Mr. Geoghegan Goes to Washington
January 14, 2009 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps something of an oddity in Chicago machine politics [I like to think in the spirit of Sean Tevis] Tom Geoghegan (pronounced "gay-gun") is running in a special election -- primary March 3rd and (hope me :) general April 7th -- for Rahm Emanuel's vacated 5th district Illinois seat.

Kathy G. describes the campaign thusly:
What does his entry into this race feel like? Well, to start, think Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Like the iconic character played by Jimmy Stewart in that film, Tom is a tall, gangly political outsider, and he has every bit of Jefferson Smith's indefatigable idealism and rock-solid integrity. Only, there's a twist -- this Mr. Smith is no blushing innocent. Tom is a Mr. Smith who's kicked around the big city for a couple of decades and has become all too familiar with the ways of the world. Sadder maybe, in some ways, but also savvier, and wiser. And yet still utterly driven and consumed by a burning desire to make the world a better place.
James Fallows, Cosma Shalizi and Thomas Frank also heartily endorse (and <3) Geoghegan. You can follow Kathy G.'s efforts to help get him elected here.
[note: if you're suffering from déjà vu this is a repost per jessamyn's helpful (and appreciated!) suggestions]
posted by kliuless (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man, I love this guy. I'm so excited that he's running. He's a former labor lawyer, and if anyone's interested, this is a great first-hand account of the state of the contemporary labor movement. The focus is on events of the Reagan era, but there was a revised edition published a few years ago that brings it up to date.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:55 AM on January 14, 2009

The public domain poetry is what really elevates this post into greatness. Why I think I'll cut their candidate a check right now.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:56 AM on January 14, 2009

Much better post.
posted by desjardins at 9:17 AM on January 14, 2009

[Yes, it's a sanctioned and A-OK do-over. Please commence with actual conversation.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:21 AM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Thanks for taking the time to re-post this, kliuless. I posted in the other thread about why this is exciting. The book foxy_hedgehog linked to is excellent ("the greatest book ever written about anything," says Ezra Klein at the American Prospect), and I also like The Secret Lives of Citizens. It's worth noting that he is the law partner of former Hyde Park independent alderman Leon Despres and worked as well on Harold Washington's campaign, so he's not a Chicago-politics naïf (and the Democratic organization has declined to slate any particular candidate, so it's an open primary and looking like a bit of a free for all).

Kathy G's blog is, incidentally, covering his campaign pretty thoroughly, moreso than the official site at this point, and is worth watching if you're interested.
posted by enn at 9:28 AM on January 14, 2009

His book looks really good...and is not available at either of the public library systems at which I have a card. Hmm. Neat post, thanks!
posted by naoko at 10:00 AM on January 14, 2009

This used to be my district-- I would have loved the opportunity to vote for him. His book is great. I hope he's not too good to be true.
posted by ameliajayne at 10:11 AM on January 14, 2009

Geoghegan (pronounced "gay-gun")

My god how Irish surnames get butchered in their journeys. In Ireland this would be pronounced "Gyo-agen" or similar, having said that if being a purist means missing out on a gay gun maybe it's our loss...
posted by nfg at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

To be fair, gay-gun is one of Kiss’ better tunes
posted by Smedleyman at 1:30 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

My god how Irish surnames get butchered in their journeys.

This is Chicago. Try the Goethe. (And there's actually a branch of the Goethe-Institut there.)

Geoghegan looks like a perfect future IVI-IPO endorsee. (The group is a goo-goo anti-machine advocate whose main activity is providing a different voter slate from the parties and papers. Sometimes its candidates actually win.)
posted by dhartung at 10:19 PM on January 14, 2009

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