|EMANUEL: As 'Hawk' Harrelson would say, "He Gone!"|
As in the mayor’s office, the post that many local political people think is more important than any other.
THAT CAMPAIGN JUST became a free-for-all, what with Rahm Emanuel letting it be known he’s NOT going to seek a third four-year term in office. He’s willing to leave it at two – and let his political headstone read 2011-2019.
Which means the bidding for who gets to be the next mayor of Chicago truly is up-for-grabs. There were some dozen or so people who already had expressed interest in challenging Emanuel. While many of them will likely turn out to be long-shots who will be lucky to take 1 percent or so of the vote, it will be interesting to see who winds up becoming the front-runner.
And, by extension, which vision for the city of Chicago we’re driven in as a result.
I’m not about to try to predict who the new front-runner is. Personally, my own thoughts are that Emanuel would have been the number one vote getter of the candidate field, but that the other dozen or so people might well have managed to get a slim majority of the vote in February.
|Rahm from his days in Congress|
RESULTING IN A run-off election come April between Rahm and whichever challenger turns out to be Number Two.
Which actually seems to be the strategy of everybody who was daring to challenge Emanuel come February – count on the number of people who want “Anybody But Rahm” to total more than the number of people content to have the political establishment candidate prevail, and they might well fluke their way into the history books as the 56th mayor ever of the city of Chicago.
|Emanuel served presidents Obama …|
Without Rahm in the running, it means the dozen or so challengers are going to have to run on their own merits and voters will have to decide for themselves whether the collection of complaining no-names are actually qualified to hold the post – should they manage to prevail on Election Day.
That might actually be better for Chicago, since it reduces the chance that an unfit candidate will creep and crawl his or her way into the Fifth Floor suite of offices used by the mayor and his/her staff at City Hall.
|… and Clinton|
AS FOR EMANUEL, I’m not sure if I totally believe his story on Tuesday that he wants to spend more time with his family – or as he phrased it, “What matters most is four more years for our children, not four more years for me.”
But the man who was a presidential aide to Bill Clinton, a chief of staff to Barack Obama AND a U.S. senator from the city’s Northwest Side already has established a political legacy for himself. Serving another term would have been purely an ego-booster, and maybe one not worth the headaches he’d have had to endure to achieve it.
At the very least, I’m sure Pat Quinn will claim “victory” in that he got Emanuel to not seek another term – and we’ll probably never learn what the courts would have had to say about the merits of his mayoral term limits proposal that really was crafted in such a way as to kick Rahm out of office.
|EDGAR: Will Rahm follow his lead into academia?|
In fact, I found it interesting to see that the first politico who felt compelled to issue a statement in reaction to Rahm was none other than Illinois House Speaker (and state Democratic Chairman) Michael Madigan, who issued a sort of back-handed praise about Emanuel’s departure.
“AS CHICAGO CONTINUES to move forward and grow as an international city, we will remain grateful for Mayor Emanuel’s leadership,” Madigan said. Which almost translates to something along the lines of “Good riddance. He’s gone, and I’m still the Boss!”Emanuel’s departure kind of reminded me of similar actions of two decades ago – when Jim Edgar announced he would not seek re-election to a third term as governor back in 1998. Many people were convinced he was a politico-for-life and could not bear to be away from elective office.
|Who will be the new occupant of mayoral office suite?|
I must confess; the thought of Emanuel winding up in a similar academic gig intrigues me – a master of blunt-spoken, political hardball tactics morphing into the ultimate goo-goo!