A month ago, it was a big political stink that William Jefferson Clinton would deign to set foot in our fair city on behalf of the mayoral aspirations of his one-time senior advisor, Rahm Emanuel.
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But now, one of the people who was all bothered by Clinton’s promised presence in Chicago isn’t even in the race anymore. As for Carol Moseley-Braun (who also was a part of the Clinton presidential administration as an ambassador to New Zealand), she can scream “outsider!” all she wants.
THE REALITY IS that I doubt many people care much what she thinks about this particular point. It comes off too much as sour grapes that Clinton picked him over her when it came to support someone for Chicago mayor.
So Clinton is coming to Chicago on Tuesday, appearing mid-day at a public rally (although tickets are being issued to control the size of the crowd) at the Chicago Cultural Center. Later in the day, he will be attending a fundraising event meant to bring in even more money to pay for those expensive television spots that will try to neutralize Emanuel’s reputation as a foul-mouthed, hard-headed politico and a partisan to the extreme.
The latter event is the one that really matters, because it will give the corporate types who have been more than satisfied with Richard M. Daley a chance to reinforce Rahm’s chances of winning, not only on Feb. 22 but also on April 5.
Not that the earlier event hurts. After all, Bill Clinton standing side by side with Emanuel. Maybe the presence of the former president will even get Daley himself to turn out for the event.
IT’S NOT EXACTLY a mayoral endorsement. But it would create an image of heavy-weight politicians in Clinton and Daley, with Emanuel being the one person running for mayor who deserves to be thought of in their league.
In short, the images could make the rest of the mayoral field look like a batch of local lightweights. So no matter how much Moseley-Braun screams “outsider endorsing an outsider,” keep in mind that not everybody will perceive it that way.
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Personally, I thought it was stupid politically when the officials who complained about Clinton did so publicly. It’s not like they were going to change his mind into coming to Chicago. If anything, all they did was put up a bit of a barricade between themselves and the former president, whose help they may wind up asking for in some future campaign.
Also, I don’t think anyone’s opinion is changed seriously by this event.
THE KIND OF people who are inclined to look down on Emanuel and say they’re voting ABR are going to cast that ballot for anybody but Rahm BECAUSE of the fact that he has ties to Bill Clinton.
Back in 2002 when he first ran for that Northwest Side congressional seat, these people were disgusted with Clinton and were determined that anybody who had any ties to him should be forevermore finished in politics.
Emanuel’s victory was a stake through their vampiric hearts.
Now, many of these same people are disgusted because Emanuel also has ties to Barack Obama. They want to believe that is a kiss of political death – even though anyone looking at various polls in recent weeks can’t help but notice that Obama’s favorability ratings are slowly starting to go up.
THESE PEOPLE AREN’T so much about electing anyone as mayor as much as they are about dumping on Emanuel.
Which is why I can actually respect the Somos Republicanos group. Based out of Arizona, they exist to try to get Latinos to take the Republican Party seriously.
Their leaders are taking an interest in Chicago’s mayoral campaign, and they are honest enough to admit they just don’t want Rahm to win. They cite the failure of Obama to do anything with immigration reform during his first two years of office, which is an issue they could use to stir up Latino voters at large.
But they also admit they’re not pushing for any specific candidate. They’re not for Gery Chico or for Miguel del Valle. They don’t mind Carol Moseley-Braun (mostly because I suspect they already have their file folders out and ready to start using tidbits from the past to trash her rep, should she get elected mayor). They will take any of them.
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IT’S ALL ABOUT Emanuel, whose failure they would try to spin into a sign that even Chicago rejects Clinton/Obama.
I must confess. All of this is why I can’t quite write off Rahm in my own mind. A part of me keeps in mind that people whose best interests aren’t with Chicago at all are the ones who most want us to be outraged by Emanuel, or by the fact that Clinton will make his first visit to our city since just before the November elections – back then, he was just trying to convince Democrats in Chicago to turn out to vote.
Which they did! There was a respectable vote in Chicago proper, which was the reason why we still have a Democrat as governor and in most of the state constitutional offices, and Democrats running the Illinois General Assembly.
If the Clinton influence continues, maybe we will get “Mayor Emanuel” – no matter how much some people want to engage in ridiculous rhetoric.