Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Be careful what you wish for.

     A guy takes one day off...
     Tries to stretch a long Labor Day weekend to my parents in Colorado. And look what happens.  Rahm Emanuel takes his ball and goes home.
     I can't fish for pity. Because City Hall dean Fran Spielman was also on vacation the day Rahm Emanuel threw in the towel. Knowing Fran, that has to sting, unless of course Rahm timed the announcement so Fran wouldn't be there to grill him like a chicken wing. Then it's a compliment. Besides, she already had turned up the pressure on him last week. 
     And the truth is, I stopped paying attention to Rahm a long time ago. 
     After Laquan McDonald, Rahm Emanuel seemed exquisitely beside the point, as if he too had been gunned down that October night on South Pulaski Road. Did the mayor cover up the shooting? Or was he just willfully ignorant of the tape? Let the voters decide!
     Either way, he certainly was powerless to curb violence in Chicago. Or indifferent. Voters were calling for his head, demanding that he resign. The police he was sucking up to certainly didn't like him any better. There must have been blood in the water, because a dozen opponents were jostling, piglets at the trough, to challenge him. 
     Now they've gotten what they wanted, sort of. A slow motion resignation. 
     I thought Eric Zorn hit the nail squarely with his observation that now Chicago can have an election about the city's future and its multitude of problems and not a referendum about the past and how Rahm didn't fix all those problems. 
    Not that any of these chuckleheads running will fix them either, those I suppose some would fail more spectacularly than others. 
     Seven years. The Era of Rahm Emanuel. Let the assessments begin! I can't say I miss him. At first my view was, "He may be a jerk, but he's our jerk." The jerk working hard for the City of Chicago. A working jerk, the political genius we need to fix our pension time bomb, our staggering schools, our bleeding neighborhoods. It seems only yesterday Rahm was such an appealing politician we half assumed he had to be slumming, merely running for mayor of Chicago. Just a gig, the day job to keep him in fighting trim while he Talleyranded his path to the Oval Office.
    Now both mayor and White House are both bespattered. Maybe that's it—the presidency is so diminished, it's ready for Rahm to assume his rightful position.
    Out of office, he'll go from being our jerk to just a jerk. I can't pretend to care what Rahm will do after he leaves office—make more money, I suppose. Join Rich Daley in whatever half-light limbo netherworld former Chicago mayors reside in, limiting themselves to four or five locations and a few dozen cronies and, of course, foreign travel and buckraking.  We still have months of victory lap, of self-congratulations and flattering figures to endure. He did spruce up the river, I grant him that.


  1. Wikipedia seems to have the most up to date list of Chicago 2019 Mayoral candidates. At the moment the leading candidate looks to be Garry McCarthy, wince. The most competent of the lot is probably Paul Vallas.

  2. I can't say i expected this. In fact i considered a third term to be a hard fought battle but an inevitability none the less.

  3. My guess may not be quite as educated as Neil's, but I think Rahm is much more ambitious than Daley and has more fish to fry politically. Seems he can make money without half trying, so that's hardly a challenge for him. Getting out of Chicago without completely destroying his reputation -- now that's a challenge.


  4. Richie and Rahm prettied up parts of the city but kicked the problems down the road. The nice shiny coat of paint will fade in the sun and peel away with age but the bills will still come due. A suburbanite, I am mostly unknowing of the particular candidates. Ben Joravsky says newcomers attracted by Rahm's absence should not be welcome, and outsiders as well. Being a Chicago native is no certain qualification, junior Daley is proof positive of that. But Chicago needs the best candidate available, to maintain the best of the previous administrations while cleaning up the significant mess they left behind. Even if that candidate is a Daley, though I would need a visit from Gabriel or Moroni to convince me of that. Good Luck, Chicago.

  5. Off the exact point, but listening to the Kavanaugh hearing, they're talking about separation of powers, limiting factions being so important. Kavanaugh holds up a tattered copy of the Constitution as proof of his love and reverence for that document. But Republicans have been working for years to consolidate power to their decreasing minority. They have become a faction unhappy to accept a common truth, that democracy means you don't always get your way. Kavanaugh waving his well worn pamphlet is no more sincere than any politician who crowds his stage with scores of American flags as supposed proof of his patriotism. Trump just claimed he'd heard ten years ago about Kavanaugh's Supreme Court qualifications. Yeah, me too. Every day a new shitstorm.

  6. We may miss Rahm when he’s gone. He had no way of preventing guns from flowing into the city and no way of preventing hoodlums from using them to kill each other. Chicago’s reputation for all the crime has probably meant that Amazon will choose another location. Thus 50,000 jobs won’t come to help provide some jobs that could boost morale in needy neighborhoods.


This blog posts comments at the discretion of the proprietor.