- On February 22, Chicago's mayoral primary will be held.
If no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, an April 5 runoff will be held,
the winner's term running from May 16, 2011 - May 18, 2015. Democrats dominate
city politics. The last Republican mayor ("Big Bill" Thompson)
left office in 1931. The Great Depression ended their rule when Anton Cermak
took over, built a strong constituency among African Americans, and consigned
Republicans to small pockets on the city's far northwest side and suburban
- Richard J. Daley and his son Richard M. (current incumbent
leaving office after six terms) ran Chicago like Republicans for over 43
of the last 55 years. If elected, so will Emanuel as a previous article
explained, accessed through the following link:
- His Background
- 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. It
earned him the nickname "Rahmbo."
- 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. After being elected to Congress, he left, 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." 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 any US politician, especially influential ones.
- In Congress and as chief of staff, he supported Israel's
illegal belligerency and occupation, as well as being shamelessly pro-war
and neoliberal. He's for business, not populist interests, his abrasive
style alienating him from anyone with opposing views.
- 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.
- As mayor, Emanuel will govern accordingly. However, though
far ahead in the polls, his residency status is at issue. A lower court
ruled him eligible. The Illinois Appellate Court reversed the decision
2 - 1. Appealed to the state Supreme Court, it ruled unanimously for Emanuel
on January 27, letting him run for mayor.
- On January 25, Chicago Tribune writers Jeff Cohen, Annie
Sweeney and Hal Dardick headlined, "State Supreme Court gives Emanuel
a reprieve," saying:
- Letting his name stay on the ballot, it will soon decide
his eligibility to run. "The developments capped a whirlwind 24 hours
(that began) when the Appellate Court" ruled against him, "send(ing
his) legal team scrambling to save his candidacy for Chicago's top office
as opponents rushed to pick off potential supporters."
- Illinois Law and Legal Opinions Ahead of the Supreme
- Seven justices ruled. Legal experts believed quickly.
Long-time Chicago appellate attorney, Steve Merican, said "justices
will give an answer in anywhere from 12 hours to a few days, though it's
impossible to know for sure. But the fact that they took it early clearly
is a positive for Emanuel."
- He and other experts said, its options were as follows:
- -- reinstating Emanuel regardless of legal residency,
saying the Appellate Court overreached by interfering with the Chicago
Board of Election Commissioners' decision; or, more likely,
- -- issuing a "landmark ruling" on the matter,
setting a precedent that could have national implications.
- However, doing so was considered no guarantee for Emanuel.
According to Mike Rathsack, an American Academy of Appellate Lawyers fellow:
- "Underneath this all is probably the worry in the
(Emanuel) camp that the court could affirm, with a holding that they are
just following the law, and they can only deal with what the Legislature
enacted, not what (it) intended to enact."
- In their Supreme Court filing, Emanuel's lawyers called
the Appellate decision arbitrary. They argued that by requiring candidates
to be physically present, and failing to say if government service takes
precedence, it blocked someone like Obama from running for local politics.
- Their filing states:
- "Illinois has proudly provided the federal government
with some of the most talented public servants in our nation's history.
(They) include two presidents (Obama and Lincoln), who under the Appellate
Court's decision could not return to Illinois following their presidencies
and continue their public service as elected officials."
- In fact, Illinois residency law dates from 1818, the
same year it became a state, affirming candidate eligibility only for qualified
voters who've "resided in the municipality at least one year preceding
the election or appointment."
- Previously, however, aspirants who moved away could demonstrate
an intention to return by leaving their voter registration and driver's
license unchanged as Emanuel did. Moreover, legal experts said courts never
dismiss candidates' intentions out of hand.
- According to Chicago attorney Michael Dorf, an election
- "We've all been working under this absolute presumption
based on cases of the last 50 years that intent was really the key. But
the appellate court got rid of intent totally."
- Ohio State University Law Professor Edward Foley, head
of the school's election law program, called the decision striking, saying:
- "There is a general theme in election law that when
in doubt, you err on the side of democracy. If there is any doubt about
the understanding of the statute, you interpret it so that you let the
- Nonetheless, both state and municipal codes leave some
questions unanswered. For example, the latter says people who've been away
performing military service remain eligible, and no one loses residency
for engaging in "business of the United States."
- According to Dorf, however, these provisions apply to
voting, not office seeking, muddying the waters even more. He said the
law specifically requires physical residency for at least 12 months without
defining it or specifying the exact number of days. Nor does it say if
maintaining voting eligibility is enough or what precisely is the "business
of the United States." Nonetheless, Dorf expects a Supreme Court reversal,
letting Emanuel run. Others agree.
- Illinois law differs markedly from federal law, letting
candidates run for Congress without establishing residency. In 2004, Maryland
resident Alan Keyes was Obama's Republican Senate opponent. According to
University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield, "About the
only time (he) spent in Chicago was changing planes at O'Hare."
- Early voting begins on January 31. Polls open on February
22. Ahead of the Supreme Court ruling, most experts believed Emanuel's
eligibility would be affirmed, though Steve Merican said his lawyers "have
the tougher row to hoe" making their case. "It's not an easy
question. The majority (Appellate) opinion and the dissent both contained
good rationale and good legal reasoning. It's not (a) slam dunk for either
side." Smart money, however, picked Emanuel who'll likely be Chicago's
next mayor, the office he's long sought.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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