithy insults from the staff of expert roasters, hecklers and ridiculers. It’s a paradise of ridicule, as if it were set in pre-revolutionary France, with the people and nobles seething with rage. But it’s on Clark Street, and that’s where her hot-dog fancy took her.

“She got a big d— all right,” said one employee.

“Biggest d— in the city,” said another worker.

Who told her to go there? Perhaps it was one of her genius strategists who’ve already helped her squander her good will among voters, strategists who encouraged her to preside over the shrinking mayoralty without any presence in Springfield, with cops in revolt, businesses angry, as Chicago seeks a capable leader in crisis and can’t find one.

The video was a cringe-fest, and much raunchier than the quotes above. But she went there. She asked for it. And she laughed as if it was all in good fun. Her wife laughed too, then turned away as the taunts became increasingly vulgar. A female police officer didn’t think it was all that funny. Warning: If you want to see the R-rated version, I’m providing the link, but don’t let your elderly mom see it, or children. And I did warn you.

I’ve covered politics a long time in Chicago. I’ve never seen a mayor so weak, so ridiculed.

And as if to give her what she wants (if she’s actually going to run for a second term), the mayoral hopefuls are already piling in.

Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez, a Lightfoot critic who withstands her taunts and has faced down vicious gangbangers alone by himself in his 15th Ward, was the first to announce the other day. I like Ray Lopez. He’s got guts. He wears a Chalky lapel pin—that police outline of a homicide victim—to remind him and others who see it that crime is the single most important issue.

I’ve seen him face down vicious gangbangers, alone, in his Southwest Side ward. The other day, on The Chicago Way podcast that I co-host with WGN radio’s Jeff Carlin, I asked Lopez if he’d subject himself to Wiener Circle ridicule and get a hot-dog there.

“C’mon John, who doesn’t love a good hot dog?” Lopez said.

“If I wanted a better hot dog, I’d just go to the 5th floor and talk to that one.”

Businessman Willie Wilson was the second. Wilson got a feel-good bump by giving away more than a million dollars’ worth of free gas and smirked when busy bodies who can’t help but fleece taxpayers to pay for their favorite social programs wondered, rather preciously, if he was buying votes.

What do you think he was doing, morons?

Wilson told reporters his endorsement of Lightfoot during her last campaign was a big mistake. I supported her too. I second that emotion.

“I made a hell of a mistake. I made a mistake, and I had to say that, because I’ve been very disappointed. Chicago is my town,” said Wilson. “I care about its people, all its people, and I’m going to stand up there for it.”

I like Wilson, too. Who doesn’t like Willie? Besides, when he was a boy on his father’s sharecropper farm in the south, he plowed with a mule he named “Mr. Charlie.” Wilson once told me that all the mules were named Mr. Charlie then.

My father plowed with a mule, too. But my family named the mule “Truman” in honor of the then president. The white Missouri mule was beautiful, the envy of the village, but it did kick my father. That’s another story.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley knows nothing about farming. He’s a politician, teasing a mayoral run. Quigley’s media supporters and some editorial boards have portrayed him as a reformer. He’s doing polling, now that Arne “The White Shadow” Duncan has ruled out a run.

But I don’t see Quigley as a reformer. No way.  I remember Mike Quigley obediently sticking out of ruthless North Side Ward Boss Bernie Hansen’s back pocket at City Council meetings. Quigley was quiet and wide-eyed around Hansen, like a baby kangaroo.

I don’t see Quigley as an evil man, but I see him for what he is, a do-little Congressman who eased himself in after Rahm Emanuel cleared out.  And now with a Republican wave approaching Congress in November, Quigley sees a boring future for himself, sitting idly in the Democratic House minority. Quigley is desperate to find something to do. But the office of mayor in a city that’s devouring itself isn’t a place to indulge your fancies, wondering if it would be fun.

Haven’t we had enough of all that?

Paul Vallas may run. He’s a friend. I’ve told him not to run, not unless he has real money in the millions behind him, to present himself as a serious candidate and draw contrast with the others.

Yes, he knows municipal finance and can manage Chicago, and the others are not managers. Some have good hearts and sharp political senses and they love Chicago, but do they have the management chops to grasp the intricacies without having others handling things because they have little or no clue? I suppose we’ll find out.

The political/donor class of this corrupt city and state doesn’t much like Vallas. They’ve never liked him. They knelt for Daley and kissed his behind as he spent the city into oblivion, and he was never hassled by federal grand juries with the city for sale. They knelt for Emanuel too.

But they just don’t like Vallas. They’ve never been able to buy him. And if all they want is some candidate of their choice mouthing platitudes, then Vallas should walk away. He should just turn his back on them and let them continue to do what they’ve been doing, riding Chicago into the ground.

Other potential candidates include Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) who knows city government and grew up in politics here as the son of Mayor Eugene Sawyer. Chicago Teachers’ Union vice president Stacy Davis Gates knows power politics, and the CTU has broken the mayor and the public schools. Illinois State Rep. Kam Buckner has recently been arrested on a DUI charge.

There is State Rep. La Shawn Ford; perhaps activist Ja’Mal Green and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. And there are others out there, hungry enough, without much of a clue, all attitude and talk. The more, the merrier Lightfoot must be hoping.

She’d do herself a favor if she just walked away from it. She had didn’t have the temperament to be mayor. She didn’t have the institutional sense of politics the others possess. She can’t manage the police department or much else. She endorsed Kim Foxx for re-election as Cook County State’s Attorney and that drove a dagger into the heart of the city.

She plays well in corporate boardroom politics and corporate intrigues, but she’s a corporate lawyer. But mayor? Not so much.

And what mayor can impact violent crime with the county prosecutor and the prosecutor’s political patroness–Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle–shrinking the size of the jail, pushing to release the violent in the name of compassion, and working against cops trying to maintain law-and-order?

Journalists and newspaper editorial boards don’t hold Preckwinkle to account. Nobody seems to hold her to account. Her fingerprints are nowhere. The Republicans don’t even have a candidate to face her, even though crime a big issue in the suburbs, too. Preckwinkle is invisible, unaccountable, untouchable, and the city bleeds.

“As mayor, violence has to be the number one issue that I will take ownership of,” Lopez said on ‘The Chicago Way’ podcast. “I will take personal responsibility for everyone’s safety in Chicago.

“There will no longer be these fake ‘accountability Tuesdays’ or crocodile tears of what’s going on in our streets. I’ve lived it. First-hand. You know this,” Lopez told me.

“It’s not until you have a political leader who takes ownership. I know that behind every story there’s a victim and an aftermath. I will never lose sight of it, and having that (Chalky) on my shoulder, hopefully those who see it will never lose sight of it either.”

What did Lightfoot lose sight of? Everything. She had no political sense. Her people had no political sense. She had suits trying to run the police department and cops got sick of her act and rebelled.

Now, she could just walk away, try to rehabilitate her public reputation by doing good works, stay away from penis references and do the city some good.

But unlike the others who are running or thinking of running for mayor, she’s not from Chicago. She doesn’t feel Chicago that way. And to understand Chicago, you have to be born to it, to know that humiliating others might work in a boardroom, but it doesn’t work in the neighborhoods.

And if she sticks around, then it will be a rough campaign, her mouth against other mouths, hoping more candidates get in, hoping for a bigger field against her, perhaps the biggest, bigly, as different candidates and their constituencies rip themselves and each other and rip the city apart, as she clings on to the vain hope of survival arithmetic.

“Humility is not a weakness, it’s a strength,” Lopez said. “And if you have to be a bully 24/7 to get your point across, you’re a failure.”

We’ll see, won’t we?

That’s what campaigns are all about.

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(Copyright 2022 John Kass)