The first African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, Senator Carol Mosely Braun is running for Mayor of Chicago. She’s a Democrat. Hispanic insider and former Chief of Staff to Mayor Daley Gary Chico is running for Mayor of Chicago. He is a Democrat. And, famously, former Bill Clinton fundraiser and advisor, Chicago Congressman and Chief of Staff to President Obama Rahm Emanuel is running for Mayor.
First, let me tell you that Chicago politics are a fascinating bloodsport. While we may, as a matter of principle, be disgusted by much of the activity and behavior undertaken in the pursuit of office by some, it’s still fun to watch. Let’s be honest. Absent a high profile, wealthy, independent, Republican running in this non-partisan and likely crowded primary it will be a Democratic game. And though you may be surprised to hear it, there will be spirited, reasonable and responsible comments made in pursuit of this office and some real discussion about what is best for the great city and it’s residents. Enough of them to fit in a thimble. But, the rest will be like a version of the Jerry Springer show which until very recently was actually filmed in Chicago.
It’s begun. The headlines in the Chicago Sun-Times screamed at me with the big picture of a grimacing President Obama, a small shot of a scholarly looking Carol Mosely Braun in her reading glasses and large looming headline that proclaimed “Braun’s [take] on Obama’s Shellacking: IT WAS RAHM’S FAULT.”
The article, written by the talented and professional Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times included Braun’s criticism of Rahm’s role in the recent failures of Democrats in the mid-term elections. Rahm Emanuel was called out by a liberal Democrat of some note for “cutting and running” on the President. He was criticized for his handling of the “Stupak affair” and abortion during the health care debate. He was criticized for negotiating only to the right on health care and never to the left. He was criticized for recruiting candidates for office when he chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who were less than pure pro-choice candidates.
And, of course, Emanuel was roundly criticized by both Braun and Chico for leaving Chicago to attend a fundraiser hosted by his brother Ari Emanuel, the super-agent to the stars in Hollywood and co-hosted by some big name Hollywood players. It’s great theater. Some of the accusations will be true. Because most consider Emanuel the frontrunner, he will be attacked by fellow Democrats for anything and everything that went wrong with the first two years of the Obama administration.
If you’re interested in exposing some of these tidbits or revealing the duplicity or leftist leanings of the Obama administration, you best pay attention. The smart candidates for the GOP nomination (and potentially the Democratic nomination) for President in 2012 should be paying attention. I’ll give you an example. Braun spokesperson Renee Ferguson singled out the negotiating and concessions to Bart Stupak on abortion in order to pass health care reform. Well, conservative pro-life activists have pretty much identified the concessions as meaningless and indicated that Stupak sold out the pro-life movement. Emanuel is biting his tongue now. But if any of these attacks draw blood and his numbers slip as a result, he won’t have that luxury. He could come out and say the Stupak “concession” was meaningless and not worth the paper it was written on. Congressional Republicans and Presidential candidates might be interested in such an admission. It could draw a rebuke from the White House. And obviously both the White House and Emanuel have a lot of powerful (and wealthy) friends with interests in shutting this kind of debate down. And maybe others (Hillary or Republicans) who might like to see it continue.
Prominent Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote a piece on the morning after the election titled “Prepare for the Battering Rahm.” This is going to get good and it will be ever in a few months. Just keep watching. That’s all I’m saying.