- An earlier article discussed Chicago politics under father
and son Daley - Richard J. (mayor from April 20, 1955 - December 20, 1976)
and Richard M. (mayor since April 24, 1989), both called "Hizzhonor"
or "Hizzhonor Da Mare."
- Last winning a sixth term on February 27, 2007 by a 70%
majority, most observers expected he'd seek another in 2011, but not so.
The Chicago Tribune, on September 7, announced it, headlining, "Daley
won't run for re-election: 'I have done my best,' saying:
- "Mayor Richard Daley says he will not run for re-election
in 2011," saying it's: "time for me, it's time for Chicago to
move on. The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several
months. In the end, this is a personal decision, no more, no less. I have
always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they
won't agree always with you. Obviously, they don't like it when you make
a mistake. But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult
decisions, rooted in what's right for them."
- For 21 years, that's what I've tried to do. But today,
I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as mayor of the city of
- One reason may be his wife's health, battling breast
cancer since 2002 as well as recovering from leg surgery, damaged by cancer
and radiation treatment.
- His popularity is also at issue, summer polls showing
over half of Chicago voters saying they don't want him back:
- -- 37% approve of his job as mayor;
- -- 47% disapprove; and
- -- a record low 31% want him re-elected compared to 53%
- Besides crime, corruption, and other issues, the weak
economy is key. It forced budget cuts, staff reductions, mass teacher layoffs,
and a record $655 million budget shortfall, a combination leaving all city
politicians vulnerable and defensive. At least half a dozen aldermen won't
run again, voter dissatisfaction affecting them like Daley.
- In early 2010, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel
expressed interest in the job, though never by challenging the incumbent,
whom he served as strategist and fundraiser in his first campaign. He's
now unencumbered, the UK Telegraph's Alex Spillius headlining on June 20,
"Rahm Emanuel expected to quit White House," saying:
- At issue are policy and style differences as well as
burnout from the pressure of "one of the most high profile jobs in
US politics," a leading Democrat consultant saying:
- "Nobody thinks it's working but they can't get rid
of him - that would look awful. He needs the right sort of job to go to
but the consensus is he'll go."
- Another insider expects he'll announce it after the November
midterm elections that look grim for Democrats. "It is well known
in Washington" that Emanuel often clashes with other administration
officials, his abrasive style "rubb(ing) some people the wrong way,"
while struggling to smooth Obama's legislative program through Congress.
"Every vote has been tough, from health care to energy to financial
reform," and some have been stalled.
- "Emanuel (also) reportedly told friends that his
role as White House chief of staff was 'only an eighteen month job' because
of its intensity." It involves controlling and promoting the president's
agenda, enforcing discipline, and liaising with Congress. Look for his
announced decision, perhaps shortly after November 2 when the results are
in, the new Congress is announced, and the dust settles. According to friends,
he wants to go home, his birth city, where he served six years in the House
representing Illinois' 5th congressional district.
- On September 8, The Hill writer Jordan Fabian headlined,
"Axelrod hints Emanuel may run for Chicago mayor," saying:
- He "hinted strongly" that he's "weighing
a bid for Chicago's open mayoral" position....(Obama's senior advisor)
Axelrod's comments....one of the strongest suggestions" that he plans
a run. On NBC's Today Show, he said he'll "make his decision in due
- On September 14, Chicago Sun Times writer Lynn Sweet
headlined, "Rahm's pollster asking about a run for mayor," saying:
- Stanley Greeberg will "survey Chicagoans about (his)
potential mayoral bid," Emanuel also "activat(ing) his Chicago
network of pals to reach out to (local) political figures....on his behalf."
Last week, in fact, Obama "said he would make an excellent mayor,"
but he'll need more than that, as well as handling potential challengers.
Former Senator Carol Mosley Braun is one, signaling a comeback under the
"Carol for Chicago" banner.
- Some Background on Emanuel
- Born in Chicago, his political career began in a number
of capacities in local and national politics, including:
- -- Democrat Paul Simon's 1984 election;
- -- in 1988, as political director for the Democrat Congressional
Campaign Committee (DCCC), and
- -- senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M.
Daley's first 1989 campaign, helping him become Bill Clinton's finance
director in 1992.
- He joined his 1991 primary campaign, worked in his "War
Room," and served as senior advisor from 1993 - 1998. Initially he
was Assistant to the President for Political Affairs but was fired for
his profane, abrasive style, rubbing many around him the wrong way, earning
the nickname "Rahmbo."
- In the late 1980s, he once sent a rotting fish to a pollster
whom he accused of conducting inaccurate and poorly prepared research,
and clashed often with others around him.
- Nonetheless, he recouped by lobbying Congress for NAFTA,
worked to reinvent Clinton as a centrist, and became a leading White House
strategist. Politico called him "a consistent voice for anti-crime
measures, welfare reform and other initiatives that pushed against liberal
orthodoxy," besides being one-sided for Israel and pro-business, essential
credentials for aspiring politicians.
- From 1999 - 2002, he was managing director for the Chicago
investment bank firm Dresdner, Kleinwort, Wasserstein, earning a reported
$18 million, a near impossible feat for a newcomer leaving some to ask
how. He then left after being elected to Congress, his first term beginning
on January 3, 2003.
- In 2005, he was named Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee (DCCC) Chair, heading fundraising efforts to increase the party's
congressional representation, saying in his new role "winning is everything."
On November 6, 2008, Obama named him chief of staff. With the nation facing
economic depression, he told the Wall Street Journal:
- "You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.
What I mean by that is that's an opportunity to do things you couldn't
do before," and he didn't mean populist ones.
- In Congress, he was the fourth ranked House Democrat.
A hawk, neoliberal, and pro-Israeli hard-liner, now deceased Chicago activist/investigative
reporter, and founder and chairman of the Citizens Committee to Clean up
the Courts, Sherman Skolnick, called him the "acting deputy chief
for North America of Mossad."
- His father, Benjamin Emanuel (changed from Auerbach in
1936 by his grandfather Exekiel), a Jerusalem-born pediatrician, was involved,
pre-1948, with smuggling weapons to the Irgun. The terror group, headed
by former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, conducted regular massacres and
targeted assassinations, including the infamous 1946 King David Hotel bombing,
killing 91 and injuring dozens more.
- Emanuel is as hard line as his father, dismissive of
Palestinian interests, and in 1991, served as a civilian IDF volunteer
during the Gulf War. It's believed he holds dual citizenships, a dubious
status for a top White House official.
- In Congress and as chief of staff, he supports Israeli
belligerency and ruthless occupation. He also backs the Iraq and Afghan
wars, other proxy ones, America's imperial dominance, the "War on
Terror," and as a shameless neoliberal, drastic social cuts to pay
for them. He's for business, not populist interests, and his abrasive style
makes him intolerable of other views and people sharing them.
- He's also a prominent Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)
member, the far-to-the-right-of center organization Ralph Nader calls "corporatist
(and) soulless," ideologically like Republicans. He and the DLC are
anti-populist, anti-labor, anti-welfare, pro-business, strongly for US
imperialism, militarism, global wars, and world dominance. Nader explained
- "To the DLC mind, Democrats are catering to 'special
interests' when they stand up for trade unions, regulatory consumer-investor
protections, a preemptive peace policy overseas, pruning the bloated military
budget now devouring (the federal budget), defending Social Security from
Wall Street schemes, and pressing for universal health care coverage. So
right-wing is the DLC....that even opposing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy....is
considered ultra-liberal and contrary to winning campaigns."
- DLC members are hardline against rights for Blacks, Hispanics,
Latino immigrants, Muslims, labor, the poor, consumer protections, populism,
progressivism, environmental protection, peace and those for it, prosecuting
corporate criminals, honest elections, and democratic governance.
- Emanuel strongly advocates these and other far right
positions, leaving longtime residents like this writer uneasy over him
as mayor. If he runs the city like the White House, Chicagoans may yearn
for Daley back, despite his pro-business, anti-populist agenda, earning
him Time magazine's 2005 recognition as "the nation's top urban executive,"
and 2009 Wall Street Journal praise as "The President's Mayor, a fix-it,
- Emanuel replacing him will create, not alleviate the
many problems now plaguing the city, a cross ordinary Chicagoans bear most
plus whatever greater burden he'll add. Where are you Harold Washington
when you're needed? By defeating the Daley machine, he became Chicago's
first Black mayor (April 29, 1983 - November 25, 1987) until his premature
death, remembered fondly as "Harold, the People's Mayor," the
title of Dempsey Travis' 1988 book about him..
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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