If I were running for dog catcher and former President Bill Clinton wanted to come to town, raise money, and endorse me as the best qualified dog catcher ever- other than the current retiring dog catcher, of course- I'd have him come to town in a second. And everyone in town would see campaign posters on every el stop of President Clinton raising my arm in victory with my dog catcher pole.
If Bill Clinton were coming to town to endorse Danny Davis, he would delight in the opportunity. But because he's coming to support Rahm Emanuel, Davis threatened Clinton. If you have not heard, mayoral candidate Danny Davis told the former President Bill Clinton to stay out of town. In a statement, Danny Davis said:
While we recognize the right of any individual to endorse and support any candidate that they so choose, I am seriously concerned and disturbed by press reports that former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to come to Chicago to campaign for Rahm Emanuel, who is a candidate for Mayor. The African American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however it appears as though some of that relationship maybe fractured and perhaps even broken should former President Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago's Black community.
We respectfully request and urge former President Clinton not to become involved in the Chicago Mayoral Election.
If Rahm Emanuel weren't in the race and Bill Clinton were coming to town to endorse Davis, would he respectfully request and urge President Clinton not to become involved in Chicago politics? Probably not.
But shouldn't we want someone connected to Bill Clinton as mayor of Chicago? Isn't it a good thing that Rahm Emanuel worked in the Clinton White House as a trusted advisor to a living president? Isn't that a pro? Isn't it a pro that he was President Obama's Chief of Staff? I think working closely with two of the most powerful men in the world would be a good thing.
Last time I checked Chicago was running a roughly $650 million deficit for 2011 (although I recently read (meaning I haven't verified this) Mayor Daley plugged that deficit by using the remaining monies he made on selling the parking meters. Meaning that money is gone. All of it. In two years. It was supposed to last decades.) . Cities, especially large ones like Chicago, get a lot of federal money. We receive federal money for education; we receive federal money for public transit; we receive federal money for the CTA. Do you think it would be easier greasing wheels in Washington if our mayor was the former Chief of Staff for the sitting President?
Rahm Emanuel is the person credited with the big gains democrats made in the House and Senate in 2006. The national party is indebted to the guy. Aren't these positives? Having someone with influence and connections (along with an ego) as mayor of Chicago?
So, in an attempt to keep President Clinton from helping Emanuel, Danny Davis injects race into the campaign. Now both black candidates have injected race into the mayoral campaign- and it's shooting them in the foot. Carol Moseley Braun, rather than showing why she is the best candidate, is begging Danny Davis to withdraw from the race so she can become the best black candidate, believing that would bolster her chances at victory. We're back to 1983, instead now, rather than having Jane Byrne and Richard Daley vying for the best white candidate, we have Moseley Braun and Danny Davis vying to be the best black candidate. It seems the play book Carol Moseley Braun and to a lesser extent, Danny Davis, is using was written in 1983. I hope we have moved past that.
Polls are showing the circus is starting to turn Chicagoans off. A December 14th Chicago Tribune poll gave Emanuel 32% of the vote; including 19% of the black vote. A more recent poll, found here showed Emanuel had a 30 point lead with over 43% of the vote.
Rahm Emanuel has had to say nothing while his some of his opponents are doing an excellent job looking childish. Not looking like the mayor of Chicago. The mayor of Chicago should have a little swagger. Unfortunately, the only thing this slate of candidates have done is proven they fear Emanuel. Fear does not equal swagger.
If one of them chooses to run an actual campaign, discussing why they would make the best mayor rather than why Emanuel shouldn't have a former President endorse him, maybe the polls will begin to shift. Danny Davis: Persuade me why you would make the best mayor rather than waste time threatening a former president with something you can't deliver, a fractured relationship between Chicago's black community and Bill Clinton. Empty threats will not change the relationship Bill Clinton enjoys with the black community and certainly isn't going to keep him from coming to Chicago. But those threats will make you look afraid of Rahm Emanuel. Remember: we want swagger, not fear.