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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle declared Tuesday that she won't run for mayor, leaving union and community groups angry over Chicago's violent crime, school closings and teetering finances searching for a credible candidate to take on Mayor Rahm Emanuel next year," the Tribune reports.

"The decision is a boost to Emanuel's bid for a second term and ensures he won't have to square off against a popular, countywide elected official capable of uniting disparate voters from the South and West Sides with lakefront liberals."

The attention shown to the possibility of a Preckwinkle campaign shows just how strong of a candidate she would have been - maybe even the favorite. Which shows just how broadly the city is dissatisfied with Emanuel.

But as our Bookmaking Bureau has noted, Preckwinkle has never been one to directly challenge power. While she was perceived as an independent when she was on the city council, she never led the charge for reform or mounted a movement against Richard M. Daley. Instead, she muttered under breath on her way to the next Cook County Democratic Committee meeting, where she has always supported her pal Joe Berrios. (She opposed the city seeking the 2016 Olympics, for example, but voted in favor of the bid anyway because she didn't want her ward left out of the spoils should Chicago actually win the Games.)

Preckwinkle is less a reformer than a technocrat; she's exceedingly competent. Which is a win in these parts. Unlike Emanuel, she has no need to grandstand. She also has a feel for life on the ground around here; unlike Emanuel, she wouldn't spend much of her time on the job palling around with the jet set.

In short, a Preckwinkle mayoralty wouldn't be built around an ego-fulfilling need to break shit, but a workmanlike approach to fixing shit. Her version of reform is to simply do the job well. That would've been a start.


"Preckwinkle said Tuesday that she tired of the ever-quickening pace with which she kept hearing the same question over and over: Will you run? She noted a recent automated poll that showed her handily defeating the mayor in a hypothetical one-on-one match-up.

"Ironically, the Sun-Times poll at the beginning of the week made it clear to me that I was going to have a hard time talking about much other than the mayor's race over the next few months if I didn't make a stronger statement about my intentions," said Preckwinkle, who added that she had contemplated a mayoral run.

"I gave some thought to what I might be doing over the next four years, and the more I thought about that, the more convinced I became that the job I took on four years ago is not yet complete," Preckwinkle added.

So she was thinking about it all this time; she was being coy. And she still is - it's incredibly hard to believe she bowed out because she wants to take the next four years "finishing" the job at the county. C'mon! She's set the county on a relatively strong path. Meanwhile, the city is burning!


The Tribune editorial page found Preckwinkle's statement wholly believable.


Javy Baez Preckwinkle: I will not accept my call-up to the big leagues 'cause there's still stuff I want to do here in Triple-A. The job here is not complete.


Also visiting us from Planet Editorial Board, the Sun-Times said that Preckwinkle "did the noble thing."



"Preckwinkle apparently didn't have the heart for the fight," John Kass writes quite correctly for the Tribune.

Then again:

"Some Democratic operatives think Preckwinkle did a smart thing, pulling back, relieving the pressure while keeping her options open.

"'Anyone who believes that Toni Preckwinkle has absolutely ruled out running for mayor still believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy,' says one guy in the know."

Normally I might agree with that sentiment, but in this case I don't think there will be enough time for an about-face - unless Karen Lewis gives over her infrastructure once Preckwinkle is ready. Not all of Lewis's supporters, however, are Preckwinkle fans, so that could get tricky.


The Sun-Times is distastefully proud of its role altering the dynamics of the campaign.

An automated poll released Sunday that was commissioned by Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times politics website, showed Preckwinkle 24 percentage points ahead in a one-on-one match-up against Emanuel.

The story quickly exploded locally and nationally creating a "volume, intensity" and "frequency" of questions that Preckwinkle said finally propelled her to end months of speculation.

"I'm not heartbroken," Preckwinkle told reporters Tuesday. "It was a decision that was clear to me for some time that I needed to make and, as I said, the Sun-Times basically forced my hand.

"If they hadn't published those poll results, I don't think the questions would have been of the same volume, intensity, frequency, whatever. But given the poll results, I think it was going to be hard to get people to focus on anything else we were doing, because the questions would all be about the mayor's race."

I'm not even sure polling is journalism. Yay, look at what we did! We matter!

(For more on their polling, see The [Tuesday] Papers.)


Mark Brown of the Sun-Times thinks this is good news for Lewis, but the truth is Lewis would prefer not to run. She's a back-up candidate who is now thrust to the fore because no one else has the stones to do it.

Brown does offer a mea culpa:

"Loyal readers may recall I wrote back in May that Lewis would NOT run for mayor, based on the belief she understood her ardent advocacy for the teachers union was not compatible with a mayoral campaign, in short, that she was not politic enough to be a politician."

And Rahm is?

"[S]ome of the things she could get away with saying as CTU president won't fly in a mayoral campaign."

Why not? Because the media will crucify her?

The media: If only we had politicians who speak their mind; for godsakes, don't speak your mind! Be more politic. Use polished, non-offensive sound-bites. That's what we reward - the ability to use us in your quest to manipulate the public!

"[Rahm's] got seven months to rehabilitate his image with the voters of Chicago," Brown writes.

And the media is standing by to assist!

Maybe the media should skip the image this time around and focus on reality.


The Political Odds: Chance Rahm is re-elected up to 85 percent.



Animal Kingdom Appeals To Deb Mell
Plus: Spazzy McGee, Dirty Doo-Wop & the Chicago native who is the new voice of Kansas.

Tribune To Arsenio, Cubs: Drop Dead
Plus: Chicago's small-town sports announcers.

CPS Chief Caught In Librarian Lie
Plus: Book Christmas In July & Barrington's 10-year-old novelist.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Bi-polarizing.


Posted on July 16, 2014

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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