By Joseph N. Hosteny of Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro
Those of us who live in Chicago, and read the commentary by, for example, John Kass of the Chicago Tribune, know what “We don’t want nobody nobody sent” means. In Chicago and Cook County, you are not eligible for a government job unless you have a political sponsor. If you want to be a fireman, a garbageman, a police officer or a judge, you must have a sponsor who is politically connected. It starts with a ward committeeman, and probably goes up from there, depending on the level of the job.
The phrase is the title of a book about the Daley years, written in 1979 by Milton Rakove. According to Wikipedia, the phrase originates from, of all people, Abner Mikva. When seeking his first job in politics, he stopped by a ward headquarters to volunteer to work for Adlai Stevenson and Paul Douglas. The ward committeeman, Tim O’Sullivan, asked Mikva who sent him and, with his cigar in his mouth, added, “We don’t want nobody that nobody sent.” Actually, I have a hard time believing that the committeeman used “that.” Mikva probably added it.
The rest of us are what John Kass calls “chumbolones.” It is as derisive as it sounds. Kass says it means what politicians think of us taxpayers -- that is, not much. The Urban Dictionary credits Kass, and says it means a “person who is notably stupid or severely lacking in judgment...