Friday, October 01, 2010

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Is Rahm about to Sleep With the Fishes?

Ed Driscoll » Is Rahm about to Sleep With the Fishes?

A classic Chicagoism used by Mike Royko was "Nobody wants nobody that nobody sent." Who sent Rahm Emanuel? If his ticket reads Obama then he does show up as dead meat. Obama is a nobody now. He was sent to Springfield and then to Washington to get him out of town. Chicago is stuffed with politicians and their moray eels who want only bad things to happen to Obama. The Jesse Jackson affiliated Blacks hate him. The Clinton aligned Daley Whites hate him. The Hispanics, mostly Mexican in Chicago, had only a tactical truce with him and Obama has failed to deliver on anything promised. None of them have any loyalty or affection for Rahm. The Hyde Park academics and Gold Coast liberals may have spilled ink for Barak and raised cash two years ago but they would have nightmares about being caught in an elevator with Emanuel.

There is precedence in American history for kicking the unsociable and incompetent upstairs. That explains how we got saddled with Woodrow Wilson in the White House, after first Princeton and then New Jersey looked for a place to ship him off to. Fortunately for the world Henry Cabot Lodge declined to swallow the Treaty of Versailles with its attached League of Nations. That denied Wilson the throne to which he expected to ascend that was big enough for his ego, as President of the World.

There are two problems with relying on a theory of advancing through irritability.
1. It makes you devote your energy to promoting reasons not to simply fire you that are unrelated to job performance. By ratcheting up racial preferencing to your own benefit and engaging in the politics of recrimination it is possible to convince people in the short run that it is easier to promote you than engage in a public war with attendant charges and scandals that damage the community or the institution that is being used as a meal ticket or stepping stone.

On rare occasions this fails and the manipulator is fired but usually that takes outside pressure. For example Ward Churchill eventually made himself unwelcome after a long and successful career of pretending to be a Native American scholar. The best evidence being that he was neither but his removal was only effectuated when he brought unwelcome outside attention to campus. The higher the position being used the less likely it is that an outside power will be able to apply pressure. Obama could only be removed from office by an Impeachment, which would require a mass and broad based political movement to stand a chance. There is no way that any combination of legislators acting in a purely political capacity would be able to remove him as long as he retains the support of even 30% of the electorate. Emanuel is not so protected and he does have to deal with the destructive effects that his and Obama's climb out of Chicagoland have left on those who remained behind.

2. The strategy of advancing by irritating the local host so that it ejects you up and not out is therefor not reversible. For the climber who emerges out of a pit by convincing others to lift them not out of a conviction of mutual support but out of a desire to be rid of you Thomas Wolfe was right, "You Can't Go Home Again."

In a year when the Illinois Democrats are exhausting themselves trying to recover from both the implosion of their Governor and attempting to force in a candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Obama who is dripping with criminal associations they may not have the energy left to stop Rahm Emanuel from seizing City Hall. The Republicans probably lack the organization to keep him out of Daley Plaza. That may well prove a disaster for the Cook County Democrats, although it might in doing so provide a window over the next few years for other voices to grow stronger, leading to a revival of a more honest form of politics and the polity.

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