Monday, March 10, 2014

Emanuel needs Austin (as in Texas) money because Austin (as in Chicago) residents likely aren't among his fans

When I first learned that Mayor Rahm Emanuel planned to be in Austin on Monday and to include a significant fundraiser, my first reaction was something along the line of, "What the ....!?!!"

But I quickly figured out that Emanuel's "Austin" was the state capital of Texas, and not the West Side neighborhood.

EMANUEL PLANS TO lead a Chicago delegation to the South By Southwest festival, and the people who organize the Lollapalooza festival every year have a fundraiser set to help add to the Emanuel re-election fund.

Some might want to claim this is the reward for Emanuel because the city extended the group's contract to hold Lollapalooza in Grant Park through 2021. Although if it were that blatant a trade-off, I'm sure the U.S. Attorney would be involved in seeking an indicment against Hizzoner.

What a better political trophy for a federal prosecutor than the mayor himself!

It might seem odd for a Chicago mayor to be seeking political money while roaming around Texas. Although our mayor these days has a higher national (and international) profile than most political people.

DO YOU REALLY think Robert Redford and CNN would be doing a series about Chicago if Emanuel were just some typical municipal schlep?

All of this is part of a strategy by Emanuel as he prepares to seek re-election come the 2015 election cycle. The Chicago Tribune reported that he has about $6.2 million as of now -- which is about the same amount that gubernatorial candidate (and Emanuel friend) Bruce Rauner has spent on his own Republican primary campaign thus far.

The Rauner strategy thus far has been to outspend everyone else into oblivion so that the challengers become insignificant and can't keep up with his attempts at self image-making.

EMANUEL: Campaign-fund wealthy
Which likely is what Emanuel also wants to do -- if anyone winds up having the nerve to take him on. There are plenty of people who are willing to bad-mouth the mayor, but no one willing to say they're willing to challenge him.

EVEN KAREN LEWIS, the Chicago Teachers Union boss who doesn't hesitate to trash Emanuel's professional abilities, has said she doesn't want to be mayor. The same goes for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle -- whom some consider the best-qualified challenger to Emanuel.

So all of this fund-raising may be for naught -- except to the degree that Emanuel's big-bucks will scare off everybody except for the Tio Hardimans (as in the Democrat with dreams of beating Pat Quinn in next weeks' primary) of the world.

Of course, about the only reason that Emanuel might be even remotely vulnerable is because of the fact that his actions, particularly those meant to get involved in the Chicago Public School system, have ticked off the African-American segment of the electorate.

Rahm's challenger
There are those black would-be voters who felt willing in 2011 to back Rahm because he was a former chief-of-staff (and ally) to Barack Obama. They feel sold-out.

WHICH IS WHY the idea of Emanuel holding a fund-raiser in the Austin neighborhood, with its heavily-African-American population, would be so absurd.

Now if only those voters could find a way to unite behind an Emanuel challenger, then perhaps he'd have a real need for all the money he's going to raise Monday, and at future events throughout the upcoming year.


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