With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rahm puts stamp of approval on Kirk's scare tactics

“It’s just the fact of the matter. We’re in a dynamic environment in which Detroit hangs over the future of Chicago’s economy.” -- Sen. Mark Kirk
The Mayor's re-election campaign has taken the turn we knew it would. It's become a fear campaign, conjuring up imagery and racist code language of a failed city overrun by people of color, should Chuy Garcia become the city's first Latino mayor.

Their new campaign slogan: Vote For Rahm Before It's Too Late.

Seeing Garcia running dead even with Rahm in the latest polls and having all but given up on reinventing a kinder, gentler Rahm, they're borrowing a page from the Chicago machine's 1983 failed racist campaign against Harold Washington.

In case you've forgotten or are too young to have lived it, check out this Mike Royko column from 1986, mocking "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak's "anybody but Harold" slogan. Vrdolyak, "Slow Eddie" Burke and the whole official Chicago Democratic Party turned Republican overnight in 1983 and again in 1987, in an attempt to stop Harold from becoming the city's first black mayor.

Rahm & Kirk
A "Wet Mayor"?...The same tactics were dredged up again in 1989 when Richie Daley ran against against another African-American candidate, Eugene Sawyer (father of current alderman and Progressive Caucus member, Rod Sawyer).

In a stump speech on Chicago's northwest side, Daley told a mainly-Polish crowd of supporters, "you need a white mayor who can sit down with everybody." When the media called him on it, Daley denied he said it, even though it was recorded. According to Tribune columnist John Kass,
In his 1989 campaign, a videotape of a speech to community groups suggested that Daley said Chicago needed a white mayor. The mayor and his staff immediately denied he said that, and some suggested that a tired Daley said "wet mayor" instead. Huh?
 And so the city nodded, and accepted the idea that we needed a wet mayor, and voters from the Northwest Side, Southwest Side and the lakefront ran to the polls to get rid of the black guy who was in office.
Now faced with changing demographics and changing political realities of a new Chicago, the remnants of that decrepit old machine and its new Republican allies like Gov. Bruce Rauner and Sen. Mark Kirk, are going there again.

Kirk unofficially endorsed Emanuel Monday when he claimed Chicago will become the next Detroit if Emanuel was not re-elected. You might remember that Kirk, in 2013, called for the jailing of 18,000 young black men as a solution to the city's crime problem.

The following day, reports the Ward Room,
Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a subtle affirmation of Sen. Mark Kirk's not-so-subtle statement comparing Chicago to Detroit without Emanuel as mayor.
 The mayor did not exactly clap Kirk on the back for his endorsement, however, perhaps because Emanuel has avoided comparing Chicago to Detroit, as Spielman noted.
Kirk and Emanuel both insist that the Detroit reference was not about race, but about the bond market. The insinuation was that if Garcia wins, Chicago's credit rating will fall into the dumper. The reason you know that's B.S. is that it's already happened -- under Rahm.

1 comment:

  1. And they say Chicago is a one-party town. It's becoming a Republican stronghold.


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