Remembering Fast Eddie | Bleader

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remembering Fast Eddie

Posted By on 11.05.08 at 04:52 PM

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Just a day before a new-school Chicago politician got elected president, an old-school pol, former Tenth Ward alderman Edward "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud in a deal having to do with a Gold Coast development deal on the site of the former Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.

Vrdolyak was usually lodged on the right side of the political spectrum, but I once saw him deliver an antiwar speech.

It was in the fall of 1984. As the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, Vrdolyak -- who later became a Republican -- was hosting a rally at the Medinah Temple for Walter Mondale's ill-fated presidential campaign.

Vrdolyak blistered President Ronald Reagan for sending soldiers all over the world, including Lebanon. As I recall, he pointed out that we had lots of problems closer to home. The folks in the audience -- lots of lefties and union types -- ate it up. I don't know what got into Vrdolyak that night -- I'd never heard him talk like a peacenik before. It made me wonder if Vrdolyak -- with all of his charisma and charm -- could become a force for progressive politics.

Silly me. The next time I heard him speak at a political rally was in 1987, when he was running against Mayor Harold Washington as a right-wing independent. Speaking to Tenth Warders on the far southeast side, he denounced the public schools for providing birth control to teenagers: "You can get condoms in public schools but you can't pray in school."

Two different crowds, two different pitches--so call him a pragmatist. But ultimately, I guess, he wasn't as fast as he thought. 

Tags: ,

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Ben Joravsky

  • Listen to <em>The Ben&nbsp;Joravsky Show</em>

    Listen to The Ben Joravsky Show

    The Ben Joravsky Show is streamed Tuesdays through Fridays between 1 and 3 PM and airs live on the Chicago Reader and Sun-Times websites. It is also being released as a podcast each day after the live taping.
    • Oct 18, 2019
  • The show goes on

    The show goes on

    One era ends and another begins for our beloved First Tuesdays.
    • Oct 16, 2019
  • Size matters

    Size matters

    Chicago teachers have almost no relief for overcrowded classrooms.
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
17th Annual Pilsen Open Studios Citlalin Gallery and Theatre
October 19
Performing Arts
The Great Leap Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre
September 05

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories