Mayor Richard M. Daley leaves office Monday after the most malapropistic political career since—well, since his father, whose press secretary once admonished the press, “You should have printed what he meant, not what he said.” We simultaneously honor Daley the Younger (we actually adored his communication style) and argue for the importance of speechwriters by making his rambling farewell speech to the Chicago City Council our Vital Speech of the Week; here’s a taste:
My father taught me, never step on a person when they’re down, never kick a person when they’re down—anybody can do that in life. So that was one tradition we always thought—never kick or keep someone down. You have a helping hand. You have to have a helping hand in life because if you don’t, you’re not much of a person in life. So that helping hand is needed continually in life in this great city.
Chicago will miss you, Rich; but rhetoricians will miss you more. We’ll close with our favorite of your many curious quotes, from a press conference many years ago, where you told reporters:
“Scrutiny? What else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Give me a break … Go scrutinize yourself! I get scrootened every day, don’t worry, from each and every one of you. It doesn’t bother me.” —DM