By William J. Kelly
The “Chicago machine” is in the midst of a transformation, a retooling for the future, and it is being funded by Republican money. That’s right: I said Republican money.
Make no mistake: This is not the “machine” of Mayor Richard J. Daley, who ruled Chicago with an iron fist for 21 years. This is a new Chicago Democratic machine.
Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago machine.
It came as no surprise to those of us in Chicago that Emanuel is already plotting his third term as mayor after promising he wouldn’t. He speaks so much out of both sides of his mouth so much he could give ventriloquist Jeff Dunham a run for his money — or one of his dummies.
Last week, the Chicago City Council passed Emanuel’s massive $7.8 billion budget, including a record $720 million in new property taxes and fees. Citing a fiscal emergency, Emanuel painted a dystopian future of an “unlivable” city to his allies in the Chicago City Council. Yet he left plenty of room to increase his own mayoral budget.
That’s taking “never letting a good crisis go to waste” too far.
Emanuel’s massive tax hike represents another broken campaign promise. It’s also the vindictive mayor’s payback to a Chicago electorate that forced him into historic runoff race against challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Last February, the fall of the house of Rahm seemed all but imminent. A run-off defeat would have put the kibosh on Emanuel’s political career both in Chicago and nationally. The Democratic National Committee is not as forgiving of political losers as Republicans.
But in the ninth hour, Emanuel knitted together a motley crew of support: a coalition of GOP millionaires (and billionaires), business leaders, and anti-Hispanic elements in Chicago’s black community.
Yes, Republicans saved Rahm’s sorry skin.
The Illinois Republican leadership headed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Sen. Mark Kirk endorsed Emanuel for re-election citing his “financial acumen.” Never mind Chicago’s regular downgrades from Moody’s or the hundreds of millions Emanuel has borrowed to kick the fiscal can down the road.
In fact, Hizzoner’s biggest donor is GOP billionaire Ken Griffin who has contributed millions (and the use of his private jet) to Emanuel and his PACs.
There is something fishy going on here and it isn’t just the dead fish Emanuel once sent to that pollster who ticked him off.
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