- AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
- Rahm is, no doubt, readying his big guns.
Many years ago, I heard a funny story from former aldermanic candidate Marja Stoll about running against Alderman Dick Mell’s mighty political machine, then rooted in Logan Square.
As Stoll stood on a corner greeting voters, up drove Mell, teeming with rambunctious power.
From across the street, he called out: “Hey, Marja, you’re gonna lose! You’re gonna lose!”
I’ve got to admit I heard that story with a little bit of envy.
As one of those guys generally on the losing end of elections against the machine, I wanted my chance to be the taunter. As opposed to the taunted.
Well, Chicago, in the aftermath of yesterday’s improbable election in which—and I still can’t really believe it—Jesus Garcia, the most unlikely of candidates, forced Mayor $30 million into a runoff . . .
Allow me to have my Dick Mell moment.
Ha, ha, ha, ha—Mayor Rahm got his ass whupped!
Oh my God, I’m so sorry I said that! Guess I was overwhelmed by jubilation. Can you ever forgive me, Mr. Mayor?
Heh, heh, heh . . .
I happened to watch last night’s results come in at the Reader‘s not-so-luxurious downtown office, overlooking a luxury skyscraper being built on the banks of the Chicago River with $29.5 million of your tax-increment-financing property taxes, my friends.
Just in case you forgot what this election is all about.
As the results poured in, I got so happy I started drinking red wine and dancing the boogaloo. My apologies to the hard-working Reader staffers, who were probably thinking man, you can’t take this dude anywhere.
I’d have to rank yesterday’s election as one of Chicago’s greatest electoral moments. Right up there with . . .
Harold Washington’s victory over Richie Daley and Jane Byrne in 1983.
Jane Byrne’s victory over Michael Bilandic in 1979.
And the International Olympic Committee’s decision to give the games to some other sucker.
I know, technically that’s not a triumph of the Chicago electorate. But since I rarely have anything to cheer about, I can’t be too picky.
Anyway, that’s how I was feeling last night.
This morning I woke up a little hungover as the reality set in.
Folks, let me be the first to warn you—there’s a shitstorm a-coming.
If I had any doubts, the clues were there in form of a quote from David Axelrod, the smart guy in Mayor Rahm’s campaign.
Every despot’s got to have at least one.
Here’s what Axelrod told Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times:
“People will look at both candidates and say, ‘Who’s big enough for the job?’ They understand that the challenges are so big and complex, it requires larger-than-life candidates. That’s why the people who’ve thrived in this job are the Harold Washingtons, the Rich Daleys and the Rahm Emanuels. If someone comes through a run-off, they’ll be scrutinized in a way that they haven’t been much more closely as a potential mayor.”
Smart guy, that Axelrod. No wonder he went so far. In one little quote, he invoked the name of Mayor Washington while letting us know Rahm’s about to use some tactics straight from the Bernie Epton playbook.
Epton was the eccentric Republican who came close to beating Washington by running the infamous “before it’s too late” campaign that was largely intended to scare the hell out of white people.
In general, Epton’s campaign tried to turn Harold Washington into the living, breathing incarnation of white’s people worst fears about black people.
I figure Mayor Rahm’s going to try a similar thing with Garcia, minus the overt racial appeals.
Get ready for six weeks of crazy as Rahm tries to paint Garcia as a wild-eyed radical—there’s gonna be a whole lotta red-baiting going on, folks.
When Rahm’s not busy trying to change Garcia into the second coming of Che Guevara, he’s going to be telling us that only he can save us from financial armageddon.
Even though he’s either the guy who created the mess or supported the guy who created it in the first place.
The fact is, it’s virtually impossible to say with any degree of certainty what our financial state is, since the powers that be in this town pretty much make stuff up as they go along.
As I’ve already told you.
Take your air-sickness pills, Chicago. The ride’s gonna get bumpy.
In the end, Rahm’s money may buy enough mailings and commercials to scare enough voters into keeping the old crowd in charge.
My jubilation may be short-lived.
So allow me one last moment of Melldom: “Ha, ha, ha, ha, Rahm got his ass whupped!
That was fun. Let’s hope it lasts a while.