The “Chicago machine” is in the midst of a transformation, a retooling for the future, and it is being funded by Republican money. That’s right: I said Republican money.
Make no mistake: This is not the “machine” of Mayor Richard J. Daley, who ruled Chicago with an iron fist for 21 years. This is a new Chicago Democratic machine.
Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago machine.
It came as no surprise to those of us in Chicago that Emanuel is already plotting his third term as mayor after promising he wouldn’t. He speaks so much out of both sides of his mouth so much he could give ventriloquist Jeff Dunham a run for his money — or one of his dummies.
Last week, the Chicago City Council passed Emanuel’s massive $7.8 billion budget, including a record $720 million in new property taxes and fees. Citing a fiscal emergency, Emanuel painted a dystopian future of an “unlivable” city to his allies in the Chicago City Council. Yet he left plenty of room to increase his own mayoral budget.
That’s taking “never letting a good crisis go to waste” too far.
Emanuel’s massive tax hike represents another broken campaign promise. It’s also the vindictive mayor’s payback to a Chicago electorate that forced him into historic runoff race against challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Last February, the fall of the house of Rahm seemed all but imminent. A run-off defeat would have put the kibosh on Emanuel’s political career both in Chicago and nationally. The Democratic National Committee is not as forgiving of political losers as Republicans.
But in the ninth hour, Emanuel knitted together a motley crew of support: a coalition of GOP millionaires (and billionaires), business leaders, and anti-Hispanic elements in Chicago’s black community.
Yes, Republicans saved Rahm’s sorry skin.
The Illinois Republican leadership headed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Sen. Mark Kirk endorsed Emanuel for re-election citing his “financial acumen.” Never mind Chicago’s regular downgrades from Moody’s or the hundreds of millions Emanuel has borrowed to kick the fiscal can down the road.
In fact, Hizzoner’s biggest donor is GOP billionaire Ken Griffin who has contributed millions (and the use of his private jet) to Emanuel and his PACs.
There is something fishy going on here and it isn’t just the dead fish Emanuel once sent to that pollster who ticked him off.
What’s fishy is that there really never was a Republican Party in Illinois. To wit: Griffin is a former bundler for Barack Obama.
Rauner and Emanuel are longtime business partners who have made millions of dollars together. In fact, it was Rauner’s deal with SBC that made Rahm a millionaire overnight. (As an aside, Bill Daley — former White House chief of staff to President Obama, son of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley — was on the other side of the deal as president of SBC.)
For decades, Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist, donated millions to the Democratic Party to defeat Republicans. The “investment” paid dividends in the form of state and union pension contract business for his firm, GTCR. He is also a big donor to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
National conservatives like George Will and Steve Forbes, who have repeatedly praised Rauner, have failed to mention any of this.
Though Rauner claims “outsider” status, he is the ultimate insider. Before he ran for governor Rauner was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley (the son) to head-up Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism arm. His mission: To secure $30 billion for Emanuel’s Chicago casino project.
Think of Rahm’s Chicago Machine armed with a city casino. Think of all the money and contracts and political favors he can run through that casino in a corrupt city like Chicago.
This is why Rahm wants to stick around for another term and why “Republicans” like Rauner are helping him.
Chicago, like the rest of the country, is divided into the haves and the have-nots. The political ruling class and the new slave class, i.e., the rest of us.
The days of America as a meritocracy have long since gone. The middle class is no more and that is why outsider politicians like Ben Carson and Donald Trump are befuddling the political establishment.
Their top position in national presidential polls is in direct proportion to the anger in the electorate.
It’s real. It exists.
Chicago used to be known as “The City That Works.” But it doesn’t work for middle class or working class or white collar Chicagoans anymore. It doesn’t work for anyone —anyone except for Rahm, his pals, and their new Chicago machine.
William J. Kelly is an American producer, television and radio host, commentator, media strategist, and critic. In 1994, he ran for U.S. Congress. In 2015, he made waves when he busted the campaign finance caps in the Chicago mayor’s race. He is the founder of RevDigital, an independent TV and documentary production house. Kelly is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times, American Spectator, and others. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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