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In Chicago, politics is like wrestling, only bloodier

December 10, 2008 |  8:18 am

Many Ticket readers were probably introduced to Illinois' Gov. Rod Blagojevich's unpronounceable name for the first time yesterday. (Try writing a campaign jingle for Bluh-goy-uh-vitch.)

He and his chief of staff, John Harris, are accused of many things, most prominently basically selling the nomination to his state's now-empty U.S. Senate seat.

Blagojevich is a Chicago North Sider who's been in office since 2003, when then-state senator and now President-elect Barack Obama was an important campaign advisor. Illinois in general and Chicago politics in particular is that way, full of many familiar names, often over several generations.

At one point the all-powerful Cook County Democratic machine of Mayor Richard J. Daley (father of the current mayor, Richard M. Daley, and father of Obama economic advisor William Daley) assigned a local political comer, Roman Pucinski, to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives for several terms to hone his skills and instincts to come back to the really big league, the Chicago City Council.

Another time some years ago one of the city's 50 aldermen confessed that he had taken up jogging for the exercise but given it up after a few months because it was so boring. You can't knock anyone down, he complained.

Here's an entertaining and edifying three-minute sound clip from NPR's always erudite Scott Simon about Blagojevich and how Chicagoans do politics -- for keeps.  Here's the kicker: It's from 2005.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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