Mayor Rahm

Last week’s surprise announcement that Mayor Richard M. Daley (aka “Hizzoner”) would be stepping down has thrown Chicago politics into a tailspin. The cocktail party game du jour is speculating over who’s going to run – and with exploratory committees popping up left and right, it’s likely to be an ugly fight. As a recovering Chicagoan, I find the contest a fascinating contrast in narcissism and masochism (who really wants to inherit a $655 million budget shortfall, after all?)

Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez have all but thrown their hats in the ring, and many more are certain to follow. The name on everyone’s lips, though, is that of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Speaking with Charlie Rose in April 2010, Emanuel said that running for mayor of Chicago has always been an “aspiration” of his. At the time, Daley – a wordsmith, if there ever was one – simply stated that he admired Emanuel for having dreams and that “everybody would love to be mayor of Chicago,” rather than endorsing the proposition.

Ouch.

Yet now, months later, Daley’s resignation throws that door wide open. President Obama has said that he thinks Rahm would make a “terrific” mayor, and as a hometown politician, that endorsement is likely to carry a lot of water. But as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet points out, “Rahm has money, but no solid base.” It’s not an insurmountable problem – after all, Emanuel was a hugely successful political strategist when he ran the DCCC – but there’s a lot of ground to be made up before the primary takes place. (Not to mention the fact that it’s a little bit more, uh, delicate to earn support through tit-for-tat transactions when you’re in the spotlight.)

Despite Daley’s many foibles, one of his best qualities has been his ability to unite Chicago’s disparate ethnic groups and keep the peace – not unlike Tito in Yugoslavia. (To some, the similarities don’t end there, but I’m not going to get into that.) Will Rahm will be able to follow in Daley’s footsteps and build a winning coalition – or will the Windy City just blow him off? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Prop. 21 would allow San Francisco city officials to expand rent control to cover thousands more units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tenant advocates take another try at expanding rent control with Prop. 21

Measure would allow city to impose new protections on properties 15 years or older

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. 
Courtesy 
Dennis Leupold
Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Most Read