Monday, March 16, 2015

Sweet (not) home Chicago


     On the afternoon of Jan. 20, 1961, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower slipped away from the Inauguration Day festivities, piled into their 1955 Chrysler Imperial and famously drove to their farm at Gettsyburg, Pa. Contrary to myth, they were not alone — two servants and a chauffeur, Leonard Dry, were with them, but even then, the ex-president felt "an eerie loneliness about the absence of motorcycle escorts and caravans of Secret Service and press cars" according to Ike's grandson, David.
     It was about to get lonelier.
     "When the Eisenhowers approached the entrance to their Gettysburg farm," David Eisenhower wrote, "the Secret Service honked the horn and made a U-turn, heading back to Washington."
     Ex-presidents didn't get security. His predecessor, Harry Truman, didn't even receive retirement pay — he had to live, at least initially, on his $112.56 Army pension, and took out a bank loan in his last week in office to tide himself over.
     Not issues that will face Barack Obama, who will leave office Jan. 20, 2017, a rich man, the way politicians tend to. He'll head, not back to Chicago, but to New York City, to join the claque of rootless wealth.
     That has to raise some tangled emotions here.
     If I had to categorize it, I'd say a disappointment but not a surprise.
     Reading Mike Sneed's column Friday on how the Obamas are set on living in New York, which means their library will probably be set there too, has to sting.
     Though Chicago was never really Obama's home, despite his house in Kenwood. That notion was just another spoonful of a politician's honey, and shame on those who swallowed it. Born in Hawaii — really, get over it, join us in the fact-based world — gone to school in Boston, Obama didn't set eyes on Chicago until his late 20s. Chicago was a way station and not really, as it turns out, his home. A means, not an end.
     At least not to Michelle Obama, and a husband goes where his wife wants to go, if he knows what's good for him. When people were aghast that I would move to Northbrook, I told them, "If I didn't follow my wife's lead, I'd still be a single guy living in a one bedroom apartment in Oak Park..."


To continue reading, click here.

20 comments:

  1. I'll be glad when he's gone.
    I'll be able to ride my bike down Greenwood Ave. again.
    But the NY Post wrote that they were moving to NYC last summer, so Sneed's "exclusive" wasn't one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. don't split hairs, stick to point of the story

      Delete
  2. I never said it was. But I don't read the Post, so it was Sneed's story that got me thinking about it. Besides, comparing the two, hers was much more certain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got that news from Romanesko last Friday.

      Delete
  3. New York Post? Lynn Sweet has been writing about them not coming back to Chicago for several years now. I think it was even on the front page. I can understand why people missed it. It's an obscure paper that no one reads anymore.
    http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2012/05/michelle_obama_hints_again_may.html

    It's good they will not come back to Chicago. We need to spare them the embarrassment of getting hayseed on their nice shoes. They'd only feel sorry for us for having committed such an egregious faux pas.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting article, Mr. S. I know even Michelle has more roots here than the Pres. did.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If I had the means, and the Obama's probably will, I would probably settle in Manhattan too, but should we really take the word of a gossip columnist -- and the New York Post, for God's sake -- in deciding it's a settled matter. I would think where the oldest kid decides to go to college (Columbia?) might have something to do with it. And I don't see that Obama will have to -- or even want to -- live near his library. Clinton doesn't.

    Tom Evans

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bye Michael Jordan! Good riddance Oprah! Enjoy New York Mr. President! Chicago is all about the people who stay. We're the city of big shoulders, not big egos. Okay...Rahm notwithstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Despite the city's faux blue collar notions, it is full of starfuckers -- see Michael Jordan, Oprah, and even the loathsome Billy Dec. I don't blame the Obamas for wanting to get out of what is, for better or worse, a financially upside down, mostly segregated powder keg of racial turmoil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The loathsome who?

      Delete
  8. Club owner. Man about town. Wears hats. I've met him. Not a bad guy, per se.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Disappointing, if true, but them living in New York doesn't bother me much. The library should be in Chicago, though, IMHO. It makes more sense, and I'd rather see it go to Hawaii than N.Y., from both his biographical and community-organizer's perspective. If he puts that in N.Y., I'll have to conclude that he's lost a part of his soul. Whatever that means...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jakash, good you didn't misspell your name to say jackass, not that you are but sounds a bit like it

      when will mary Mitchell do a column on that Williams guy who shot cops in Ferg?

      Delete
  10. The wanting something that's bound to be bad: exactly how I feel about Mayor Garcia. Would we have voted for Barack if we knew how horriblely he'd be treated?

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fact that he was treated horribly constitutes a reason not to have voted for him?

      Delete
    2. John,

      Of course. I'd say his reelection in 2012 pretty well demonstrates that. If HE can put up with it, WE certainly should be able to. And however badly I feel about the way he's been treated and some of his shortcomings as President, I've never for a second thought that a President McCain or Romney would have been a better option for me, or the country.

      Delete
  11. Well said, Jakash.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Let them move to NYC, but why would you want the library there too? It's estimated to be worth millions to the city economy, the exact opposite of what the Olympics' impact would have been.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I guess I'm not surprised, seeing as it's problematic to move back into a city versus another place or a ranch, but it still bothers me. I just remember that line from the Truman biography "In all my years in Washington, I never forgot where I came from and where I would be returning to."

    ReplyDelete
  14. What's going to be in the library anyway? Tons of books with blank pages? His is most opaque of any administration in recent history.

    ReplyDelete