Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Does McCarthy have a political ‘base’ to support his mayoral fantasies?

It’s going to be intriguing to see just who, if anyone, thinks one-time Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy ought to become mayor of the Second City.

McCARTHY: Does anyone want him for mayor?
McCarthy is the guy who lost his police post more than a year ago when Mayor Rahm Emanuel canned him, with the hope that dismissal of a police chief would be sufficient to satisfy the public anger that arose from the shooting death of a 17-year-old by a Chicago police officer.

THE COP WHO pulled the trigger 16 times and caused the death of Laquan McDonald is facing criminal charges, and the mayor wants to think he cleaned up the police department by hiring a new superintendent.

Which, of course, angers McCarthy. He resents the notion that he is in any way to blame for McCarthy’s death.

In fact, there are some people in Chicago who are bothered by the notion that the police are at fault in the teenager’s death. They’d just as soon believe the “kid” had it coming.

But I’m skeptical that there’s going to be an outcry of people wishing to PUNISH Rahm Emanuel for picking on the police and placing blame on them.

BECAUSE IF THERE is a stronger sentiment, it’s that Emanuel himself deserves some sort of political punishment ALONG WITH the police for the death of McDonald.

The kind of people who are going to be inclined to want to vote against Emanuel because of Laquan McDonald certainly aren’t going to side with McCarthy in this particular political fight. They’re going to think he got what he deserved, but it isn’t enough to resolve the overall problem of police misconduct – or as they’d rather perceive it, police running roughshod over the citizenry of Chicago.

Of course, there’s always the chance that enough time has passed between the shooting (2014), the discovery of video (without audio) of the shooting that showed how graphic and violent an act it was (early 2016) and the next municipal election (February of next year).

EMANUEL: Will he have a serious challenger?
People do tend to have short memories, and it’s always possible that a good number will have gotten over their anger, or let the details slip into the crevasses of their minds.

THAT CERTAINLY SEEMED to have happened in the most recent elections with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle who was supposed to become political history because she supported the “pop tax.” Instead, she won by a solid margin and appears poised to become the new Cook County Democratic Party chairwoman.

Yes, it’s true that Preckwinkle faced a less-than-stellar opponent in last week’s Democratic primary. But McCarthy, a career law enforcement officer with no electoral experience, could appear to be an equally-weak challenger to Emanuel.

If there is a real mayoral challenger to Rahm, it could be Paul Vallas – the one-time Chicago Public Schools CEO and career educator/administrator. But he hasn’t even formally declared a candidacy yet.

It is with all of this in mind that I find it amusing to learn that McCarthy is saying he’s the man who can “save” the lives of black people if he becomes mayor.

AS HE SAID on a recent WLS-AM weekend radio broadcast, 80 percent of people who die in incidents deemed murder are black men (or male blacks, in official police lingo that attempts to mimic legal language). Which makes him think only a police officer can solve the problem of urban violence.

Whether that is true remains to be seen.

VALLAS: Will he ever make up mind?
I can’t help but think that McCarthy shares the same problems in gaining the votes of black people that Emanuel would. If anything, more. McCarthy, after all, wore the badge and was supposed to be in charge of the department at the time of the violence.

Of course, we have some 11 months to go before the municipal elections – and 13 months to go, if we wind up needing to have a municipal runoff. I’m sure many of us will be so absorbed with the Rauner/Pritzker “battle of the billionaires” in search of a post to keep themselves busy that they will be completely frazzled by the time the mayoral election becomes a priority.


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