Ben Joravsky on Rahm Emanuel . . .
The sun is just rising as Rahm Emanuel takes to the sidewalk under the Brown Line stop at Addison. He’ll be there for over an hour, his gloveless hands raw from the cold, greeting the commuters dashing for their trains.
On the surface, it might seem like an uphill fight. Emanuel had no strong ties to local organizations or politicians. And his candidacy threatened to upset many elected officials with longtime dreams of serving in Congress, who seemed likely to respond: Who the hell is this guy to jump to the head of the line?
Why did the family move to Wilmette? Again, he wasn’t sure. “But some of the family stayed in Chicago,” he says. “My mother’s brother, my Uncle Les, lived here. He’s a Chicago police officer, a sergeant in the 17th District. My family came to Chicago all the time when I was growing up. We used to get together Sunday nights at my grandparents’ home. It was next to this big park. I don’t have the address.”
Many local political observers are cracking up at Emanuel’s makeover. “Please, if I hear one more word about his father the doctor—excuse me, the pediatrician—or his uncle the cop I’ll puke,” says a northwest-side politico who’s working for Kaszak. “This guy’s no saint. He was Clinton’s fucking hatchet man, for Christ’s sake. I’d have a lot more respect for him if he was honest and said, ‘I’m a prick, but I can deliver.'”
“Wilmette!” he says. “What’s with you and Wilmette? I don’t live in Wilmette. I live in Chicago.”
“I know, but you grew up—”