Please Run, Rahm. Please?

[ Posted Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 – 17:07 PDT ]

The news today that has all of Washington a-twitter (and, although I have not checked, also likely "a-Twitter") is that the mayor of Chicago has decided he will refrain from running for a seventh (!) term. This opens up the field, and the reason why it may become national news is that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has long expressed a desire to run for this particular office, should the current mayor decide against running again. Which has now happened.

So I'd like to send a plea to Rahm Emanuel: Please, please run for mayor of Chicago, Rahm. Please.

I don't think it'd be an exaggeration to say that many Democrats across this great land (although perhaps not those in Chicago) would support your run for the mayor's office one-hundred-and-ten percent. We'd be behind your run, Rahm. We'd be delighted to see you run for mayor of Chicago. We really, really would.

In fact, I'd like to offer a further piece of advice to further your chances in the big election: change your last name to "Daley." You could now be known as "Rahm Emanuel Daley." History has shown that being named "Daley" is a winning tactic in the Windy City. Either legally change your name, or maybe get one of them to adopt you or something. Out of the past 55 years, there has been a "Mayor Daley" in the Chicago mayor's office for 42 of them. Just trying to be helpful, Rahm, that's all.

Of course, a campaign for such a big-city mayor's job will be all-encompassing, and will take up all of your time, so there's no time like the present to throw your hat in the ring. This would mean that you'd have to step down from your current job of running the Obama White House, and of course everyone will be sad to see you go. But the Obama West Wing is a hardy bunch, and they'll quickly get over it, I'm sure. I'd strongly suggest... oh, how about... "the middle of next week" for you to step down from your current duties. Best it were done soonest, don't you think? It'll be much easier for everyone to recover from your absence if you cut the ties quickly, I think we can all agree on that.

But never fear -- you'll be remembered by the national media long after you exit Washington to fully concentrate on the mayoral race. You'll even still have an official role in the White House -- "Chief Scapegoat." Don't take it the wrong way, but rightly or wrongly you're going to have to be the fall guy who takes the blame for any perceived missteps in the past few years. We're truly sorry about this, we can all assure you. It's just the rough-and-tumble game of politics, right?

Everyone will miss not only your profanity-laden exchanges with power brokers in D.C., but we'll also miss the profanity-laden responses such tirades inspire from others (such as this wonderful recent example from Michael Moore). It'll be a lot duller and quieter around the chief of staff's office, that's for sure, after you leave. But, as I said, we'll just have to get over it, won't we? And we won't even ask you to apologize for any of it, as you leave the White House for good.

In actual fact, you will be doing a great service to both your current boss and the Democratic Party by leaving before the midterms even arrive. By pinning all the blame on you (not in public, of course, but via leaks from anonymous "senior administration sources"), President Obama will be able to pivot in the last, crucial legislative session before the election. Rather than endlessly compromising on legislation and watering things down to the point of ineffectiveness, Obama will have the chance to draw a few lines in the sand and fight in a principled (as opposed to pragmatic) way for what he and the Democratic Party believes in, rather than chasing the myth of bipartisanship. You, on the other hand, will escape Washington ahead of the midterms, instead of afterwards, so you can state that you share no blame for the midterm election results. Win-win for everyone, right?

You may think you'll be leaving mighty big shoes to fill at the White House, Rahm, but rest assured that they'll find someone else to step in for you. Why, there are lots of folks wandering the halls of the West Wing who would likely do a great job at chief of staff. I could name quite a few, myself, but I don't want to be unseemly here by comparing their talents to yours. Besides, there'll be plenty of time for that later, after you're gone.

Rahm, we all know that you've got a tough decision to make, which is why I wrote this, in a helpful and sincere effort to convince you that nothing could be better than deciding immediately that running for mayor of Chicago is the best thing for all concerned. We certainly will be rooting for you out there on the campaign trail. But, of course, you shouldn't take anything for granted (even if you do become Rahm Emanuel Daley), so we urge you to take this race seriously and begin running in the middle of next week. As we stated, there's simply no time to lose.

Democrats will be solidly behind you, as you exit the White House to return to Chicago. We'll line the roads that your limousine passes by on your way to the airport, cheering. Of course, we'll be sad you're leaving town, but we'll do our best to let those feelings be overcome by the absolute joy to be experienced by wishing you well on the campaign trail, and in your future endeavors. And we'll try to let that joy -- and not any shred of disappointment at your exodus -- show through, as we line those streets.

In short, we have a message for you: Please, Rahm, please run. Pretty please?


-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


9 Comments on “Please Run, Rahm. Please?”

  1. [1] 
    Hawk Owl wrote:

    I'll confess a personal response to Michael Moore's history of Unions in the 20th century. My father was part of that 1937 sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan and Moore is not exaggerating at all about the hatred of management. They hired hundreds of "goons" armed with baseball bats and even guns to "break" the strike by breaking heads. The workers took over the plant, wives & mothers brought lunches to hand up through the windows at Fisher Body, risking harm to themselves.

    Previously workers would be required to manhandle 200 lb. engines or differential units into place on an assembly line moving one car per minute or faster. No bathroom breaks, no relief in a very hot environment all day long. A 10 or 12 hour day. Muscle ache? Arthritis? You bet.

    Moore's right on in another way. They did create an American Middle class. Now we have bossses who used to earn 28 times a line-worker's salary earning 430 times as much. "Workers'" salaries have -- adjusted for inflation -- remained flat for a quarter century while management's income has . . . well you know the rest of that statistical story.

    Well, I'll settle down, though I was a child of that generation who was able to get through college where my father had never a chance for it. Now my grandchildren are taking on HUGE Student Loan debt to get through college with very little chance of getting a job which will enable them to move into that "Middle Class."

    Thanks, Chris, for being on of the rare media writers who bothered to put out anything more than boiler-plate about Labor Day.

    The late Jimmie Breslin once remarked that reporters used to start as workers -- in the press room, on the street, beginning as cub reporters spending nights at the Police Station. Somewhere along the line, he observed, they all began in college and [still] have trouble writing about "workers" who do physical work. Someone did a random scan of stories about the Utah mine disaster a few years back. Only 23 out of some 1200 stories quoted Union spokesmen; the rest was all form handouts by the Management Public Relations Officer. The Media's lackluster coverage of Labor Day seems to bear him out.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's not forget the other side of the coin..

    Somewhere along the way, the UAW (and many other unions) became, in many ways, as bad as the management that initially created the Unions...

    The management of most Unions are as greedy and as self-serving as the management of the corporations.

    In other words, the management of the Unions victimize the workers just as much as the management of the corporations.


  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Wait a second ... isn't this supposed to be a farewell party for the president's departing chief of staff ... or did I miss something, again?

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I just read the "wonderful recent example" from Michael Moore and since my response won't pass muster with the moderators their, I'll say it here ...

    I hope you're joking about this because that lame piece was one of the most asinine pieces I have ever had the displeasure of reading at the Huffington Post - and, belive you me, I've read my share.

    One thing is for sure - Moore's latest piece doesn't deserve to have the words of Robert Kennedy grace it's ill-informed and misguided page.

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Someone did a random scan of stories about the Utah mine disaster a few years back. Only 23 out of some 1200 stories quoted Union spokesmen; the rest was all form handouts by the Management Public Relations Officer.

    Sad, Hawk Owl. We hardly ever see anything in the local media talking about unions living in a town dominated by Gannett and ClearChannel.

    Thanks for sharing about the strike! Very interesting story. This is more of what I wish people would write about on Labor Day.


  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth [3] -

    Farewell party? Why, that would be unseemly.



    The WashPost is running an online poll on this. Here are the results, after 608 votes to the question "Should Rahm Emanuel run?":

    16% -- "No. He should keep working with the Obama administration."

    23% -- "Yes. Get him out of Washington."

    30% -- "No. He shouldn't be in charge of anything."

    31% -- "Yes. He'd be a great mayor."

    Some of the comments to the poll are pretty amusing....


  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    "He [Rahm Emanuel] should run Blindfolded on I-495 wearing an ashpalt grey parka in rush hour on a foggy day."

    Heheheh. There are indeed some good comments on that poll site, CW.

    As I know you're also fond of graphs and visuals, here's a nice series done by Slate that illustrates the "Great Divergence":


  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:



    That was very funny.

    I guess what would be flat out hilarious would be if Rahm were to take Geithner out with him. Too bad Geithner is apolitical.

    Speaking of ... heh

    Did you happen to catch the McNeil/Lehrer Newshour tonight? Has there ever been a more obtuse line of questioning as that which the treasury secretary had to endure at the hands of one Jim Lehrer? How many ways can one journalist - and I use that term lightly - ask one mindless question ... over and over and over again!?

    If I had any doubts previously - and they've been building since the very beginning of the 2008 Democrat presidential primaries - I can damn sure guarantee you that the more intelligent half of this duo left the scene a long time ago.

    In fact, even the Gwen Ifill interview of the Republican House member Re. the economy was painful to watch as it was confirmed, yet again, that not even PBS can be counted on for enlightened journalism anymore.

  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    David -

    Yeah, that was exactly the quote I was referring to. Heh.

    Liz -

    I did catch it, although your comment (by virtue of your time zone superiority, when it comes to when these things are aired) appeared before I had seen it, so I had to wait to answer.

    Jim was kind of harping on the politics of the situation, you're right (he's been better, that's for sure), but I thought this was one of the best interviews I've ever seen with Geithner, personally. Because Geithner properly used each question as a springboard to make the points he wanted to, and he made each of these points admirably well. He's gotten to be a lot better public speaker in the past year, I have to admit. I especially liked the "remember when we came into office and people thought we were doing too much?!?"

    Gwen's had better days interviewing, too, I have to admit, although I've warmed to her a lot since she first appeared a few years ago, as she's gained both confidence and experience since. But the GOP guy needed to get called on a few things (like "what would you cut?") which Ifill didn't press hard enough on.

    But hey, give PBS a break. They're the only news org that even featured more than a 9-second soundbite on the speech. I mean, they LED the broadcast with it, and then had a discussion to follow up. That's a lot better than anyone else did, outside of maybe cable, which I didn't catch. The network news coverage was pathetic. Which is why it is so important that Obama will get a second chance to reach the public directly this Friday, in his press conference.


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