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Fix Political Hall of Fame: The Mayors Edition!


The Fix opens the Hall to mayors -- the first group of nominees: Richard J. Daley, Rudy Giuliani, and Fiorello LaGuardia.

With Franklin Delano Roosevelt now firmly ensconced in the Fix Political Hall of Fame thanks to the votes of Fixistas, we move on to our next three nominees for admission.

While all four men in the HOF -- FDR, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan -- ascended to the top of the political pyramid, we are big believers that many of the greatest politicians never even aspire to the presidency, preferring instead to have an impact at the local level.

With that in mind, we are putting forward three mayors -- New York City mayors Fiorella LaGuardia and Rudy Giuliani, and former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley -- for nomination to the Hall this month.

LaGuardia and Giuliani are credited with turning around the Big Apple -- LaGuardia during and after the Great Depression, Giuliani is the early 1990s -- and both ran and governed as anti-crime crusaders. Both have terrific nicknames -- "Little Flower" for LaGuardia, "Hizzoner" for Giuliani -- and both found ways to get elected as Republicans in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Daley, whose son is the current mayor of Chicago, embodied the power of machine politics in large cities across the country -- ruling the Windy City for more than two decades and, from that perch, exerting a surprisingly large amount of influence on the direction of national Democratic party.

Daley's unapologetic embrace of his status as a party boss eventually turned him into a political icon (whether for good or ill depends on whether you were on his good side or not) and spawned one of the great political books ever -- "Boss" by legendary reporter Mike Royko.

Over the next few weeks, we'll make the case for and against the inclusion of each of this trio of mayors. Then we'll hold a vote to see who joins the Fix Political Hall of Fame.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 6, 2009; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  Hall of Fame  
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Comments

After Rudy's dissing of Obama at the RNC Convention in 2008, he should be not be considered, imo. His attack was fugly, more appropriate to the thug than statesman.

Posted by: Kelly14 | August 8, 2009 5:14 AM | Report abuse

Ok, add me to the chorus that says Rudy? Seriously? I grew up in Detroit, and love him or hate him, the Coleman Young was more worthy of discussion of Hall of Fame than Rudy, or while we're at it, down the road in Cleveland had a fellow by the name of Mike White who cleaned up the lakeshore, built the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, got a jewel of a baseball stadium built and made that city relevant again.

Tom Bradley transitioned Los Angeles into a major international city during his long tenure as mayor of that city (20 years)...

But Rudy? C'mon

Posted by: leuchtman | August 7, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

You need to add Frank Hague of Jersey City to this Hall of Fame/Infamy considering his 30+ years influence on local, state and federal politics. If you would put this up for a vote, he'd even figure out how to stuff the ballot box despite the fact he's been dead since January 1, 1956.

Posted by: Jerseyboy1 | August 7, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I forgot Frank Rizzo! First as police commissioner and then Mayor, he defined Philthydelphia for 12 years. I moved here in 1991, just before he died, and my husband and I were AMAZED by his funeral.

We'd lived elsewhere while he was in charge, and across the rest of the country he was portrayed as a brutish buffoon. But they l o v e d him in Philadelphia. His funeral was HUGE, and his popularity spanned the races. It seemed he busted the heads of whites as quickly as blacks -- and here in Philly there is a general acceptance that some people just need to have their heads split open, so what are you to do?

The funeral was u n b e l i e v a b le. He was laid out in the Cathedral and as I recall it was a million degrees out side (he died in July)and they let the viewing go on all night because the line would not end no matter how hot it got. There's a good youtube posting, of course.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIWT-b21sCg

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 6, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

B U T,

Daley in a landslide, because every grave in Chicago has a dedicated Daley man in it, AND THEY STILL VOTE!

Posted by: ceflynline | August 6, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Quick, have an attack of common sense and drop Giuliani and pick up any one of a number of Big City Mayors who were great for being mayors, and NOT for trying to go on to bigger things. (I'm pretty sure daley knew that there was NOTHING bigger than being mayor of Chicago. New York has any number of more qualified candidates, (Jimmy Walker? William Marcey Tweed?), but Curley in Boston, Cump in Memphis Mosconi in San Fran, ANYTHING but rudy,. who has demonstrated a penchent for the truly dumb stunt that makes him a good candidate for the buffoon's wing of this H o F, but no where else.

SURELY Phillie has someone who is less rank, but better qualified.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 6, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Daley is obviously the winner here; he served so long he couldn't take credit for what his predecessors had accomplished (as Giuliani did) and held absolute power in his city even after he died (which LaGuardia certainly did not).

I'd actually like to present another candidate: 1954-1970 New Haven mayor Richard C. Lee. He was like Robert Moses and LaGuardia combined into one super mayor. When he wanted to begin urban renewal, he simply designated what neighborhoods would be destroyed and which ones altered by new expressways and overpasses. Somehow, New Haven received more urban renewal money per capita than any other city. A new arena, a downtown mall, downtown expressway, antagonism toward Yale- this man held complete power over his declining city.

Sadly, his mark is still felt on the city, as his well-intentioned urban renewal projects were all failures and are currently either destroyed (i.e. New Haven Coliseum) or on their way (the Route 34 unfinished highway, ironically named after Lee). The city still struggles with his extant projects, as well intentioned as they were, the city remained in decline until the late 1990s.

Posted by: CTMan | August 6, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Buddy Cianci has to be on this list!

Posted by: rishibhalerao | August 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Gotta be Daley. His longevity speaks for itself (21 years someone said?). His son is going to eclipse him, but I think that speaks to the elder Daley's staying power as well. Extreme machine politician who stayed in the mayors office instead of running for governor or senator because he knew his limitations. Instead of running for higher office himself, he got others elected (JFK anyone?). Plus, he'll live on forever thanks to his role in the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Gotta be Daley.
Another cool direction we could take this nominating process is Speakers of the House. There could be some really good competition there between Rayburn, O'Neil and Gingrich. Or, we could do a round between JFK, RFK and Teddy K...

Posted by: timmerq | August 6, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Add me to the list that says Daley was "Hizzoner" well before Guiliani and the other list that wonders why Guiliani is a candidate for the PHoF in the first place.

From the department of useless information: Richie Daley (20 years) is fast approaching the tenure of his father (21 years as Da Mare).

Posted by: mnteng | August 6, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post, and no mention of the "Mayor for Life"

Well, at least he made the news again, today.


Posted by: sourpuss | August 6, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Guiliani probably made more money war-profiteering in Iraq than anyone except Halliburton and Blackwater. In spite of the fact that he was responsible for the illness and deaths of hundreds of firefighters.

Posted by: drindl | August 6, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

How about Jerry Springer? LOL

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 6, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

He is not called America's Mayor for nothing.

==

He's called "America's mayor" because people recognize his name.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 6, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

MikeK3 is absolutley right: Daley was called "Hizzoner" and "Da ma-yer."

Wasn't The Battle Hymn of the Republic written about Daley? Stamping, wrath, terrible bright sword and all that?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 6, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

He is not called America's Mayor for nothing. anyone with an advanceed ability to perceive outside their own boxed in world would come to this obvious conclusion.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 6, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I know Giuliani isn't that popular among this crowd, but surely he's got stuff going for him other than 9/11? Wasn't he also responsible for a dramtic crime reduction? I know he went after window washers, but he also went after mob bosses.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 6, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

CORRECTION to "Fiorello!" post, below:

An aging George M. Cohan played FDR in Irving Berlin's musical, "Mr. President." Jimmy Cagney played Cohan playing FDR in the movie, "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Give my apologies to George M.

***
New "Fix HOF" category: Favorite political play/movie/musical/comedy act?

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 6, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Probably the last thing I would do in this world is take advice from a loony tunes misogynist poofdah like you.

I presume you and drivl will now flood the blog with your lunatic rants and hate filled chidlish antics.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 6, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

BROADWAY SHOUTS BRAVO FOR 'THE LITTLE FLOWER'


How many great big-city mayors had a great Broadway musical based on their political persona?

"Fiorello!" by Bock and Harnick ("the Little Flower" was played by Tom Bosley of "Happy Days" fame) ranks as the best-ever Broadway show based on a major political figure...

...outclassing Irving Berlin's FDR homage, "Mr. President," portrayed on stage by an aging Jimmy Cagney.

Kennedy Center: When can we expect a "Fiorello!" revival?

Maybe with Dana Milbank in the starring role, and Chris Cillizza as "Gentleman" Jimmy Walker?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiorello!

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 6, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey zouk this is a thread about mayors. Quit shilling.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 6, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually its the oil industry moonbat - remember. Oh wait, today is NRA day. On second thought, I think I'll draw my support directly from the NRC. tomorrow is slotted for Pediatricians for tonsilectomies, they pay really well, and over the weekend I need to do my best for "racist cops of cambridge" my most recent addition to the portfolio.

Is anyone surprised that drivl sides with the paranoid crowd. That was what she was comitted for, after all.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 6, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Ed Koch was using "Hizzoner" way before Giuliani. Come to think of it, Koch would probably be a better candidate than Rudy as well.

Posted by: Bondosan | August 6, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Having Rudy Giuliani in this list is like having Tina Turner in the People Magazine Rock Hall of Fame. What the hell gives him any cred to be nominated, other than name recognition?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 6, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I like LaGuardia.

Posted by: nodebris | August 6, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

And I should add for Bill White - his management of the 125k+ Katrina refugees was simply outstanding.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 6, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

LaGuardia - NYC
Lugar - Indianapolis
Humphrey - Minneapolis
Voinovich - Cleveland
White - Houston
Bradley - LA
Lawrence - Pittsburgh
Jerry Brown - Oakland
Personally, I would rate David L. Lawrence #1

But I have chosen the ones who did the most to reform or renew or revitalize their cities, usually in hard times, except for Bill White, who took a boomtown and made it a bigger and better boomtown. In the cases of Lugar and Bradley, they made great strides in racial reconciliation. Oakland was thought to be ungovernable until Jerry. But if you remember Pittsburgh before David Lawrence and after - golly - that has to be a no-brainer.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 6, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Rude Boy, who did aspire to the Presidency, was not the original Hizzoner. That was old man Daley.

Rudy gets too much credit. He came into the job at the right time. He had great timing and luck, and a bit of talent.

Posted by: MikeK3 | August 6, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

While, as a good Minneapolitan, I could support HHH, I would argue that the most important mayor of the 20th Century was from Chicago, but his name was Washington.

Harold Washington's campaign built a serious movement in the city that was a breath of fresh air. His administration showed how improvements can be made, even in the face of machine politics.

Posted by: prairiepopulist | August 6, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

If you are basing this on the impact a mayor had on a city/region over a period of time - and not name recognition or city size, I agree with others that Buddy Cianci, mayor of Providence, RI for over 21 years, surely should be a nominee.

Posted by: HEC1 | August 6, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cilizza, if you won't block kingofzouk from his fraudulent astroturf insurance industry claims, I will have to answer him here to set the record straight and drag the thread off topic. Do you see what he does?

And I have to answer, because I am sick of all the misinformation. These lynch mobs at Democrats town halls are ARRANGED AND PLANNED. People are bussed in by the industry and the republican party. They are told to be as disruptive as possible.

There is a "strategy memo," issued by the Connecticut-based group Right Principles, which calls on conservatives to "pack the hall" and "yell out and challenge" lawmakers. The group's leader has ties to FreedomWorks, an advocacy organization headed by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.).

And Freedom Works and several other con groups have offered training and literature, in addition to money and transportation for protestors. Another major group, Americans for Prosperity, has supplied thousands of printed placards for protests around the country.

The insurance industry has been planning this for months, has been spending millions a day on trying everything they can to disrupt this process and prevent reform.

Please don't make me sick by pretending anything otherwise.

Posted by: drindl | August 6, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cilizza, if you won't block kingofzouk from his fraudulent astroturf insurance industry claims, I will have to answer him here to set the record straight and drag the thread off topic. Do you see what he does?

And I have to answer, because I am sick of all the misinformation. These lynch mobs at Democrats town halls are ARRANGED AND PLANNED. People are bussed in by the industry and the republican party. They are told to be as disruptive as possible.

There is a "strategy memo," issued by the Connecticut-based group Right Principles, which calls on conservatives to "pack the hall" and "yell out and challenge" lawmakers. The group's leader has ties to FreedomWorks, an advocacy organization headed by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.).

And Freedom Works and several other con groups have offered training and literature, in addition to money and transportation for protestors. Another major group, Americans for Prosperity, has supplied thousands of printed placards for protests around the country.

The insurance industry has been planning this for months, has been spending millions a day on trying everything they can to disrupt this process and prevent reform.

Please don't make me sick by pretending anything otherwise.

Posted by: drindl | August 6, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City has to be a nominee.

He's taken the revitalization of downtown OK and turned a one penny sales tax into something magnificant over the past six years.

OKC used to be a cow town with no downtown. Now it's thriving, growing and getting better every day - all thanks to Cornett.

Rudy is all smoke and mirrors - no reason for him to be in the hall.

Posted by: stephenrhymer | August 6, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Dick Lugar, former Mayor of Indianapolis should be on the list as well.

Posted by: Coloradem1 | August 6, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The growing majority of Americans -- at this point 52% now oppose ObamaCare -- are under full frontal assault from the White House, the Democrat Congressional leadership and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). They’re being called everything from angry mobs, phonies, right wing extremists and Astroturf, meaning they’re not really grassroots Americans at the town hall meetings but they’re being bussed in and paid like ACORN members. I suppose in Obamaland these days, a legitimate American protester has to be funded by a Hungarian billionaire.

The winner of clueless statement of the day yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), actually said the people attending these town halls were too well dressed to be legitimate. Go figure. She’s from ritzy Marin County.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) accused these average, everyday Americans of being crazy, fanatical, swastika-wearing frauds. That’ll go over big with voters.
The President yesterday accused the town hall attendees of “manufactured outrage.” On the White House website the administration put together a KGB-style operation asking people to forward emails they may get “about health insurance reform that seems fishy.”

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 6, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Can you nominate the invisible hand behind a powerful mayor. Dan O'Connell kept Erastus Corning's Albany machine tuned up for decades.

Posted by: pen1 | August 6, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

What about "Honey Fitz" (John F. Fitzgerald -- twice mayor of Boston)?

Posted by: WilsonHSgrad | August 6, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

""Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, the Prince of Providence."


For Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame? He was mayor when I was in college up the road from Providence. If I'm not mistaken, he was an inmate around that time as well."

Vinny is deserving of induction in both. The Providence of today looks nothing like the Providence I grew up near. And yes, he was a crook and a scumbag too.

But seriously, Wm. Donald Schaefer is HOF-worthy for sure.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 6, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

There is no way Guiliani is in the same league as LaGuardia or Daley, at least not yet. Both men were transformative figures who exerted power for decades and were bigger than life. Guiliani may have been bigger than life for a couple of weeks at most (after 9/11), and so far his accomplishments are nowhere near those of the other 2.

Posted by: bpai_99 | August 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Rudy? Why not Sarah Palin, then, for being mayor of Wasilla? She's at least as deserving as Rudy.

Another vote for John Lindsey to replace Rudy.

Posted by: Jayne | August 6, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree with Rick and all the others who say replace Guiliani.

See "Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11" by respected New York journalists Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins.

Rudy's a fraud.

Lindsay would be my replacment pick, too.

Posted by: drindl | August 6, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I second the recommendation of Boss. (can you put things in italics on here?) Very good book.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 6, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Using the "Pete Rose should be in the Hall for his playing career but not managing career" Rule, I'll nominate George Voinovich, Senator from Ohio and one-time mayor of Cleveland.

I've been bashing Voinovich lately for his Senate career, but there is no disputing the success of his 8 years as mayor of Cleveland. When he took over in 1980 it was a mess both financially and physically. During the '80s it became known as the "comeback city" thanks mostly to his efforts.

And given that he was a conservative Republican and won not one but two terms in a city that has only elected 2 R's in the past 70 years, I think his accomplishments and the trust he gained from the city's residents during his tenure was amazing.

My biggest bone to pick with Voinovich is I still believe he's the one who convinced Modell to move the Browns. It's never been confirmed, but Modell admitted in recent years it was largely on the advice of a "high-ranking politician" in Ohio who had ties to the Cleveland area that he decided to move to Baltimore.

But my bitterness digresses....

Posted by: dbw1 | August 6, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, the Prince of Providence."


For Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame? He was mayor when I was in college up the road from Providence. If I'm not mistaken, he was an inmate around that time as well.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 6, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd replace Giuliani with John Lindsay.

Posted by: RickJ | August 6, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, the Prince of Providence.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 6, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Rudy is a tool and a fool. Replace him with William Donald Schaefer (Baltimore), James Michael Curley (Boston), or Erastus Corning (Albany) to name three.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 6, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Rudy is an overrated hack & should be replaced in the lineup by Hubert H Humphrey.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 6, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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