Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I doubt Rahm is quaking in his boots; he’s Hizzoner for some time to come

I find it amusing, and distorting, to hear about these new polls claiming that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s approval ratings among Chicagoans is on the decline.

EMANUEL: Going nowhere anytime soon
As though someone is trying to create the impression that the people are ready to put Emanuel’s head on a pike in front of the Picasso statue come the 2015 election cycle.

WHICH MIGHT WELL be what the Chicago Teachers Union wants to believe. Although I suspect there are certain elements in Chicago that would love to tell the teachers union to “Stuff it!,” and would probably turn out in force to back Rahm to make that very statement.

Not that I think they’re necessarily approving of the efforts Emanuel has made with regard to the Chicago Public Schools that would involve the closing of schools in several inner-city neighborhoods.

They’re just not going to want to be seen on the same side as teachers union boss Karen Lewis – even if she is making sense on several points.

For those who think that the declining African-American support for Emanuel means a black candidate might have a chance, I'd argue that the "black" candidate in 2011 would have done much better if it had been anybody other than Carol Moseley-Braun! Which is why I seriously expect the 2015 municipal elections to be a snooze when it comes for mayor.

FOR ONE THING, those approval numbers in the Chicago Tribune-sponsored poll that is stirring up this talk aren’t deadly.

Emanuel still has significant support. Some of the people who previously were undecided about him are now saying they don’t approve. But I’m wondering if things will change in the coming two years that will put them back in the neutral column.

But most importantly, who would dare to challenge Emanuel?

Any teachers union-inspired opposition to Rahm Emanuel could be about as effective as Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., was when he made his mayoral challenge to Richard M. Daley. Photograph provided by Chicago Teachers Union
The sad thing about the Chicago electorate is that we seem willing to accept incumbents. We get suspicious of those people who want to “Throw the Bastards out!,” even if we’re leading the screaming.

NOBODY IS GOING to be willing to engage in a head-to-head run against Emanuel – except for some fringe-mentality candidate who is going to justify his (or her) politically-suicidal campaign on the grounds that they’re bringing up a pet issue and inspiring a debate that otherwise would not take place.

That is why the 2011 election cycle was so crucial for anyone with mayoral aspirations.

Richard M. Daley had stepped down, and the post was open. It could be a free-for-all without the risk of upsetting an incumbent. Anybody who didn’t have the nerve to take on Rahm Emanuel when he didn’t have the benefits of incumbency is likely too cowardly to even dream of taking him on two years from now.

In fact, there’s only one name I could think of that would have a chance of beating Rahm in ’15. And that name is “Daley.”

WHETHER IT WOULD be a return from retirement for Richard M., a decision by brother William that “mayor” in 2015 would make more sense that “governor” next year, or perhaps county Commissioner John (who has served on the county board as well as the Illinois Senate) that he’d like to be a part of city government.

Maybe Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board member Patrick Thompson (who counts all three Daleys among his uncles, and old man Richard J. as his grandfather) isn’t quite ready now – but he may be someday.

THOMPSON: The mayor in '27?
It’s something about that “Daley” name that just makes some Chicagoans think they belong at City Hall.

Although I’m not under the impression that any Daley is seriously thinking of running for mayor. Rich isn’t coming out of retirement, and I doubt his brothers would want to be bothered. They have different goals on their minds – although I’m not convinced that William deserves to be thought of as a serious gubernatorial candidate.

SO WHO’S GOING to be the next mayor of Chicago? Probably the same one we already have.

The man’s ambitious enough (and full of himself) to the point where he probably believes he’s benefitting the public. And nobody’s going to have the nerve to challenge him – regardless of what any stinkin’ Tribune poll has to say!


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