Back before Christmas I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s “Rahm Problem” and wondered whether it might eventually become a bigger challenge for her during the presidential campaign. Rahm, as we’ve all seen, is in considerable hot water in Chicago, mostly over the scandals surrounding his police force there. He’s become immensely unpopular among the Democratic base and something of a whipping boy for the Black Lives Matter movement. But that puts both Hillary Clinton and her husband in a rather tight spot. There’s only so far they can go in distancing themselves from Rahm since he was one of the top Lieutenants in Clinton Incorporated and is generally considered one of the people who knows where all the bodies are buried in terms of the Clintons. (At least figuratively, if not literally.)
But Illinois is in the news for more reasons than just Rahm’s law enforcement woes. Their primary is coming up tomorrow and the Democrats will want to drive up their turnout there in the general election this fall as well. With that in mind, Clinton seems to have made the decision that it’s time to cut poor old Rahm loose. (Bloomberg News)
Bernie Sanders has tried to make the presidential primary vote in and around Chicago into a referendum on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but Hillary Clinton won’t be giving him more ammunition when she visits the city on Monday.
The Democratic presidential candidate and the former Clinton and Obama White House aide aren’t expected to see each other while she’s in town, Emanuel’s office said Sunday. Clinton often meets with, or is introduced by, mayors or other elected officials who have endorsed her as she campaigns across the country.
Adam Collins, a spokesman for Emanuel, said the mayor’s “focus remains on the job voters hired him to do last year, create opportunities for people across the city and tackle the challenges Chicago faces.” While Emanuel and Clinton won’t be meeting because “their respective schedules [won’t] make it possible,” Collins said, “the mayor’s support for President Clinton and Secretary Clinton is well known.”
That brief description demonstrates just how far the mighty have fallen. When Hillary Clinton visits any large, Democrat held city around the country, the mayors generally drop everything to get out there for a meet and greet, pose for some pictures and show their support for her. The fact that Rahm is a decades long insider who worked directly for the Clintons means he would normally be in a seat of honor any time Hillary hits Chi-Town. But now there won’t be so much as a meeting.
In case he was thinking of switching sides in the primary race over the snub, Rahm shouldn’t expect a bouquet of roses from Bernie Sanders either. The Vermont socialist was in Illinois this morning and was asked if he would be looking for Emanuel’s endorsement. His response was short, crisp and unequivocal. He will not seek nor will he accept an endorsement from Rahm. (KITV Chicago)
“I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for not endorsing me. I don’t want his endorsement!” Sanders said at a Chicago rally. “I don’t want the endorsement of a mayor who is shutting down school after school and firing teachers.”
It’s an odd piece of political irony that Emanuel could be complicating Clinton’s prospects to win the Illinois primary.
That’s pretty harsh, but Democratic politics isn’t bean bag either I suppose. As long as Rahm knows he’ll be in line for some favors in a new Clinton administration once he leaves office in Chicago I imagine he’ll keep his mouth shut and remain a loyal soldier. But wouldn’t it be fun if he didn’t? Just imagine the stories that guy could tell.