Just weeks after White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was rumored to be Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's replacement, a Wall Street Journal piece now is suggesting that Democrats and the Obama White House might want to replace Alexi Giannoulias as their candidate for U.S. senator from Illinois with Emanuel.
One intriguing idea being considered: Force Mr. Giannoulias out of the
race and replace him with . . . Rahm Emanuel. Mr. Emanuel is still
popular in Illinois and there was a big push to get him handpicked as
the Obama successor back in late 2008. Democrats have used the
shaft-and-shift strategy before, as in New Jersey in 2002 when they
dumped a walking wounded Bob Torricelli as their Senate candidate a few
weeks before Election Day.
Democrats in Illinois are even more proficient at the shaft-and-shift
strategy, a recent example is how Scott Lee Cohen, a Chicago pawnbroker
who won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, was forced off
the ticket and then replaced by Downstate Sheila Simon, a Southern
Illinois University professor and daughter of Democratic icon, former Sen. Paul Simon.
Nonetheless, the idea of Rahm Emanuel at the top of the Democratic
ticket is an intriguing idea. The man has powerful political organizing
skills, but he's also regarded as the bad boy of Chicago politics who
has made many enemies. I may be alone in this, but I don't see Emanuel
as the clear winner in a race against the Republican candidate, Rep.
Besides, would Emanuel, whose ego extends to the far reaches of the
Solar System, be satisfied being Illinois' junior Senator, sitting in
the shadow of Sen. Dick Durbin. Durbin is now Number 2 in the party's
senate leadership, and the sight of Emanuel ascending the Senate step
might not be most welcome. Durbin, for now, remains Giannoulias'
The one thing that is becoming increasing clear is that Emanuel's days in the White House are numbered. Emanuel said he only wanted it to be a two-year gig, but it's also possible that his grating personality was too much for President Barack Obama and his senior adviser, David Axelrod, to take.
By the way, news reports keep referring to Barack Obama's former Senate seat. As if they need to be reminded that it's actually Roland Burris' old seat, who was appointed by discredited former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The way it was done is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald.