Rahm Emanuel goes from Top Dog to UnderdogPosted: January 26, 2011
I don’t know what it is about Chicago and the new Millennium, but this city is determined to remain in the media spotlight. In two years, Chicago has tirelessly churned out nationally compelling news stories: Obama’s presidency, Blagojevich’s absurdity, the botched privatization of the parking meters, the failed Olympic bid, last years violent summer including Derrion Albert’s death, King Daley’s shocking retirement, and now, the latest, Rahm Emanuel’s right to run for mayor of Chicago.
When Rahm first announced his candidacy, the local press latched on immediately. Here is a man that has worked for two popular democratic presidents and served as congressman in a very democratic city – making high public support (and internet traffic) from day one not surprising. On top of his popularity, with Emanuel’s extensive experience and connections one could argue Rahm is “overqualified” to be mayor of Chicago (if he is fucking it up, he could just call up Clinton or Obama for advice, right?). So Rahm’s rivals many reasons to be afraid of him, and their reasons for distrusting Rahm foster some merit (mystery still swirls around his Freddie Mae connection).
However, whatever reason Rahm’s rivals may have for fearing him, using influential friends inside Illinois’ court system to try and kick Rahm off the ballot sounds …. almost illegal, as does having judges write weird cryptic definitions of residency. I missed the memo where it was ok for Chicago to take cues from Putin… but nice last ditch effort, I guess? It appears as though Rahm’s rivals did not learn their lesson from the last media-court-circus, when they failed to prove Rahm as a non-resident.
Every normal Chicagoan equates Rahm serving in the White House serving the country, now add to that Rahm: owns a house here, pays taxes, is registered to vote here, and kept all his family valuables in the attic here. On paper he is an Illinois resident. The court ruling to kick Rahm off the ballot, even if it is only temporary, is the same old corrupt politics Chicago is notorious for, and now somehow, Rahm is the underdog despite trending higher than any other candidate in the mayoral polls. Forget about Rahm’s initial popularity and likability- now you have people who don’t even like Rahm saying he should be on the ballot because it’s “the right thing to do”.
Besides coming off as an underdog, Rahm now comes off as a Chi-Town Political Machine outsider. Issues of his residency are now moot. It’s almost as if Rahm escaped the corrupt Chicago (and Springfield) politics by going to work for democratically popular presidents instead. (or, “Fuck that shit” is what I imagine the Mayor Rahm Emanuel twitter persona saying when contemplating local Chicago politics, before his current mayoral run). Ranking the highest in the polls, being a political outsider and now an underdog, Rahm is unstoppable. Chicago, let us embrace the inevitable.