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Rahmming Speed!

For the first time in ages, the mayor's race in Chicago isn't a yawn-fest as the Democratic machine just anoints the latest scion or pawn of the Daley mob. Because Big Rahm's coming back, and he wants that office.

Rahm Emanuel, son of the Windy City, former Congressman (he served as Democratic leg-breaker whip), now former White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel is a true son of the city; he's got all the diplomacy and tact and sensitivity of Al Capone. He's a product of the Chicago Democratic Machine, a made member of the Chi-Town mob.

But there's one teeny-tiny hitch in Emanuel's grand plan: Illinois law. The state has a residency requirement: in order to run for office, a candidate has to have had their legal residency in the area they will represent for at least one year. When Emanuel resigned from the House to serve as Obama's Chief of Staff, he rented out his Chicago home. That lease ran out early in September, six days before Mayor Richard Daley announced he wouldn't run again -- and Emanuel's tenant renewed the lease for another year.

So Emanuel has no legal residence in Chicago, where he wants to be mayor. It's not the first time his house-keeping has been an issue. For five years, he lived in an apartment owned by another House member and her lobbyist husband.

Rent-free, of course.

So, back to the mayor's race in Chicago. By law, Emanuel is not eligible to run for the seat. But will that matter?

You gotta remember we're dealing with Democratic machine politics here. The law only means what they say it means.

Remember the 2002 New Jersey Senate race? Bob Torricelli was the incumbent, facing a challenge from Republican Doug Forrester. Torricelli was doing well -- right up until it came out that he was under federal investigation on corruption charges. So Torricelli withdrew, and the Democratic party chose former Senator Frank Lautenberg to take his place. New Jersey Republicans protested, saying that the deadline for changes in the ballot had passed -- by law, the only way a candidate could be replaced would be if they died. The Democrats argued that the scandal meant that Torricelli was pretty much bound to lose, and that was the same as him dying -- so they could swap him out with someone more likely to win.

And the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "he's going to lose" was the same as "he's dead, Jim" and let the swap go.

So, what does this mean for Chicago? Technically, nothing. Practically speaking, though, it shows that to powerful Democratic machines, laws only mean what they want them to mean in the furtherance of the machine's goals.

The letter of the law will simply not matter in the case of whether or not Emanuel will be allowed to run for Mayor of Chicago. No, what will be the deciding factor is whether the machine will back him or not. If they reject him, then the law will be found to exclude him. If they accept him, then the law will be "re-interpreted" in some way to allow him to run for office. His leased-out home will be found to "count" as his residence. Voter records will mysteriously appear and disappear to show that he has always been registered in Chicago. Other legal records will back it up (just don't check to see how dry the ink is). Emanuel will always have been a proud citizen of the Second City, just like Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

The entertaining part will be seeing how it plays out. Remember, Barack Obama is also a product of the Chicago machine (which rivals Louisiana for "most corrupt political machine in the country"). Obama's own rise to power also played out the Chicago way -- opponents were disqualified from ballots, their private records found their way to the public, and other nefarious actions all assured Obama that he'd never have to face a real challenge. The one exception was when he ran for the House of Representatives in 2000. There, Obama was up against Bobby Rush, who got the nod from the party machine and handed Obama his sole electoral defeat in his entire life.

So it's not clear whether or not Emanuel will be allowed to run for mayor or not. That decision has not been made. However, what is clear is that the decision will be made by the machine, not the people or not the courts -- and it will have very little to do with the law or the intent behind that law.

That's the Chicago way. That's the Democratic way.


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Comments (27)

This Rahm abandoning the sh... (Below threshold)

This Rahm abandoning the ship, well, it will be interesting. Will he be handed the Golden RIng he has been promised, or will it be snatched away and bus wheels track over his fine suit? It will be a harbinger of what is to come when the icebergs of November meet the Demotanic.

I suspect this is another t... (Below threshold)

I suspect this is another thing that hinges on the results of the midterms.

Illinois politicians are pi... (Below threshold)

Illinois politicians are pikers. Someone from Mass needs to step in and show them how it's done. First ask what it is you want accomplished, then pass a new law (or change an old one) ahead of time. And viola!

Rahm should have called before hand and told them he wanted to run for mayor to give them time to change the law to accomodate him.

But, that's the Mass way and Chicagoans seem to prefer the "So? Whaddya gonna do about it?" way.

This demonstrates perfectly... (Below threshold)

This demonstrates perfectly why this administration has been so supremely incompetent. His fracking chief of staff leaves the job to run for an office for which he does not meet the requirements. Think about that a bit. Any rational person would have worked this out BEFORE leaving to run, but the incompetents that Obummer has used for a staff can't even get that right. We are well and truly fracked.

Two typos:Paragrap... (Below threshold)

Two typos:

Paragraph 9: "ruled unanimously ruled" - drop the second copy of "ruled"

Paragraph 12: "was ran he ran" - Should be "when he ran" I think....

Sorry, these just jumped out at me as I read....

He's already been anointed/... (Below threshold)

He's already been anointed/appointed as mayor - after all, can anyone think that he WOULDN'T have left his position in the WH without making sure the fix was in?

The election is a mere formality. If there was a way to simply appoint the mayor without going through the time and expense of having an election, they'd do it. They can't quite do it yet, but give them time...

So the biggest obstacle to ... (Below threshold)

So the biggest obstacle to Rahm being mayor is the law.

In Chicago.


After that, what? Invisible ninja dust mites?

Typos fixed, Mycroft. (sigh... (Below threshold)

Typos fixed, Mycroft. (sigh) Thanks.


Two important observations:... (Below threshold)
MrJimm, Chicago:

Two important observations:

1) Presidential insider (& Chicago slumlord) Valerie Jarrett refused on camera to endorse him. (Just by the way, she & Rahm fought tooth & nail, and she will run roughshod over Rahm's successor.)

2) Obama has (sort of) endorsed him, but will find himself under HUGE amounts of pressure from the Chicago black leadership, who want to grab all that power (to dole out do-nothing city contracts) for themselves. The Democrats have already lost the working-class white voters (AP news headline this morning) and now they may find themselves losing the black voters, too.

We live in interesting times!

It's disheartening to read ... (Below threshold)

It's disheartening to read how Chicago and Louisiana are number one and two in political corruption. Why do you continue to ignore North Carolina? I would submit that the Tar Heel State has been more corrupt for a longer period than Chi-Town or the Pelican State.

"Elections? We don't need n... (Below threshold)

"Elections? We don't need no steenking elections!"

Surely he will just assume the office, voting be damned.

Jay Tea: Democrats break... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea: Democrats break Windy City laws all the time!

I grew up in the Chicago ar... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I grew up in the Chicago area. Nobody who lives there knows of Rahm as being from Chicago. He never did anything in that city. He never was anyone until he appeared in the Clinton Administration. He got his Congressional seat due to that connection and not because he was considered some great Chicagoan.

It's one thing to elect someone with a tenuous connection to the city to a DC office when it is clear that he is well connected in DC. It is another thing to elect someone mayor who has virtually no connection to the city other than he registered to vote there several decades ago.

Chicagoans do not see him as one of them.

It is not just the Chicago ... (Below threshold)

It is not just the Chicago way, it has been established in Washington as the America way.
Sad, isn't it?

Oh, please. More IOKIYAR ke... (Below threshold)

Oh, please. More IOKIYAR kerfuffle hypocrisy.


However, what is clear is that the decision will be made by the machine, not the people or not the courts

I like how your evidence of this is a decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Last I checked, that was a court.

Unless your position is that Chicago is ruled by the will of Landru.

In any case, have you seen how Rahm is doing with his stumping? He doesn't have a chance.

john, do NOT get me started... (Below threshold)

john, do NOT get me started on residency. Ted Kennedy once declared his DC-area home as his primary residence for tax purposes -- then had to pay it all back plus more when someone noted that would cost him his Senate seat. And when his mother died, he had her declared a resident of Florida (where she hadn't been in over a dozen years) to beat Massachusetts inheritance taxes.


Comparing Teddy and Rahm, O... (Below threshold)

Comparing Teddy and Rahm, OH MY!

As reported by CBS News:</p... (Below threshold)

As reported by CBS News:

CBS 2 found that Emanuel's residency seems to satisfy key questions, including:

Does he own a home in Chicago? Check.
Pays Chicago property taxes? Check.
Votes in Chicago elections? Check.
Has a Chicago driver's license? Check

And perhaps most important: "Illinois election code section 3-2, which protects people like Rahm Emanuel, says you shall not lose your residency so long as you are doing business for the federal government," said Mike Kreloff, election law attorney.

The law also protects those on assignment out-of-state for Illinois or the military.

Ted Kennedy once declare... (Below threshold)

Ted Kennedy once declared his DC-area home as his primary residence for tax purposes -- then had to pay it all back plus more

And Republican Tea Party candidate Paul LePage just had to do the same thing after claiming residency in both Maine and Florida.

Politicians of both parties game the system. Whoda thunk?

Obama's Rahm's a ding dong<... (Below threshold)

Obama's Rahm's a ding dong

"Rahm Emanuel, son of the W... (Below threshold)

"Rahm Emanuel, son of the Windy City, former Congressman"

son of a bitch is more like it.

"Politicians of both partie... (Below threshold)

"Politicians of both parties game the system. Whoda thunk?" Exactly right john, welcome to the tea party.

I hope Rahm wins. He's nev... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

I hope Rahm wins. He's never actually run anything in his life before taking on the CoS job, and he did poorly at that. He's a political hack, and nothing more, and always has been.

He will probably make Jane Byrne look competent by comparison, and Harold Washington look honest.

Rahm's influence being limi... (Below threshold)
John S:

Rahm's influence being limited to Chicago is good for America. And with Valerie Jarrett now top dog, the already chaotic White House will now dissolve into complete ineffective anarchy--also damned good for America. And worries about residency? Come on, we've got an illegal alien posing as president. My only thought on that: the folks who re-signed Rahm's lease should pack up and disappear lest they be Vince Fostered in the middle of the night.

Exactly right john, welc... (Below threshold)

Exactly right john, welcome to the tea party.

That's a joke, right? I'll quote myself in case you didn't notice the first time... "Republican Tea Party candidate Paul LePage just had to do the same thing". Sorry, I didn't realize that you still thought Tea Party candidates were any different.

"Twinkle toes" will have to... (Below threshold)
Sir Toby Belch:

"Twinkle toes" will have to dance the right
dance......but it's a given in the end.
Dreck like him ALWAYS floats to the top
and gets the gold ring. Think....Obama.

john tea party canidates ar... (Below threshold)

john tea party canidates are different the vast majority of them are not incumbents. They also know first hand what can happen if they screw up, the tea party supporters will boot their asses to the moon. So ok the guy you site is a supposed tea party guy, he won't get a second chance to act like a crooked politician. Can you say the same for the liberal bunch?






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