Rahm Emanuel: a midterm mayoral recap
Mon May 13 2013
Photograph: Drew Reynolds
When I asked David Axelrod a few months ago if he would be assisting Rahm Emanuel in a 2016 presidential run, Axe was adamant his old buddy would be "running for reelection and nothing else." Rahmbo recently said as much in a sit down with the Sun-Times's Fran Spielman: "I’m running for re-election, and I’m gonna serve out the term. And for the third time with you, I am not running for higher office—EVER. Done. ... I want Hillary or Joe [Biden] to run, and I will support either one. Whoever decides." Gee, sounds like he really means it. If only the memories of Rahm making similar remarks about not running for Chicago mayor weren't so fresh. Just as hard to believe: Thursday marks the midterm of Emanuel's reign, a trying pair of years that have included a Chicago Teachers Union strike, a school closings plan and high-profile spikes in violent crime. Two years in, what have we learned about the man who calls himself our mayor? We thought of a few things in this misty, water-colored midterm look back. Cue "The Way We Were."
Rahm Emanuel does not share his breakfast with people who are not his offspring. Especially if you're a reporter. He shut me down when I asked for a bite of his berries during an morning interview at Wishbone.
Rahm does not—does not!—like Nickelback. This despite a sign at a Chicago Teachers Union strike demonstration claiming otherwise. Rahm is a Wilco-loving cool guy, okay? And Jeff Tweedy likes him back. So there.
Rahm runs his shit like a boss. Working under him at City Hall can be demanding.
Rahm has a bit of a superiority complex, especially when it comes to the concept of Chicago as a "world-class city"—the phrase we've heard maybe more than any other out of the mayor's mouth throughout the last two years.
Rahm was (is?) a fan of "feety pajamas." Apparently, they slide real good.
Rahm enjoys chewing people out, but he also enjoys eating out—you know, like, at restaurants. And he takes meetings with his meals. Some of his favorite spots include Lula, Naha, Coco Pazzo and Ina's, where the mayor shows up with his own cup of coffee and orders oatmeal with a side of fruit.
Rahm's short temper probably comes from his mother, who was known for her "emotional storms," says brother Ezekiel.
Despite Mama Emanuel's moods, Rahm would accompany her on Friday nights to the Daisy Patch, the Edgewater club she owned.
Rahm has been a pugilist since youth. As kids, Rahm and his brothers, tanned by the summer sun, were occassionally mistaken for African-Americans, and the boys had to defend themselves against racists.
Rahm really hates losing. In any situation in which you might be at odds with him, "Give in now. Rahm will win. Rahm always does win." That's what Chicago teachers heard from Zeke, who apparently never got the top bunk.
Rahm is currently running unopposed for mayor of Chicago in 2015. For democracy's sake, here's hoping anyone eyeing a bid to challenge him—Karen Lewis? Toni Preckwinkle?—doesn't heed Zeke's warning.