Obama carries on Chicago lakefront liberal tradition

The impression in some quarters — usually outside of Chicago — is that President Barack Obama has infected the White House with The Chicago Way of governing.

Not quite. He was elected The Chicago Way. But he is governing the Chicago Lakefront Liberal Way.

By doing so, he has answered the question that many Chicagoans never wanted to contemplate: What would it be like if a lakefront liberal ran Chicago, or, heaven forbid, the country? The results are in, and the answer is: terrifying.

Lakefront liberals never have run much of anything in Chicago, their piety and trendiness not quite right in a city of bungalows and two-flats. Lakefront liberals areDemocrats of the salon, not of the saloon.

They're driven by impractical and utopian ideals. They were the few and the proud who in the 1960s and '70s fruitlessly charged the ramparts ofMayor Richard J. Daleyand the Chicago Machine. Daley and the rest of 'em barely noticed the minor commotion outside the palace gates while they feasted within on the bounty of practical politics.

Younger Chicagoans may not be that familiar with how pejorative the term "lakefront liberal" (or lakeshore liberal or limousine liberal) once was. Today, lakefront liberals have successfully rebranded themselves as "progressives" — as if the only people who are for progress are the apostles of big government, big deficits and big panaceas.

Continue reading on the Chicago Tribune op-ed page.


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  • I've used that term for people who push their moral compass on people they would otherwise no give much thought to.

  • In reply to Evan Moore:

    If you mean by making us all pay for other people's birth control, leading a virtual campaign to demonize smokers and people that eat junk food, than you are correct.

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    In reply to montclareresident:

    Obviously, like so many on your side, you fail to miss the fact that it would cause INSURANCE COMPANIES to pay, not you. Not me, not any taxpayer. Insurance companies. Who like to pay for contraceptives, because it keeps *everything* cheaper. Take your ignorance, take a deep breath, and re-read the facts.

    Contraceptives do more than just control birth; they help decrease extreme pain, help prevent ovarian cancer, and control heavy periods - thereby helping women work more effectively in the work force, adding dollars to the economy.

    To quote a famous line: "it's the economy, stupid".

  • In reply to mvchx:

    Right, insurance companies will cover the cost and not pass that cost on. Even though Catholic institutions are typically self-insured and therefore they will still be paying for it, don't let a pesky thing like the 1st Amendment get in your way of imposing your lifestyle on others.

    So there is no cost increase to anyone for covering contraceptives? Then why haven't all companies done it already? It is either that they are women hating (which I don't understand how everythig to do with the bedroom has become the central tenant of modern feminism- I guess equal pay doesn't matter anymore) or the Left is lying, since Obama's own panel of doctors disagreed amongst themselves as to whether or not it will raise the premiums of other people. Your argument that birth control makes women more productive workers, has no effect on insurance companies. This does not impact their bottom line. The fact is that we will all be paying for birth control (I highly suggest that you do your research outside of slate.com and the huffingtonpost.com). Just remember, someone will have to pay a higher premium for their asthma medication (which is a physical defect- the ability of a woman to have children is not a defect) so you can have free birth control. Lakefront liberal love!

  • So true. The sad fact is that the lakefront liberal is gaining ground in Chicago. No longer are they confined to Hyde Park, the Gold Coast, and the suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park (although Oak Park is nowhere near the lake, the residents fit the stereotype quite well).

    What truly differentiates the lakefront liberal from the "Daley Democrat"? The "Daley Democrat" is blue collar and not seeking to impose a post-modernist agenda on government. The lakefront liberal has never had a "real job" in their lives and are less concerned with effective governance than imposing their beliefs on the rest of us. All you have to do is read "Nudge", written by the University of Chicago's "progressive" Public Policy professors, to understand their objective.

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    Dennis ~ I'm not disagreeing with you on this at all - what confounds me is the idea that a Republican would do so much better. It also is interesting to me that you negatively refer to public transportation and gas-based transportation, and other things that have to do with general quality of life, in terms of the environment. If you're the type of Christian who doesn't believe in good stewardship because "it's all gonna burn anyway", then to be succinct, we are opposed.

    Regardless of faith, please explain to me how the Republicans beat the "jobs jobs jobs" drum, when in fact, they're main concern is abortion and women's rights. This can be seen by the example of the states whose HR 1 was to rescind abortion rights. What does that have to do with creating more jobs? Theoretically, making abortion illegal would make jobs even more scarce, in the future, due to there being more bodies to hire, but with an economy that consistently says, "there are not enough jobs".

    I also wonder, if being so critical of Obama's leadership, what you actually do think of the current Republican leadership. One which has, in the last year, taken away voter's rights (Michigan), redefined life (thereby making any woman using contraception guilty of murder), attacked women's rights, ridiculed Obama for helping Detroit (auto industry bail out, which is now *making* money), and, not passed one single jobs creating bill. (Yes, they've de-fanged legislation that was to go in effect in 2012/2013 that would've crippled smaller businesses, but....)

    Here's what saddens me: the Republicans could have had a damn good candidate, but because he didn't "play the game" he has received no airtime, no proponents from the talking heads, and zero attention. So he's Libertarian now. Gary Johnson. Put him in the limelight. See what he has to offer. I'm willing to bet it's better than any current Republican, and will definitely give Obama a run for his money.

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