By John Ruberry
Once the midterm elections are over another major political contest will begin–the Chicago mayoral race. Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief-of-staff, is expected to run for reelection. His three years in office have been at best a mixed bag. Violent crime is Chicago’s biggest issue, it was during his term that the city gained the unfortunate nickname “Chiraq.” Rahm has done little to address Chicago’s pension crisis, a problem he inherited from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, who was mayor for 22 years. The city’s streets are in terrible shape.
But Emanuel, perhaps because of his star-power, has been able to convince some companies to move their corporate headquarters to Chicago, most notably Archer Daniels Midland. But unemployment remains high in the city.
Two possible opponents for Rahm next year are Ald. Robert Fioretti and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis. Fioretti, a friendly gentleman who I know a little bit, in my opinion won’t be able to gain much traction as a candidate. I can’t ascertain what he stands for.
That’s not the case with Lewis. Even if she wasn’t morbidly obese, she would come across as bombastic. Lewis’ political philosophy is anchored by far-left positions. She favors imposing a transaction tax on each trade made by members of Chicago’s financial exchanges. That was a position championed by the defunct Occupy movement; Lewis’ CTU endorsed the extreme-left group. A race-baiter, Lewis blames “rich white people” for Chicago’s awful schools and utilizes that smear to justify a commuter tax on suburbanites. Yes, the implementation of Chicago’s charter school system has been flawed, but Lewis opposes the use of taxpayer money to fund them. On the other hand, charters are very popular with Chicago parents.
Lewis is black and she has great name recognition, which partly explains why she edged out Emanuel in a recent poll about the 2015 race. I imagine that once Lewis’ ultra-liberal stances become known, her support will drop. Even Chicagoans can tolerate only so much left-wing hooey.
The voters of America’s third-largest city should be wary of the anti-Rahm Lewis. The only other big-city mayor that I can think of who was a labor leader was Detroit’s Coleman Young, who misruled the onetime Motor City from 1974-1993.
You know the rest of Detroit’s story.
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.