If I had to guess, Rich Daley decided to hang it up as mayor because he'd like to spend more time with his family, because he's tapped out on ideas to fill the city's budget hole, because Chicago's failure to win the 2016 Olympics took away some of the fun, and because he's in his late 60's. As the mayor said, "It's time." Daley has always been a more complicated and well-rounded person than the title of "mayor" confers.
But Andrew S. Baer, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern, sees another reason for Daley's stepping down -- to duck the embarrassment sure to follow when a rogue Chicago cop who tortured suspects is sentenced in federal court next month for various charges involving obstruction of justice.
As Baer writes at History News Network, a website for historians weighing in on the issues of the day, Daley is looking "to escape scrutiny for his connection to a ring of over-zealous cops who forced confessions from murder suspects on Chicago's South Side from 1972 through the early 1990s."
Baer predicts the Burge scandal won't end with Burge's sentencing, but likely will lead to charges against other cops and officials directly or indirectly responsible for the reign of torture.
My guess is the Burge mess was the least of Daley's considerations when deciding to retire. He's been getting grief -- and ignoring it -- for years about his failure to do something about Burge back when he, Daley, was Cook County state's attorney. But Baer makes an interesting argument.
If you're unfamiliar with History News Network, by the way, it's a terrific website to drop in on once in awhile, well worth bookmarking. The historians and would-be historians posting there seem to share no one political persuasion, and they bring a perspective to current events you'll find nowhere else.