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The [Wednesday] Papers

What I wrote four years ago still holds.

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Even more so. Those who might have been fooled should know who this man is by now. Sadly, too many like who this man is.

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Still, if I'm not mistaken, Rahm received 7,000 fewer votes Tuesday than he did four years ago - though comparing a general election to a runoff is rife with problems. At the same time, Chuy Garcia scored about 200,000 more votes in this runoff than Miguel del Valle did in the general four years ago. I happen to believe del Valle was a better candidate, but four years of Rahm rallied folks behind Chuy in a way I haven't seen in my 23 years in Chicago.

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Okay, let's get to the papers.

"Elections traditionally serve as a referendum on the officeholder, but Emanuel was effective at turning the tables on Garcia," the Tribune reports.

"The mayor painted the challenger as making costly promises and questioned whether Garcia had the credentials to lead a city facing enormous financial problems. The tactic also was a way to deflect attention from Emanuel's own controversial decisions and abrasive style that marked his first term.

"Left unsaid by the mayor was that his financial plans count on quick help from Springfield, an approach that has proved politically difficult in the past. That reliance on a state government bailout is likely to be even more problematic, given the state's own financial challenges and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's focus on cutting aid to cities."

In other words, Rahm used his oodles of campaign cash to paint Garcia as a scary Latino out of his depth - and Rahm doesn't have a plan either.

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This anecdote basically answers its own question:

With a second term now secured, the attention will turn to whether Emanuel softens his style of running the city.

As the mayor had lunch Tuesday afternoon at Manny's, an iconic political hangout in the South Loop, close friend and political strategist David Axelrod talked about the importance of Emanuel airing the TV ads in which he alluded to voter frustration and admitted he could do better.

"I think it was important for people to hear it, but I think it's also important for him to act on it. I don't think that the message of those ads should end at 7 o'clock on election night," said Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser and campaign strategist to President Barack Obama. "For his success in the next four years, he needs to take to heart the message that voters were sending. I don't think they wanted him not to be the mayor, but they wanted him to be a more inclusive mayor. And he'd be foolish not to take that to heart."

A few minutes later, after finishing a salad and bowl of matzo ball soup, Emanuel was asked what he learned from the runoff and whether he would, in fact, be a more inclusive mayor in his second term.

Emanuel responded by confidently saying the feedback he'd gotten from voters during the campaign would serve as his "North Star." Asked by the Tribune if that meant he would take a different approach to running the city, Emanuel instead deflected the question by telling the reporter: "You'll evaluate that, and my guess is you'll tell me on a 24-hour basis."

Pressed again on whether he had heard the voters and would change his often brusque style, Emanuel responded with just one word:

"Yeah."

I mean, that's just priceless - and it should cure many of our esteemed pundits' magical thinking today about a humbled Emanuel. But it won't.

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"One thing seems certain: Emanuel won't take for granted the politics of his decisions quite the way he did in his first term, getting so far out of sync with those who pay his salary," Mark "Charlie" Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

See what I mean?

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It's just the latest wave of journesia. After all, Rahm has promised to listen more several times in his mayoralty. In the early going, for example, he used minor amendments to plans on library closings, the length of the school day and NATO protest fines to prove that - contrary to his critics - he listened.

My bet is that Rahm doubles down. Oh, he may pretend to listen more the first month or so of his new term, but after that, the gloves come off. "We had an election," he'll say. "I won." Bam! More schools closed. Bam! More charters. Bam! More privatization. Bam! More favors to the wealthy. Maybe he'll even add back more red-light cameras. "This is what voters want me to do," he'll say. "They re-elected me. They validated my policies."

Maybe that's even true. The progressive population in Chicago is tiny. It was the Latino vote that drove Chuy.

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Back to Brown:

"How that will translate into Emanuel's actual policies I'm not quite sure, but I certainly expect him at the very least to put much greater effort into selling them."

Really? It's hard to imagine another gear to Rahm's sell jobs.

"I understand their choice. The city is in a precarious financial position, and Emanuel has demonstrated a strong grasp of the challenge."

He has? The credit rating agencies don't seem to think so. And if you look closely, Rahm's been a bit of a bumbler: The Obama library, Ventra, the Lucas Museum, the Obama high school, the NFL draft giveaway, the school closings, the CHA's stash of cash . . . the notion that he's been a responsible manager is as off-target as the notion we were presented for two decades that Richard M. Daley was a managerial genius.

"[Chuy] committed belatedly to the tale of two cities campaign theme that had worked for progressive candidates outside Chicago, even though I assume he actually believed in it."

I'm pretty sure that was Chuy's theme from Day One; besides that, it's been the theme of every mayoral challenger going back at least to Daley's first re-election campaign.

To wit:

"His answer is that we're doing OK, that there aren't any problems of any real significance," [then-Cook County Commissioner Danny] Davis said of Daley, "when everybody knows that for all practical purposes, Chicago is two cities."

That's from the Tribune, 1991.

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"While the election results showed that Chicago's Latino community is still not quite ready to elect one of its own."

Judging by the electoral map, I'd say Chicago's Latino community is quite "ready" to elect on of its own. It's the city's blacks and whites who don't seem quite ready.

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"Like the fact that the deputy mayor, 31st ward Ald. Ray Suarez, is losing as I write this despite the endorsements of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Emanuel, and most important, the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, Joe Berrios, who is committeeman of that ward."

So Latinos should be electing both a reformer (Chuy) and a hack (Suarez) because both are Latino?

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"While Rahm Emanuel had all the money in the world to pound home his message, Garcia had believers willing to battle Goliath in Chicago's neighborhoods and City Council.

"And maybe, just maybe, that fact will give brand new aldermen, including Patrick Daley Thompson in the legendary 11th Ward, some reason for reflection. Maybe the incoming class of aldermen will show us how thoughtful independence can trump clout and legacy and lockstep loyalty."

Oh my god, ROTFLMAO.

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Moving on . . .

"Although Garcia got traction out of addressing the shortcomings of Rahm Emanuel and the 1 percent question, it is much deeper than that," Conrad Worrill told the Sun-Times's Mary Mitchell.

How can it be deeper than that?

"The issues in the black community are broader than school closings and red-light cameras. Garcia never said anything that amounted to what he would do for black people or a black agenda," Worrill said.

Um, okay.

Rahm's agenda for black people is to close their schools, arrest their kids, foreclose on their homes, and divert their taxes to downtown.

Chuy's agenda for black people is to keep their schools open, arrest more of their kids (1,000 more cops) but take a more liberal approach to what happens next, invest in their neighborhoods and stop diverting their taxes to downtown.

But apparently there's another level I'm just not getting.

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Now let's go to Twitter.

O'Neil is the executive director of Smart Chicago, but he's not smart enough to know that reporters in every city are obsessed with free alcohol - especially when the rich incumbent mayor made them pay for it the first time around.

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Mustaches have been an ironic rallying point across America for years now.

To wit:

* Are Mustaches Cool Again?
- Boston Globe, 1997

* Are Mustaches Passe?
- Baltimore Sun, 2009

I hate Chicago exceptionalism.

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P.S.: Lyft Drops Pink Furry Mustache.

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Field Reports:

"Clip of his speech comes on this morning," our very own Thomas Chambers writes in an e-mail. "Young black woman actually says pretty much 'Rahm will help the people and the city; Garcia doesn't care about the people at all.' I guess people really do believe those commercials."

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"This was not just about one election - it was about a movement created by people who have felt relegated to the sidelines for far too long," said CTU President Karen Lewis. "This coalition of individuals and their values and ideas that united around Chuy and our candidates for alderman is going to be a force in Chicago politics for generations to come."

I hope so, but I'm skeptical. I'm not sure I see evidence of a sustainable coalition. Exhibit A is the failure of Chuy to break out of the Latino wards. Undoubtedly, Toni Preckwinkle would have gained support citywide across all constituencies. Lewis herself might have had less Latino support than Chuy and more black support. It takes more than a coalition, it takes a candidate.

(And it shouldn't be up to a teachers union to act as the backbone of a progressive coalition; that just demonstrates the vacuum that had - and has - to be filled.)

But we'll see. I hope I'm wrong. I still don't know quite what to think about this campaign.

For more real-time commentary, see @BeachwoodReport.

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The Bigger Brian Williams Scandal Part 2
More on the news he kept off the air.

Fantasy Fix: Deep Sleepers
Jose Abreu vs. Micah Johnson vs. Javy Baez vs. The Mystery Cub.

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BeachBook
* David Letterman Rehabs Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly In One Sit-Down.

* American Political Circus: Forgive Me My Foul Murder.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Judith Miller Still Doesn't Get It.

* New Maggie Daley Restaurant Shows How Laws Are For Little People.

* Meet The Illinois Burger-Kings.

* A Cranky Blogger Crusades To Preserve The Ordinary In New York.

* The 'Food Babe' Blogger Is Full Of Shit.

* The Platonic Ideal Of Horse Race Journalism.

* Rare Canine Flu Outbreak Hits Chicago.

* When The Cubs Supposedly Came Out Of Hibernation In 1982.

* Jann Wenner Is A Big Dumb Idiot.

* The Hootie & The Blowfish Review That Got Jim DeRogatis Fired From Rolling Stone.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: City of piss.



Permalink

Posted on April 8, 2015


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