Cleaning the Machine
The Chicago primaries were yesterday, with a couple of interesting outcomes. One is fascinating the nation, justifiably. The other is no less important, but is missing from most radar screens.
First and foremost, incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuelchief of staff under Obama for a long time and most visible proponent of the no-crisis-going-to-waste philosophy that dictated the President’s first termspent millions of dollars in ads touting his expertise in politics. He didn’t win.
Emanuel didn’t lose, either: he failed to get 50% of the vote due to the surprising number of challengers that came from his own party. As a result, the top two finishers will have a special runoff electionMr. Emanuel, with 45% of the vote, and Jesus Chuy Garcia.
Emanuel is a national celebrity of course, and is still close to President Obama. Emanuel received millions in donations from big business (they like this propensity to use lower taxes as an incentive to move business into Chicago), and is tied to many of Chicago’s elite.
Absolutely all of this was used by Mr. Garcia in his campaign; apparently, enough Chicagoans agreed. By most accounts, Mr. Garcia is a frivolous candidate: he’s openly tied to labor and socialist groups, has not indicated any ability to understand the city’s complex finances, and seems to think he can win by promoting large tax increases. Nevertheless, this got Garcia a third of the votes and he acknowledged this in his speech to his supporters last night when he said Chicago voters are simply sick and tired.
So here are your two takeaways.
Obviously, this is another body blow to the Obama legacy. Most Chicagoanseven those who nominally support their home town herorealize Obama has been a bust. Every effort in which Obama engaged to bring attention to the city has failed. From the 2016 Olympics to the inane NATO conference, the President seems to be unable to do anything to help Chicago; there is a good chance his library will be located elsewhere.
Mayor Emanuel is such a legacy, and the City is tired of him. Emanuel never fit into Chicago politicshe was seen as a Springfield man long before he became branded as a Washington man. His cold, analytical, and tactical style of leadership alienated him as someone who didn’t really care about the City (which is not true). But compared to the egregious, affable mayors in Chicago’s past, and the Obama-style leadership rubbed everyone the wrong way.
President Obama is allegedly obsessed over what history will make of him. The answer is clear in last night’s rebuke of Rahm Emanuel. There is every good chance Emanuel will win election, but as Mr. Garcia’s flag flies higher in the next month, it could well be a 55%-45% result, with Mr. Emanuel winding up without a job. Emanuel’s own speech to his supporters seemed tired, lost, and frankly defeatist.
The Czar has repeated time and againand only a few of you seem to listenthat neither President Obama nor Rahm Emanuel are part of the Chicago machine. Obama is exceptionally disconnected from Chicago politics, even though most of America dismisses him as a Chicago politician.
Trust us, Obama’s not the office photocopier, but the guy who makes personal copies on it as often as he can. He’s a pain to the machine, if anything.
The machine is done with him and Emanuel. But here’s the second takeaway that isn’t getting much attention: the Chicago machine is cleaning itself.
In other primary elections around the City, incumbent members of the machine and new grist for its mill either failed to win or are headed for runoffs themselves. Even a Daley relative couldn’t walk into the job. Ten years ago, everyone of these putzes would have been either elected or re-elected without a campaign. The Machine would have taken care of it.
But last night, many politicianssome of whom have last names that have been in Chicago politics for decadeswere not handed easy wins. The voters actually seem to be irritated with the state of the City, and are making it known.
And what a great thing that would be for the future of Chicago.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.