Saturday, October 26, 2013

The week’s non-news: Emanuel endorses gov for re-election

A great big yawn was about the only reaction I could feel when I learned of the reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel WILL offer his support to Gov. Pat Quinn’s upcoming bid for re-election.

QUINN: Knows who his friends are
Emanuel said so to Crain’s Chicago Business, where the Associated Press then picked up on the report – disseminating it into little space-filling briefs that appeared in newspapers across the state.

CONSIDERING THAT QUINN appears to be the only candidate of consequence who will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor in the 2014 election cycle, what choice does Emanuel really have?

The fact that Emanuel said he and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner have serious disagreements about politics and government’s role in our society doesn’t mean that the two are in a mortal feud that cannot be resolved.

The two are friends of a sort, because Emanuel is the type of Democrat who has his comfort level with the corporate set and doesn’t view them as life-long enemies.

If anything, Emanuel has always had his problems with the segment of the Democratic Party that relies on their government officials to defend their liberal social ideals.

JUST AS RAUNER’S problems in the primary is going to come from the large swath of GOP voters who want to have elected officials who will turn the government into an entity that will uphold their socially conservative ideals over all other people in our society.

The fact that the two men use differing political labels (the “D” versus the “R”) doesn’t mean they wouldn’t find ways to work together. A “Mayor Emanuel” may well find he’s more comfortable with a “Governor Rauner” than he has ever been with Quinn.

But the mayor is giving the official backing to Quinn because of the party label.

EMANUEL: Backing Quinn publicly. But privately?
But it is just talk if it doesn’t come with the mayor using his political muscle and strategically conniving mind to come up with ways to turn out the Chicago vote en masse for Quinn.

WE COULD EASILY get an election cycle where Emanuel doesn’t do a thing to undermine a Rauner campaign – which could result in it having a chance to gain support against a Quinn re-election bid!

It is kind of reminiscent of the 1998 election cycle in which then-Congressman Glenn Poshard got the Democratic Party nomination for governor, but never erased the public perception that then-Mayor Richard M. Daley was more comfortable dealing with George Ryan – who went on to win that particular election.

Could Quinn get the same private undermining that Poshard got? He barely won a majority of the Chicago vote for governor, which allowed Ryan to prevail with the more traditional vote in GOP-leaning parts of the state!

Now Quinn and Poshard are hardly alike. Ryan and Rauner also are extremes.

BUT THE POINT being that an endorsement proves the accuracy of the axiom “Talk is Cheap!” Just because Emanuel publicly says he’s not opposed to Quinn does not mean he really is all that enthused with the idea of having him as governor for the rest of his time as mayor.

For Emanuel definitely seems to view the political set-up the way other public officials do – that state government is meant to be subservient to the interests of local government and that a governor ought to be interested in propping up Chicago so that its problems don’t spread over to the state as a whole!

On casinos alone, Quinn has been unacceptable to that viewpoint.

It’s also good to see that Quinn seems to realize that his allegiance with Emanuel only goes so far.

FOR IT WAS reported on Friday that the governor has a new person on his staff to help deal with communications and his public image.

RAUNER: Emanuel's real backing?
That person is Stephanie Gadlin, who until now has been the spokeswoman for the Chicago Teachers Union. As on the public mouthpiece for union boss Karen Lewis – the outspoken (in her own right) critic who has made her distaste for Emanuel well known.

I’m sure a lot of the things that Gadlin has said publicly about Emanuel were influenced by her employer.

But if Emanuel’s support for Quinn turns out to be fairly lame, at least the governor will have someone on his payroll (whether the state or the campaign) who won’t blush at the thought of saying something nasty about Rahm-bo.


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