2008 is the Year of Chicago.
The core of the Democratic Party is shifting to Chicago where our ruthlessly pragmatic style of politics and governing has produced the next presidential nominee. Only our unique political culture where the patronage-fueled organizations traditionally embrace intellectual reformers at the top of the ticket could have allowed a law professor and progressive legislator's campaign to beat the entrenched status quo of the Democratic Party and produce a stronger message to win in November.
The politics and culture of Houston that generated the current president and holds such a disproportionate impact over the nation's political culture is likely giving way to the politics and culture of Chicago.
The nation's most important mayor - the longest-serving - is Mayor Richard Daley.
The number four man in the House is Rahm Emanuel from Chicago and the number two man in the Senate owns a Chicago condo - Dick Durbin from Illinois. Given the likely churn in January, both of those men might amass more clout in the next Congress. Congressman Emanuel is also the natural bridge between two of the major forces of the Democratic Party, the Clintons and the new Obama Administration, as he served in the Clinton Administration.
The nation's best political consultant, David Axelrod, lives and works in Chicago.
Chicago is the United States' choice for the 2016 Olympic summer games and, just as the world's eyes are currently on Beijing, the world's eyes may very well be in Chicago eight years from now. Chicago, of course, beat out every other city in the nation for the opportunity to represent the United States in this Olympic hosting competition, and if we clinch the ultimate victory in 2009 and beat out Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janiero to host the games, we will clearly have established our dominance in Olympic competition.
Our best theatre company, Steppenwolf, just dominated the Tony Awards.
The best crime movie of the last decade and likely the most financially successful movie of all time, "The Dark Knight," is clearly set in Chicago.
The most beautiful and largest residential building in the world - the Santiago Calatrava-designed Chicago Spire - is under construction on the bank of the Chicago River by the shore of Lake Michigan.
Perhaps most importantly, both the Cubs and the White Sox are leading their divisions (the Cubs have the best record in the National League) and a CTA Red Line subway series this October is looking more and more likely. (This would be a real subway series where the same transit line - the Red Line -- directly connects Wrigley Field and the Sox's U.S. Cellular Field).
Proudly multi-racial, ruthlessly pragmatic, open to hustling newcomers and somewhat audacious, Chicago's unique culture is ascendant.