Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rahm finds his strongest support coming from the right

The Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools group marches to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office at City Hall on Monday to present a letter from Chicago Public Schools students asking him not to close their schools. | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times
Once again, the mayor is finding his strongest support coming from right-wing, anti-tax, anti-union conservatives. The far-right National Review dotes on Rahm and his school closings and blasts CTU prez Karen Lewis for her "overheated rhetoric." Oh the horror -- she called him the "murder mayor" since the city's murder rate jumped 40% in his first year and his policies include the mass murder of city health and mental clinics as well as schools.

But while the squeamish gentlemen at NR may take offense at Lewis' hard-hitting metaphors, her rhetoric seems mild compared to what I am hearing from her base in the schools and in the neighborhoods. If anyone (NR conservatives included) has any doubts about the strength of that base of support on the school closings issue, it would behoove them to show up at the Daley Center tomorrow around 4 p.m. and get a taste of the breadth and depth of anger people are feeling.

It's Rahm, not Karen whose ratings are plummeting and the National Review crowd isn't going to be much help to Rahm in 2014. Check out the Crain's/Ipsos poll from a few week's ago showing strong support for the mayor at just a measly 2%. Axelrod & Associates can't be happy with those numbers. Rahm won the last election with a big bankroll and strong turnout from the city's black community mainly a result of his previous association with Obama. But his assault (murder?) on social services and now south and west-side public schools could open the door for a viable opposition candidate in 2014. Toni Preckwinkle's name is already being mentioned, along with that of some members of the Progressive Caucus in the City Council.

Meanwhile, Karen Lewis and her progressive CORE Caucus are facing a rematch with their old-guard opponents (sorry, I can't remember their names) in the upcoming union election. But I did hear that CORE just filed 5,000 signatures, five times the required number on nominating petitions. This, in case there was any doubt about rank-and-file support for their leadership.

Just a reminder 

Save the date, April 11th for Cocktails and Conversation, a fundraiser for CORE, at Weegee's Lounge in Logan Square. It will be the social event of the Spring. No one wearing a tie will be admitted.

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