Tags: rahm emanuel | chicago | runoff

Emanuel's 'Imperious' Ways Nearly Blew Re-Election : Analyst

Emanuel's 'Imperious' Ways Nearly Blew Re-Election : Analyst
(Brian Kersey/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 09 April 2015 11:26 AM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel barely won re-election in the recent mayoral race, and there is no one else to blame but himself, political analyst James Warren writes.

"It is staggering that one of America’s smartest and feared politicians needed well over $20 million in both the general and runoff to keep his job against seemingly token opposition," Warren, who is Washington bureau chief for the New York Daily News and former managing editor for the Chicago Tribune, wrote in an opinion piece for Politico.

Emanuel won the runoff election Tuesday against Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, a little-known Cook County commissioner, 55 percent to 44 percent, after he wasn't able to win a majority of the vote in a four-way race in February.

However, Warren says that the reason for the tough re-election campaign was the result of Emanuel totally "screwing up a reelection campaign that should have been a breeze."

Emanuel had to defeat "a patently inferior opponent" by tapping into high-dollar donors such as Google's Eric Schmidt, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Warren said.

According to the veteran journalist, the Chicago mayor had a lot of successes during his first term in office: "He cut back on pension benefits for some city workers; started trimming a huge structural deficit; lengthened America’s shortest public school day and year; used his D.C. clout to get money for significant transit infrastructure improvements; accelerated an impressive rise in the kids on track to graduate from high school; and is energizing an embarrassing city colleges system with big help from corporate leaders."

But the problem was that the locals were ignorant, partly because Emanuel is in the media so often that "people, including the media, couldn't differentiate between substance and artifice."

As a result, "they tuned him out, focusing more on what they could simply understand: He can be an imperious jerk who hogs the spotlight, takes too much credit for too much and compounds it all by being an erratic manager who’s not big on long-term planning."

To that end, Chicago voters saw the election as a referendum on Emanuel. But as one voter told Warren, despite Emanuel's "arrogance and condescension, I believe on balance Rahm is best suited to continue to attack the problems that concern us all, rich or poor."

As the runoff campaign continued, Garcia ultimately wasn't able to combat Emanuel's characterization of the former commissioner as "a man over his head and not to be trusted with governing a major American city."

While Emanuel says that he was humbled and learned some lessons from his near loss and plans to govern "in a different fashion," Warren said that his hope is that the Chicago mayor "will step back, realize the sources of the city’s fatigue with him and stop fretting over winning every single news cycle.

"With a dash more heart and modesty, Emanuel’s future should be bright even after Tuesday’s narrow and expensive escape," he said.

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US
James Warren writes in Politico that the reason Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to go through a tough runoff race was his personality — he can be such an "imperious jerk" he nearly messed "up a reelection campaign that should have been a breeze."
rahm emanuel, chicago, runoff
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2015-26-09
Thursday, 09 April 2015 11:26 AM
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