John Kass

He's good at shaking keys. And some analysts bought his talking points, agreeing with City Hall that talking of police manpower was just too easy.

Too easy? What else is left? A miracle?

According to city data, overall Police Department staffing was about 12,250 at the start of this year, down almost 900 officers from the end of 2009. The Rahmfather has been hiring police, but not at a fast enough rate to keep up with attrition.

Just about every police officer I've talked to feels overworked and tired. They're worn thin. Morale is down. That's what month after month of overtime can do.

On Wednesday, Pat Camden, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, wasn't receptive to the mayor's policies during an interview with me and Lauren Cohn on WLS-AM 890.

"It would have been nice to hear the mayor saying, 'Where were the police? The police are out there doing their job, and if I had more police maybe we wouldn't have had so many shootings.' But that's not the way he operates," Camden said.

There's always money to be found when the politicians want to find it.

Some $50 million has been set aside for yet another monument to a Daley, a park named for the former mayor's late wife. And there's about $600 million or so for a lakefront project that includes a new athletic venue for DePaul University, although the Bulls and Blackhawks offered the use of the United Center rent-free.

And just before his last election, Gov. Pat Quinn found $54.5 million in state cash for a violence-reduction program now being investigated by the feds as a possible political slush fund.

There are not enough good-paying jobs on the predominantly African-American South and West sides. But there seems to be plenty of political cash to toss around.

Meanwhile, Democrats are encouraging waves of unskilled labor from south of the border to compete for what few low-skilled jobs still exist.

Families already savaged by decades of dependency on government programs continue to dissolve. Violence reigns. The giant street gangs have broken up into small and viperous neighborhood cliques.

Many children aren't allowed outside. I remember a detective telling me that for such children, it's like the "Hunger Games" out there.

But the political class in charge for decade after decade after decade -- the Chicago Democrats -- isn't ever held to account nationally.

When seen in the national news, they're about as green as forest ferns. Or they're all about soothing old political scars and healing divisions.

Or they're hip and they know Hollywood and can jump into icy lakes with late-night TV personalities.

All they have to do is rattle the keys, misdirect, smile and turn on the charm.