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"Rahmbo For Mayor" May Happen Now That Rahm Emanuel Sees Obama Sinking


rahm emanuelRahmbo for Mayor! Who in the Windy City wouldn’t be proud to sport such a campaign button?  And it looks like we’re one step close to such a possibility. A few weeks ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel –rumored to be considering a run for Chicago mayor - met privately with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. – another potential candidate – ostensibly  “to discuss the Chicago mayor's race.” 

 Rahmbo has been signaling interest in the job at least since last April when he pledged support for incumbent mayor Richard Daly: “I will work and support him if he seeks re-election. But if Mayor Daley doesn't, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago."  And that “one day” may be coming up soon: Daly in fact is not seeking re-election and candidates must file their petitions by November 22. Notably, that’s after the November elections and the President himself, while conceding that Emanuel would be a “terrific” mayor said he didn’t expect a decision from the Chief until after the anna vernamid-terms.

But why would someone who sits at the right hand of the President give up a White House job for a run at a mayor’s seat in any city? Think about it – would you rather have Mayor Michael Nutter’s job or the very top position next to the President of the United States? An office in City Hall or one in the White House? Work with Anna Verna or Nancy Pelosi? OK, two out of three – I’d rather work with Anna Verna.

But you see my point – it strains credulity to believe that Rahm Emanuel would step down from being White House Chief of Staff to run for the mayor of Chicago simply because it’s the job he’s always wanted to have. Granted, this is the first time the job has been open since Daly was elected in 1989, but what are the odds of the next mayor holding the seat that long? And Rahm could potentially be giving up six more years in Washington - if Obama is re-elected in 2012 and Rahm’s position is renewed. 

Why not retire from the White House in 2016, take a faculty job at a university teaching political science (or perhaps ethics), write a book and do a speaking tour? Imagine Rahmbo signing his memoirs at Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square: “Yes We Did – Eight Years of Hope and Change in the Obama White House” or some such silly title. 

One of my favorite sayings is, “when the ship is sinking, the rats are the first to leave.” Another one is, “don’t let the door hit you in the… butt.“ These two pearls of wisdom may provide insights into Rahmbo’s real motivations to run for Chicago mayor. 

Even the most steadfast deniers have to admit that Obama’s presidency is in trouble. As of this writing, his approval rating on the Gallup Poll was a mere 45% and it hasn’t been above 50% since June. Americans are becoming more pessimistic about the economy and a majority now believe we will still be in this recession a year from now.   And the so-called Recovery Summer ended with the unemployment rate inching back up to 9.6%.  As a result, many analysts are now predicting not only a significant Republican gain in the mid-term elections but one strongly flavored by the Tea Party agenda.

None of this is good news if you are the President – or the one closest to the President…or someone who could get a good share of the blame…

If Rahmbo believes that the whole Obama empire is beginning to crash down – and he may find it hard not to - a run for Mayor of Chicago would be a smart and honorable exit strategy.  In other words, get out while the getting is good. The White House job won’t be half as much fun if the Democrats lose the Hill and it won’t be there at all if Obama loses in 2012. By the same token, there has been talk of change in leadership in the White House staff, with some party leaders blaming Emanuel at least in part for President Obama’s flaming fall from grace. Interpretation: if you think you might get fired, that’s a really good reason to look for another job.

So maybe it’s a win-win-win – Rahmbo leaves the sinking ship not with his tail between his legs but head held high on his way to the job he’s always wanted. The President gets him out of the White House - without embarrassment, compared to more infamous staff exits like Van Jones or Christina Romer. And of course the Party will be happier with him gone.  But isn’t Mayor of Chicago a better fit for Rahmbo anyway? After all, this is the guy known to send you a dead fish if you get him angry… Hmmm - if the Chicago Mayor gig doesn’t work out, maybe we could bring him to Philly to take Carl Greene’s job at the PHA? Just a thought… Go Rahmbo!

Contact George Leon at george_h_leon@yahoo.com

Photo of Rahm Emanuel from chattahbox.com

Photo of Anna Verna from reformphilly.com