People like to describe Mayor Rahm Emanuel as tough, ruthless, driven and the really erudite pundits use words like pugnacious or tenacious but those are “compliments” for Rahm and they miss the point that Rahm is a political operative and his primary operation has been about beating into submission anyone his political masters have set him on. So the real question here is, who has he been beating the brains out of because that’s how we’ll know who’s gonna get roughed up for the next twenty years should he win… and he might.
His masters have included the corporate and business friendly Mayor Richard M. Daley, the anti-labor, poor people and working class hating administration of President Bill Clinton, the soulless denizens of the investment banking world, Wasserstein Perella, the corporate masters of the DCCC and lately the corporate benefactors of DLC in President Barack Obama’s liberal Republican administration.
I realize that the above description of reality sounds both partisan and biased but am I wrong? Hasn’t Richard M. Daley spent the last twenty years turning the city of big shoulders into the home of pinstripe patronage and lucrative deals for connected businessmen NOT neighborhood folks? Didn’t Bill Clinton champion NAFTA, GATT and new welfare laws that are presently destroying what’s left of the working class and have helped increase things like childhood hunger and poverty? That would a yes. Wasserstein Perella, who have since changed their name to protect the guilty, were at the heart of merger and acquisition frenzy that has created too big to fail financial giants that are gutting our economy. It’s not my imagination, the DCCC and the DLC have been hard at work finding rich, non-progressive corporatists to run as Democrats against progressive candidates since 2006 and it is those people who work to protect corporations instead of fighting for people. And then there is the Obama Administration, the very definition of the phrase: Confusing your friends and inspiring your enemies to act.” As they run, not walk away from their base.
Now it would be UNFAIR to lay all of this at Rahm’s feet. One guy couldn’t possibly be responsible for that much damage to the body politic. So it’s probably a coincidence that he is the common denominator for each gut punch to the hopes, aspirations and actual survival of the poor, middle and working class… or is it.
1989, Rahm raises the afore unbelievable sum of $7 million dollars from a who’s who of profiteering corporate pirates, huge developers and law/lobbying firms that would go on to make a bundle from the city and in some cases strip resources out of the city at taxpayer expense. You could say that he both set in motion and built the operating system for top down, corporate crony, corruption-filled system that we have today. If you are not someone accustomed to having your manservant bring your car around to the front of your palatial estate you might not like how Mayor Emanuel is going to run the city is all I’m saying.
1993, Rahm is a leading strategist for the Clinton Administration. You may have forgotten how his masterful strategy got us universal healthcare… Wait, no it didn’t but it did get us NAFTA and GATT, which has transformed Mexico into a stable trading partner for the millions of American jobs these agreements created… If you are beginning to see a trend then you are beginning to pay attention.
1998, Rahm returns to Chicago where he takes up residence at Wasserstein Perella and took a non-paying gig as the Vice-Chair of the CHA. Now if you are wondering, like so many people were wondering at the time: How the hell is a guy with no experience with public housing, education, investing or business be qualified for either of these jobs?
Well, he wasn’t qualified for either job… but what he is good at is putting the smack down on the peasants and making his masters a boatload of money and that’s exactly what he did. Mayor Daley set him loose on the hapless residents of the CHA which led to the wholesale destruction of public housing in the service of private land developers and the creation of a 40,000 FAMILY waiting list for affordable housing. Sure public housing was a mess but Rahm’s job was to help make those low income people go away… and he did. And while he did this he also made $16.2 million dollars in two years. If that sounds like a white-collar bank robbery you would not be too far off the mark, because as the Godfather said: “You can make more money with a briefcase than you can with a gun.”
2006, Rahm runs the DCCC and he actively recruits conservative blue dog Democrats, works actively against what turns out to be the reason Democrats do so well, Howard Dean’s fifty state strategy and further ties Democrats to corporate money and if that is not convincing enough relive the arguments of yesteryear. But in a maneuver common to weasels and other untrustworthy mammals; Rahm would take credit for Howard Dean’s victory in a book called “The Thumpin’” which might be one of the best works of fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
During this period he was also on the board at Freddie Mac. I know, you’re head is spinning right? “Rahm was at ground zero as both and investment banker AND a regulator? It hardly seems possible and yet it’s true!
Now what did Rahm do at Freddie Mac and what did he know about what was going on at Freddie Mac? No one seems to know with any kind of accuracy or clarity the answer to either of these questions which is why he’s not on trial or in jail. You may need a reminder of what sort of hijinx and clowning about went on while Rahm made $400,000 dollars doing God only knows what. There was a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments; that would be fraud… maybe he was asleep during that part of the meeting?
Then the good people at Freddie Mac told the board about something so much in Rahm’s wheelhouse that it’s hard to imagine he slept through this part of that meeting. They planned to become more politically relevant, one of the reasons he was supposedly on the damn board and they ended up getting fined $3.8 million dollars by the FEC for illegal fundraising and guess who was one of the candidates and the ONLY non-Republican to get a taste of that ILLEGAL cash… yes, I know I too am shocked that there’s gambling and whoring going on in a place where Rahm was present. Did he single-handedly make a wreck of Freddie Mac, no. Did he help… well sure, that’s what Rahm does, help the powerful and himself and %*#& the rest of us.
You can’t blame Rahm for everything that has gone wrong in the Obama Administration but the only question you should ever consider when a politician or policy maker takes a position is whose interests they are protecting. Are they worried about you getting a life saving operation or are they more concerned with the stock price of say Aetna? In the 2008 election cycle who got the MOST MONEY from hedge funds, investment bankers and private equity firms? You know the prick-rat-bastards who turned our economy into a casino and then walked out with all the money? Yes, it’s true and I’d say he represented them extremely well and the rest of us… not so much.
As bad as all the above is he was just following orders when it comes right down to it. Sure this is an excuse that has been used to justify all manner of military and economic violence and Rahm’s public life has been poster for doing just that to the poor and powerless. What we need to figure out is what kind of Mayor will he be when he’s free to make his own decisions and SEND people to do his will. Now the link is called the case against Rahm and that’s pretty harsh so maybe he’s been hanging out with regular people to prepare himself for his new job as Mayor of the entire city… or not.
2009 & 2010 – Before coming back to the city where he may or may not be a resident he spent his time getting reacquainted with the folks that run William Blair & Company… you know the parking meter deal making people and Neil Bluhm and Bill Daley and there are more of these people but let’s not belabor the point, now we know who’s interests he’s looking after before he even got here. Once he got here he went on a listening tour and you may have noticed how he’s stopped spending time with us. This is mostly because we may remember his excellent work at the CHA or some other aspect of his public service.
You may have noticed that I’ve skipped over his time in Congress and have not mentioned the Blago-Senate seat thing. That’s because his time in Congress was mainly colored by how he moved the Democrats deeper into the grip of the forces of evil. Here, read the comments of one-time candidate who is way too cheerful about what Rahm has wrought on us. I’ve not mentioned the Blago thing because,well it’s actually not relevant. Rahm is going to have to testify and since no one has proven the seat was really actually sold it’s going to be a very distracting non-issue of the sort our lazy, idiot media love to cover. There is a criminal case that should get ALL of our attention about Rahm because it gives us some deep insight into how he might govern our fair city.
2002- Rahm decides that now as a multi-millionaire he should run for Congress and right away he runs into a residency requirement problem. Sound familiar, well it’s not a residency problem like he has now where he really does not live here. Then it was the fact that HE’S NOT FROM CHICAGO. Sure he was born here but he was raised in frick-fracking Wilmette. He went to New Trier for God’s sake. He’s got this new commercial saying he’s a fourth generation Chicagoan and the son of an immigrant… how dumb are we supposed to be? If you want to get some idea of where Rahm actually comes from you will have to read someone other than Hinz, Speilman and Kass. Try this and try not to be overwhelmed by what you learn.
Not being from the district he was running for office in was a problem and how do you get through problems… well you call on your friends but when your friends are the fantastically corrupt Daley administration and a rolodex full of corporate chieftains and wealthy real estate developers the help you get is going to have a hard time conforming to say the law.
So what kind of help did he get? Well he got approximately 150 to 250 illegal campaign workers from presently incarcerated First Deputy Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak and Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, who, according to court testimony were sent to be his army of political thugs but Intergovernmental Affairs masterminds Victor Reyes and John Doerrer, neither of which have yet to be fitted for their orange jumpsuits but a boy can dream can’t he?
If all of these names seem vaguely familiar it’s because Rahm’s campaign was directly tied to the Hired Truck scandal and the ghost pay rolling scandals, since one is a manifestation of the other. His entire administration is shot through with same Wall Street shysters and handmaidens to corporate power who committed massive fraud on the entire country and are at the heart of schemes to shift public money into private hands. So far Rahm has been allowed to dismiss the entire thing by saying that he also had the support of a lot of other people. That does not make what his campaign was involved with any LESS illegal and don’t we already have a Mayor who says he didn’t know nuthin’ about the monkey-shines and shenanigans his underlings are up to? Do we really need another twenty years of this kind of nonsense? Do you really want to sit through two more decades of press conferences like this?
Well I don’t and he’s already told us that he is not going to stop taking money from city contractors and has made a big show dragging the hapless former Inspector General David Hoffman about to give him cover. One wonders how much all that costs given Rahm’s history. Rahm’s entire career reminds me of an the saying: “The measure of anyone are the enemies they choose to keep.” And Rahm’s enemies are the poor, the powerless and the progressive. If you are not rich and powerful you are likely in for some rude surprises at some point during his reign as Mayor of Chicago because the tiger doesn’t change its stripes it eats you.