|Rep. Gutierrez is backing his pal, Rahm, for mayor.|
Rep. Luis Gutierrez has pulled another flip-flop, endorsing Rahm Emanuel after first attacking him as an enemy of the unions. No one should be surprised.
In his book, Overhaul, Obama's former "car czar" Steven Rattner offers an insider's account of the Obama administration's rescue of the auto industry. Rattner depicts then White House Chief of Staff Emanuel as a bully who disparaged unions and who could also be spectacularly blunt, once telling Rattner during a meeting about GM and Chrysler's massive problems and potential bankruptcies:
"Why even save GM?" When Rattner adviser Ron Bloom noted that tens of thousands of autoworker jobs were at stake, Emanuel huffed, "Fuck the UAW," referring to the United Auto Workers union.Such Rahm outbursts were common in those days. Remember when he called progressives “fucking retarded” for contemplating primary challenges against conservative Democrats?
Now fast forward to 2010. Rahm has left the White House and returned to take over the Democratic Machine in Chicago and run for mayor. At the time, Rep. Luis Gutierrez was also contemplating a run. Luis went ballistic when he heard that then AFSCME Pres. Gerry McEntee had come out and endorsed Rahm.
"I'm shocked that Gerry McEntee would endorse Rahm Emanuel, considering what Rahm has done to working people," Gutierrez told me. "This is the same Rahm Emanuel who said 'Fuck the UAW!'" Gutierrez characterized McEntee's endorsement of Emanuel as "a disgrace to the labor movement. ... What about all my years paying dues as an AFSCME member or all those year walking picket lines as Congressman? I guess that counts for nothing," Gutierrez continued.Luis' outrage was understandable. Many of us felt the same anger a few months ago when we learned that SEIU Local 73 Pres. Christine Boardman had donated thousands to Rahm's over-stuffed campaign war chest. Didn't she know what Rahm had done to working people?
Gutierrez has been chastising Rahm for sabotaging immigration reform. Emanuel once infamously called immigration reform "the third rail of American politics." Gutierrez charged that Emanuel--when he chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee--had convinced House Democrats in close races in 2006 to support legislation that would have actually given law enforcement agents incentive to turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities.
So what are we to make of Gutierrez' own endorsement or Rahm last week over his former progressive ally, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
It boggles the mind how opportunist politicians can turn on a dime. But none of us should have been surprised by Luis' endorsement of Rahm. Remember, he had backed machine candidate Toni Berrios against progressive Will Guzzardi in the 39th Dist. race. Luis claimed then, that anyone who opposed the daughter of machine boss Joe Berrios was trying to "silence Latino voices."