23 Sep

Professor Wayne Steger

Steger is the chair of the Political Science department for DePaul University, where he specializes in the American political process. He has a doctorate from the University of Iowa and has published numerous articles and edited books in his specialty area.

Q: What do you think are Mayor Daley’s biggest accomplishments? Failures?

A: Avoiding a federal indictment, successfully skirting federal court orders to limit patronage hiring, and engaging in numerous conflict of interest contracts for over two decades are impressive accomplishments for any politician in Illinois. His biggest failures in my opinion, would be his leaving office having contributed to enormous long term financial obligations of the city that will require more taxes and less services in the future, and leaving reform of the CPS unfinished.

Q: What campaign in the Nov. 2 general election interests you most and why?

A: I’m most closely watching the Tea Party challenges to the Republicans in the nomination elections. This has potential to change the ideological direction of the Republican Party. If these candidates lose in November, there will be quite a bit of backlash against the Tea Party movement from the GOP establishment types. However, if the Tea Party candidates win in those Senate races, then there will be pressure to embrace the more conservative position of the Tea Party membership during the next two years and going into the 2012 elections.

Q: If you were to make the selection today, who do you think would be the next Chicago mayor?”

A: It’s hard to say because we really don’t who will be running.  I think I would love to see Paul Vallas run, but I doubt he’d be a candidate and I doubt he’d win in any event. This election is going to create a good deal of disagreement and conflict. There are plenty of ambitious politicians who would love to have the job.  Whether they will run depends on their assessment of their own chances against other potential candidates in the race. Major constituency groups are facing a lot of uncertainty about who will emerge as the major candidates.  It is an exciting time to be an observer of the courtship of candidates and their electorate.

Megan Ashley

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