Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rahm Emanuel's Vulnerability

Karen Lewis says Rahm Emanuel isn't the "bad-ass" he pretends to be:

When Emanuel exited the Beltway in late 2010 to run for Chicago mayor, he had the tacit backing of a current president and the overt support of a former one. He won the race to succeed Richard M. Daley, and expectations ran high that Washington’s supreme enforcer was just the person to tame the Wild Midwest.

Now, just nine months out from the next election, Emanuel is unexpectedly vulnerable, with an approval rating that is perilously low. The comedown for the Illinois native, who terrified staffers and donors over more than a decade in Washington, has been striking. So has been the contrast between how he’s regarded in D.C., New York and Los Angeles — as opposed to some wards of Chicago.

A Chicago Sun-Times poll released last month showed that Emanuel would draw just 29 percent of the vote if the election were held then. His 8 percent showing in the survey among black voters, a crucial voting bloc for him last time, creates a truck-size hole for another candidate to drive through.
“I hope he loses, and I will work very hard to have somebody else [replace him],” said Karen Lewis, the African-American head of the Chicago Teachers Union. Emanuel was widely reported to have said “F—- you, Lewis” during a private meeting with her in 2012 about a new contract. (He did not deny it.)

“If you’ve seen any of the polling, he’s in serious trouble. No one seems to think that he’s doing a very good job. I think he is not suited to this kind of work,” said Lewis, who dubbed him “the murder mayor” last year after a big uptick in crime soon after he took office.

Some of the city’s problems are out of Emanuel’s control, and he’s tried hard to ease crime, with some success. He extended the school day for kindergartners, an achievement he frequently touts. But he’s had difficulty mastering the stagecraft needed to appease different constituencies in big-city politics.

Instead, Emanuel has approached the job like a latter-day Michael Bloomberg, a business-minded centrist without much interest in bending to opposition. Except unlike Bloomberg, he has no personal fortune with which to appease critics and enhance political friendships.

It’s a particularly difficult task at a time when income inequality has driven voters in Democratic-leaning cities further to the left. In Chicago, class politics fall along starkly racial lines.

Lewis recalled telling reporters that Emanuel had used the F-word with her, a move that fanned much of the initial anger among black voters against him. She noted that he demurred when asked by reporters whether he’d said it.

“And that’s where, if there were any stretch of the imagination of having any fear of Rahm Emanuel, it vanished at that moment,” she said. “Because I knew then he wasn’t the bad-ass he claimed to be.”

In Lewis, Rahmbo met his match, somebody he couldn't bully.

Wouldn't it be nice if Mike Mulgrew would show similar courage around Andrew Cuomo?


  1. Mulgrew doesn't have the cojones to stand up to Cuomo and the like. And, why doesn't he have them?...He handed them over to Randi Weingarten years ago.

  2. Mulgrew and courage. That's an oxymoron.

  3. Mulgrew couldn't find his balls if you put his hands on them...thats why he is a unic.

    BTW my chapter leader taunted the people who voted no to the contract. Classy.

    1. Who is this chapter leader? Publicly shame these people. And get someone to run for CL next year. The time has come where people can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines.