Kadner: Mongo the Mayor coming to a suburb near you
Phil Kadner firstname.lastname@example.org | (708) 633-6787 August 16, 2012 10:20PM
1-7-10 Former Bear Steve McMichael introduces Jarrett Payton, son of Walter, as the latest member of the IFL team Chicago Slaughter, which he coaches. photo by Jean Lachat/Sun-Times
Updated: September 18, 2012 6:19AM
Steve “Mongo” McMichael wants to run for mayor.
My friend Wayne and I used to debate which members of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl team would become a head coach.
I think we both agreed on linebacker Mike Singletary.
Wayne argued strongly for Gary Fencik, as I recall, but I always thought he was too smart to stay in football.
A graduate of Yale University and with an MBA from Northwestern University, Fencik has made a ton of money in the world of high finance.
I don’t think either of us ever predicted that McMichael would become a head coach, let alone a mayoral candidate.
He just seemed to be a good old boy; having fun, drinking beer, cussing up a storm.
Pro wrestling! Sure. That seemed to be a perfect fit.
But a politician?
McMichael, if you haven’t heard, has indicated an interest in running for mayor of Romeoville.
The former defensive lineman is the co-owner of Mongo McMichael’s Sports Bar on Route 53 in Romeoville which opened two years ago. He apparently moved into the Chicago suburb this April.
According to a report by our sister publication the (Joliet) Herald-News, McMichael said he’s running in part to help the school district that his 4-year-old daughter will attend.
He might not be aware that school boards run the schools in the suburbs, but I will assume he believes that by helping the business climate of Romeoville he can increase property values and therefore help the schools financially.
He did say concerns about the business climate in Romeoville spurred his ambition to run for mayor.
Also, his bar patrons.
McMichael told the Chicago Tribune his customers were always telling him what a great mayor he would make.
Whether they were drunk or sober at the time isn’t mentioned.
McMichael hasn’t yet filed any official paperwork, he’s just thinking out loud, so I thought I might do the same.
Instead of what Chicago Bear would make a great head coach, perhaps Wayne and I should have been arguing about what player would make the best public official.
Fencik, once more, is my clear choice.
Fencik’s coach, Mike Ditka, of course, once expressed an interest in running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.
Had he entered the race in question and defeated the Democratic candidate at the time, a basketball player by the name of Barack Obama, we might have President Ditka today.
There were a lot of Bears on that championship team who impressed me as not only being smart, but having leadership skills.
And then there were the guys fans idolized to such a degree that they could have been almost a lock to win any election.
The late great Walter Payton comes to mind.
Wide receiver Willie Gault seemed to have a flair for publicity and people seemed to love quarterback Jim McMahon’s maverick image.
Actually, it’s sort of surprising that someone on that Bears team didn’t parlay his success on the football field into a political career.
“Mongo the Mayor” has a certain ring to it, although it does sound like the title of a low-class action movie.
According to the Romeoville website, the village was initially named Romeo, after the character in the famous Shakespeare play, and a twin city was created nearby called Juliet.
Juliet, however, decided to call itself Joliet in 1845 and the rest is history.
Romeoville once was known for its great limestone quarries and rock was shipped from there down to Springfield to build the Illinois State Capitol.
The village also is home to Lewis University, which is apparently key to McMichael’s business development plans as mayor.
He wants to lure the Bears from their current training camp home in Bourbonnais to Romeoville, and Lewis University is the only place in the village that would have anything close to the facilities needed by the team.
I have no idea if that’s a realistic idea, or if Lewis University would even want to be part of such a deal, but my guess is that McMichael doesn’t either.
Political plans and reality rarely have anything to do with one another anyway.
If nothing else, McMichael’s announcement will get his bar and his town some publicity.
Maybe the guy’s smarter than I thought.
If McMichael follows through on his threat to run, his campaign is bound to be more colorful than that of the average suburban mayoral candidate.
If he wins, I sure hope he at least provides free drinks for the boys down at the bar.
I’m guessing that’s all they were hoping for in the first place.