Brash White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has much in common with outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley – but not everyone is sold on his candidacy.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
As the city adjusts to the idea of life without a Daley as mayor, the speculation is growing about who will replace him.
And the person who has generated the most buzz is President Obama’s chief of staff.
Emanuel has some of the same qualities that have served Richard M. Daley well: He’s in love with the city, has a reputation for being ruthless, and he’s a fierce power-wielder who is more known for his use of four-letter invectives than his eloquence.
In one famous story, he and several colleagues sent a dead fish to a political enemy.
Unlike Daley, he’s a Northsider and a Cub’s fan, and he doesn’t have the same sort of citywide power base that Daley built up. His career has been in national politics; he has less experience with the cutthroat, machine-driven dynamics that can drive local elections.
Emanuel is still weighing his options, but he’s already received one powerful endorsement from his current boss. Emanuel would be “an excellent mayor,” Obama told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. He added that he expects Emanuel will not make a decision until after the midterm elections – perhaps revealing his own feelings about what his chief of staff needs to be focused on for the next few months? – but it’s doubtful that would leave him enough time to run.