Since the stunning withdrawal Monday of William Daley from the Democratic primary for governor of Illinois, prognosticators have been offering various reasons why Barack Obama's former White House chief of staff and brother and son of two Chicago mayors would call it quits.
Moreover, many are starting to ask, does Bill Daley's abrupt exit mean the end of the line for one of his state's most illustrious political dynasties.
"You can run a flag up the pole and when no one salutes, you notice it," veteran Chicago political consultant Paul Caprio told Newsmax. "I think Bill Daley probably took polls and found the Daley name was lethal in downstate Illinois.
"After so many years, people associated him with his father and brother and machine politics in Chicago."
Noting that downstate historically accounts for one-third of the Democratic primary vote and two-thirds come from Cook County (Chicago), Caprio pointed out that "he had some big problems there."
"The county Democratic organization that Bill Daley's father once ran with an iron fist had already endorsed [incumbent Gov. Pat] Quinn," Caprio said.
"And, with the black and Hispanic population growing in Chicago, Quinn was poised to run a class-warfare campaign claiming Daley was in part responsible for the financial collapse five years ago," he said.
Daley was secretary of commerce under Bill Clinton and later a top executive with J.P. Morgan Chase and Co.
Bob Kjellander, former Illinois Republican national committeeman and an activist in state campaigns since 1970, agreed.
"Bill Daley had to realize that, at age 65, he had a lot of work to do to overcome some major obstacles," Kjellander told Newsmax. "His background as a cabinet officer and White House chief of staff was not exactly appealing to the grass roots. Usually in primaries, the Democratic organization counts for something. And that endorsement of Quinn by the Cook County committee was a major blow."
With more than $1.2 million in his campaign kitty, Daley pulled the plug on his candidacy nine months before the primary.
Earlier this year, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan, daughter of powerful state House Speaker Mike Madigan, made a surprise decision to run for re-election rather than governor. That means that Quinn, who oversaw his state's 67 percent state income tax hike, reigns supreme in the party.
Illinois sources told Newsmax that Bill Daley's exodus could mean the end of the political line for Chicago's durable Democratic dynasty, founded by his father Richard, who died in 1976 still mayor after 21 years.
Brother Richard M. Daley, Chicago's mayor from 1989-2011, is out of politics at age 71 and working in an investment firm with son Patrick — an Army veteran who has been dogged by charges of concealed profits from wi-fi services at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and a sewer-inspection company that did city business while his father was mayor.
Another brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, is chairman of the County Board's Finance Committee and shows no interest in higher office.
The only member of the third generation of Daleys that has run for office is nephew Patrick Daley Thompson, an elected member of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago.
Some American political dynasties live on.
Democratic Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy of Massachusetts, grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is the latest in four generations of his family to serve in Congress. George P. Bush, grandson and nephew of two presidents, is running for state land commissioner in Texas and considered an attractive Republican leader of tomorrow.
But other "next generation" heirs decide to leave the family business.
Although two of FDR's sons served in the U.S. House and a third (Elliott) was mayor of Miami Beach, none of the Roosevelt grandchildren or great grandchildren went into politics.
Adlai Stevenson IV, son of a Democratic U.S. senator from Illinois and grandson of a two-time Democratic presidential nominee, eschewed politics and is a former television reporter and business executive.
Although things could change, it would seem that the Daley dynasty is headed for the latter category rather than the former. As Bob Kjellander put it, "I think Bill's exit two days ago spells the beginning of the end of the House of Daley."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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