Rahm Emanuel is a lot of things. Corrupt. Manipulative. Money grubbing. Vindictive. Crude. Hypocritical. Disingenuous. Emanuel reminds me of Danny Devito's Oswald Cobblepot AKA "The Penguin."
Since the day he launched his campaign for Mayor of Chicago last September, I've been hearing him in my head saying, "You gotta admit, I've played this stinking city like a harp from Hell" over and over and over again.
Rahm Emanuel is everything that people say they don't want: A politician with a history of ruthless, deceitful political tactics who has used every opportunity to flout the law and line his pockets at the expense of the people he is supposed to be serving. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I've always thought that the City of Chicago deserved more than that; They deserve better than a Rahm Emanuel.
That is why I have opposed Emanuel at every possible turn. I have confronted him. I have questioned him. And I have objected to him. Chicago Democrats and Republicans, liberals and so-called conservatives have (fearfully) told me to stop. The question is: why? If you are all so afraid of Rahm Emanuel shouldn't you be opposing him now? And where the heck have you been? It's cowardice in Chicago as usual. The politicos are worried about their jobs. They're worried they won't be invited to the cocktail party or the program director won't keep them on the radio or that the mainstream media won't include their quote in their story.
Now, it is not hard for me to understand why the Chicago media are ardent supporters of Emanuel. They understand where the power base is. They know who they want to butter their bread.
Since the Illinois Appellate Court issued its verdict Monday booting Rahm off the ballot, the media have cried out, often hysterically, about Rahm and the First Amendment. They've used words like "voter disenfranchisement." They say Rahm should not be "penalized" for serving his country.
The Chicago Sun-Times stated:
The truest words issued by an Illinois Appellate Court Justice on Monday were these: Striking Rahm Emanuel's name from the ballot for mayor of Chicago unfairly "disenfranchises ... every voter in Chicago who would consider voting for him."
The Chicago Tribune called out the Illinois Appellate Court decision for its "twisted reasoning."
Happily for Rahm, he was able to cite all these newspaper editorials in his new "Let Rahm Run" ad campaign. The Los Angeles Times' editorial, "Let Rahm Run" even picked up the campaign slogan for its headline.
How convenient for Rahm. What a f***ing sympathetic figure.
Interestingly enough, the Chicago media has been nowhere to be found for decades as candidate after candidate after candidate has been thrown off the ballot for reasons both petty and small. Where were the cries of voter disenfranchisement when a Chicago aldermanic candidate was thrown off the ballot for not paying a $60 parking ticket? Where were the cries of First Amendment rights being denied when GOP mayoral candidate Tom Hanson was thrown off the ballot because the Chicago Board of Elections lost HIS Statement of Economic Interest? When Rahm Emanuel attempted to get his congressional opponent thrown off the ballot, where was the Chicago media then?
Or does the Chicago media's interpretation of the First Amendment and voter disenfranchisement hinge on the candidate at issue?
No answer, eh?
Now comes all the Chicago media stories citing a new poll by the "We Ask America" Chicago Retail Merchants Association revealing that - since the First Amendment media sympathy brigade for Rahm - Emanuel has now broken the 50% mark in voter approval needed for him to avoid a run-off and win the Chicago mayoral race outright on February 22nd.
After the hardcore "First Amendment" media campaign to manipulate voters, I don't blame Chicagoans for not being wise to the game. As a native Southsider, I also understand where many Chicagoans are coming from. I understand the political nostalgia of being a Chicagoan.
Growing up in the 19th ward in Beverly, I, like many others, was raised to revere the original Mayor Richard J. Daley and the odd assortment of characters that populated the Chicago City Council. In the heavily Irish neighborhood of Mouth Greenwood, you can still walk into the bungalowed living room of a Chicago cop and see on an end table a collection of pictures - Mayor Richard J. Daley, Pope John Paul II, and...Elvis - a makeshift shrine to the "old ways."
But the "old ways" are not today and the "new" Chicago machine that Emanuel represents will not be good for Chicago. Whether the legal gymnastics to recreate Rahm as a "resident" of Chicago are applied or not.
Let's hope that the actually law prevails this time.
It would serve Emanuel and the Chicago media right.