Rahm Emanuel


From the Chicago Tribune:

Dan Sinker, a journalism teacher at Columbia College, says he was behind the fictitious Twitter account “@MayorEmanuel,” the foul-mouthed doppelganger to the real candidate and mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

The Atlantic released the story today, and Sinker confirmed it on his blog and through a Twitter message exchange with the Chicago Tribune.

Sinker’s tweeting as a satirical version of Emanuel was epic.  You can read the tweets, in chronologically backward order, here.

You can read the Atlantic story here. It’s a good read, despite the author’s obvious opinion that Sinker is some kind of modern-day demigod. Don’t get me wrong — I followed @MayorEmanuel and enjoyed his tweets — but the only thing missing from the Atlantic article is the sound of trumpets blowing when you click on the story link.

Sinker probably will be on all the Chicago newscasts tonight, but his first full broadcast interview reportedly will be on WBEZ’s “Eight Forty-Eight” show tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope Sinker takes the advice of the Chicago Reader, which tweeted, “Hopefully @dansinker will get to work on a fake Charlie Sheen Twitterfeed.”

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Rahm Emanuel handily won the Chicago mayoral election today, getting more than the “50 percent plus one vote” needed to avoid an April 5 runoff election.

With 98 percent of Chicago precincts reporting at 10 p.m., Emanuel leads with 55.1 percent, followed by Gery Chico with 24.1 percent, Miguel del Valle with 9.3 percent, Carol Moseley Braun with 8.9 percent, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins with 1.6 percent, and William “Dock” Walls with 0.9 percent.

Personally, I’m glad Emanuel won as big as he did. Before any votes were even cast, it was obvious that Emanuel was destined to succeed Richard M. Daley as mayor of Chicago. Therefore, I hoped Emanuel would just get his election over with and avoid a runoff so the rest of us would be spared two more months of the candidates taking shots at each other through attack ads and the media.

Emanuel’s big win also means Rahm has an additional two months to concentrate on solving Chicago’s problems instead of worrying about campaigning. Emanuel has some tough decisions ahead of him, as Chicago is in bad financial shape (no surprise at a time when that’s the norm in states and cities across the country). He also may be in a no-win situation. If he doesn’t make headway into fixing the city’s problems, he probably won’t be re-elected four years from now. The way I see it, he likely will have to make some unpopular decisions in order to start the repair work, so even if he does his job as well as he can, he still may not get re-elected.

Good luck, Rahm– you’re going to need it.

Not surprisingly, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has resurfaced in the news in time to try to influence the upcoming Chicago mayoral race.

Attorneys for the impeached governor filed a motion Tuesday seeking supposedly missing evidence in his corruption trial, including records of a phone call between an aide and Rahm Emanuel, then the White House chief of staff (and now the clear frontrunner in the Chicago mayoral race). I use the phrase “supposedly missing” because I’m suspicious that the lawyers didn’t notice the evidence missing during Blagojevich’s first trial and the timing of the egomaniac ex-governor’s request coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) is just two weeks before the Feb. 22 mayoral election.

No matter. It is unlikely Blagojevich can do anything to derail the Rahm train. All the polls show Emanuel leading by a wide margin; an ABC7 poll released today suggests Emanuel has a commanding lead, drawing the support of 54 percent of those surveyed. (His closest competitor, Gery Chico, has the support of a mere 14 percent of those surveyed.)

Still, Emanuel addressed the subject of the “missing” tape Tuesday. Here is what he said about it, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Blago Blog:

He hearkened back to a two-year-old report by then-President-elect Obama’s transition team that concluded there were “about four” conversations between Emanuel and Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris, but “nothing inappropriate or any deal-making.”

“It also noted that I was asked at the time by the President’s transition (team) to provide a list of four names for the U.S. Senate: Tammy Duckworth, Jan Schakowsky, Dan Hynes and Congressman Jesse Jackson [Jr.],” Emanuel recalled, noting there was a separate conversation about Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Trial testimony indicated that Blagojevich and his team considered this list a “BS list.”

“I provided that list. Then, there was a question: The governor’s representative said, `What’s in it for us?’ And I responded, `You’ll get thanks and appreciation‚ [but nothing more]. You also know how the [former] governor responded to the word, `appreciation.’ That’s been detailed over two years ago in the report.”

Testimony at Rod Blagojevich’s trial indicated that it was in fact lobbyist John Wyma who passed on that message to the Blagojevich team in early November, 2008 at Emanuel’s request. Wyma at that point had been cooperating with the feds in their probe against the former governor and provided the government with the necessary information to put up wiretaps against Blagojevich.

Meanwhile in other Blagojevich news, the judge presiding over the former governor’s retrial (U.S. District Judge James Zagel) ruled Tuesday that jurors’ names will remain anonymous throughout the trial and will not be made public until eight hours after the verdict is delivered. You can read the ruling here, again courtesy of the Sun-Times‘ Blago Blog.

I commend the Chicago Tribune for its comprehensive coverage of Blagogate. I’m sure the newspaper’s Web site has been a “must click” site for many across the country looking for the latest news about the scandal. The reporting has been deep and responsible for numerous scoops, once again proving the worth of newsgathering in spite of the death knell allegedly tolling for the printed press.

The columns have been pretty good, too. Yesterday John Kass wrote about state Sen. James DeLeo being “the real governor of Illinois,” a major political power player with strong ties to, among others, soon-to-be-indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich and President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. It was an eye-opening piece that took guts to write, in my opinion. But that’s what good journalists do.

John McCormick, the Tribune‘s deputy editorial page editor, wrote a column called “Life on Blago’s enemies list” for tomorrow’s paper, addressing the fact that Blagojevich is heard on FBI tapes calling for McCormick to be fired. McCormick says he never had a personal tiff with the governor and therefore wonders what exactly he did to incur Blagojevich’s wrath.

It’s become somewhat chic to diagnose Blagojevich as crazy or just plain dumb, so I’m going to make that assumption here and theorize the governor is angry at McCormick because of a case of mistaken identity. Blagojevich may think McCormick is the Colonel, aka Col. Robert R. McCormick, the legendary editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune who was the scourge of liberal Democrats in the first half of the 20th century.

Hey, I know it’s a far-fetched theory, but would anything odd revealed  about Blagojevich now surprise you anymore?