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

Superintendent Vincent Matthews said some students and families who want to return will not be able to do so at this time. “We truly wish we could reopen schools for everyone,” he said. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD sets April reopening date after reaching tentative agreement with teachers union

San Francisco Unified School District has set April 12 as its reopening… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation intended to help California schools reopen. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Newsom signs $6.6 billion school reopening legislative package

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Gov. Gavin Newsom and state… Continue reading

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

A construction worker watches a load for a crane operator at the site of the future Chinatown Muni station for the Central Subway on Tuesday, March 3, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Major construction on Central Subway to end by March 31

SFMTA board approves renegotiated contract with new deadline, more contractor payments

Most Read