With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Politics as spectator sport

“There isn’t any gravy to be given out when I’m elected mayor,” García said. “I’m going to be collaborative and engaging.”
I'm not sure who won last night's debate. It was probably the guy you were rooting for. To me, Rahm came off as stiff, scripted ("My strengths are my weaknesses" again?) and on the defensive. He squirmed on elected school board. He lied on the record number of neighborhood shootings. He fudged on property taxes. He even tried to make it seem like he was leading the fight against his own red-light cameras.

I thought Chuy held his own and scored some points but nothing decisive. Next time he's really got to get after it on those points and others.

This AP headline cracked me up: Chicago mayor faults election opponent as lacking gravitas. Gravitas? Really? For those who don't speak Latin, that means seriousness. Funny, I thought Chuy came off as dead serious. Maybe a little too serious. A little pointed humor wouldn't hurt.

They say, politics isn't a spectator sport. Yet, I can't help but descend into the pit of basketball jargon on this one: I hope that in the next quarter Chuy will be more aggressive (physical). Don't let Rahm control the court and tempo of the game. He gets rattled and blows it when you get in his face (as our main scorer Karen Lewis showed us many times). And if we're trailing by a few points with the clock running down, I always tell my kids, you can't afford to trade baskets. Even risk fouling. Play with confidence, even when behind. Take it right to the opponent.

Sorry, I've run out of b-ball cliches. It's early.

What I do know is this. When you cut through all the debate tricks and horse crap, Rahm's economic plan boils down to one thing -- unconstitutional (that means illegal) so-called "pension reform" that will most surely be thrown out by the court. Then we're back to square one -- only worse -- with interest. His back up plan is casinos. I mean, haven't we been there before on education funding with the lottery?

While Carol Marin played the tough inquisitor, calling for "specifics" (much more from Chuy) on city finances, nobody telling the truth has the plan to get this city, state and school system out of debt or quickly or undo what's been done over the years by Springfield/Rahm/Daley. If you want to talk specifics, they're the ones who have failed to make pension fund payments or in Rahm/Daley's case, have taken pension holidays. Now when the bill comes due, they blame Chuy.

Chuy is right to say there's no easy answers or get-rich-quick schemes out there, even if saying so costs him a few points with the media. Rahm and his predecessor have looted the place or sold it off to the lowest bidder, from the schools to the skyway. From the the parking meters to the DePaul basketball arena (there I go again). They've badly damaged the economic viability and credibility of this city and state while eroding public space and public decision-making.

The question now is, who will bear the main burden for this unnatural disaster as we struggle our way out? Rahm says, the working poor (red-light cameras and other hidden taxes) and retirees living on fixed income. Please don't fall for his no-property-taxes b.s.. Chuy says, make the corporations and largely un-taxed super-wealthy who have benefited the most, pay their fair share in taxes. Send TIF dollars where they should go. The choice should be an easy one for the 99%. If we can turn them out on election day.
Memo to Don Rose... For those who weren't tweeting last night, you missed out on a twitter storm. As of 6:50pm, #DumpRahm was the third top-trending hashtag in Chicago. Here some good ones:

1 comment:

  1. "Not True & They Knew It."


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.