I don’t know about that. I always thought of Rahm as more oily than caustic, a salubrious insider slithering through the drain pipes of power, popping up through a grate to lubricate a momentary ally, then dissolving into the gutter with a wet splat, and gone.
Now our current mayor, well, I don’t have much direct personal experience to bring to the table. Lightfoot sat down for an hour with me and my colleague Lauren FitzPatrick for a profile when she was running in 2019. Lightfoot struck me then not as caustic but guarded, measured, deliberate. Not personable in the look-you-in-the-eye-and-ask-about-your-dog sense. Not much eye contact, really.
But then, Lightfoot isn’t a politician. Her campaign chairman told me as much while we chatted at an ACLU luncheon. A reluctant campaigner, he said, she had to be dragged into a room of potential supporters, where she’d stand, regarding them with disgust, until poked. Then she’d murmur something and flee.
Voters claim to like that. They seem to like electing officials who aren’t politicians. Yet they wouldn’t hire a plumber that way, based on complete lack of familiarity with plumbing.
We saw the result again at Wednesday’s bizarre, amateur hour City Council meeting. Maybe we’re used to Rahm, and Rich Daley before him, who turned the Council into a trained seal act, rearing up on command, clapping their flippers together and barking approval in unison in return for a herring delivered in private.
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