[News] A Lout with Clout - Breakfasting with Chicago's sociopathic mayor

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 3 15:13:31 EST 2015

  A Lout with Clout

*Breakfasting with Chicago's sociopathic mayor*

   By Rick Perlstein 

   Posted on December 2, 


Chicago’s sociopathic mayor sat down for a breakfas­­t interview this 
Wednesday at a tony club on the 66th floor of the 106-story Willis 
Tower, hosted by POLITICO Playbook, the website /tout /Washington scans 
every morning to learn what they’re supposed to talk about that day, 
indifferent or oblivious to the fact that monied interests pay to bias 
coverage therein 

Poor Rahm Emanuel: how could he have guessed that the interview would 
fall the morning after he received Police Superintendent Garry 
McCarthy’s resignation, following the release of video evidence of a 
nearly execution-style shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, then the 
apparent erasure of the evidence of the crime gathered by security 
cameras at a nearby Burger King—this all coming out 400 days after the 
death and the erasure occurred. The tape was only released when a judge 
ruled against the city on a Freedom of Information Act Request. The talk 
here is of cover-up at the highest levels, old-school Chicago style. 
“First public remarks about it, right?” says one man in an expensive 
suit. “Maybe he’ll leverage it,” says another.

The event is a kickoff celebration for POLITICO’s new Illinois edition, 
and the two interviewers are their new chief correspondent, Natasha 
Korecki, late of the Chicago /Sun-Times, /and Playbook’s sachem Mike 
Allen, Washington’s reigning king of speaking fluff to power. The event 
also has a cosponsor, their logo displayed prominently next to 
POLITICO’s on all the signage: Bank of America. “Tweet your questions to 
#PlaybookBreakfast,” invites the M.C. I oblige, tapping out, 
“#PlaybookBreakfast how the hell can you fairly cover politics when 
sponsored by a huge political actor like Bank of America?”

Korecki comes out of the box swinging, though—evidence enough that a 
perennial favorite of D.C.’s political /fashionistas /is on the outs.

“Let’s get right to it . . . why did you not watch the video before it 
was released?” Korecki asks. Rahm burbles out the same mumbo jumbo 
Chicago media consumers have been hearing for days—“evidence in an 
ongoing investigation” (He repeated the words “Justice Department” and 
“FBI” frequently; I guess he’s counting on this crowd not to know that a 
day earlier the Justice Department said they’d never asked the city to 
hold back the video.) “Protocols,” naturally. “Integrity,” of course. 
And then, absurdly: “If I get to watch it, people like you would say, 
‘How come the public doesn’t get to see it?’”

This, remember, is thirteen months after the event. And six months after 
the city showered the grieving family with a $5 million “settlement,” 
which was not really a settlement because the family hadn’t even filed a 
lawsuit. (So the city writes out $5 million checks without the mayor 
ever reviewing the reason why? “Rahm is an utter liar,” one of my most 
city-government-savvy friends says. “I do not say that lightly, either.”)

That settlement—a crucial detail to a 
what-did-he-know-and-when-did-he-know-it-starved city—came /a day/ 
after Rahm’s reelection in a landslide against a reform candidate.

But Chicago will have to wait for a full accounting of all of this, and 
any reform proposals, he keeps on burbling, until the blue-ribbon 
commission he just hand-picked comes back with their report—/this year’s 
/blue-ribbon panel, not the one he empaneled a year ago to study police 

Korecki asks, “Aren’t you hiding behind a blue-ribbon panel? You’re the 
mayor. This video has been out there; this incident was over a year ago. 
Why do you have to wait for a blue-ribbon panel?”

This is an excellent question. Indeed, Chicago didn’t have to wait for 
the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald to know something was 
rotten at police headquarters. There was news of the investigation 
last February, of the two police detectives who reported at least a 
dozen officers stealing proceeds from drug dealers. Only two ended up 
investigated, for the shakedown of (oops) an undercover operative. The 
whistleblowers? “My life, my safety, my freedom was threatened . . . I 
was subject to daily harassment.” There’s the officers allegedly 
sex-trafficking a 14-year-old 
<http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/33667842-story>. Not to mention 
the astonishing story of Lorenzo Davis, which says a lot about why, 
since 2007, there have been 400 shootings of civilians by police 
officers and only one was ruled unjustified by the body laughingly known 
as the “Independent” Police Review Authority. Davis, an IPRA 
investigator, was fired because, he says, he refused to falsify reports 
Mayor Emanuel of all people knows this.

But he, or his consultants, figured out a clever way not to answer the 
question. He shot off a one-liner instead: “You are reflecting the 
immediacy of cable television.”

In black and white, the words read pretty damningly, don’t they? They 
didn’t to this room, full of Chicago elites. You had to be there. 
Instead of a collective shudder—“he did /not /just blame the fact that 
evidence is available to the public for keeping evidence from the 
public”—he earned appreciative guffaws. /Rahm just got off a zinger! He 
sure showed her!/

Mike Allen tries to chime in. It’s pathetic: Mr. Playbook doesn’t 
exactly have an instinct for the jugular, and lacks command of certain 
details. He asks His Honor why he doesn’t plan to resign. In response, 
the bully has some fun flicking away this obsequious supplicant who’s 
pathetically trying to puff out his chest: “Because I was looking 
forward so much to this interview.”

Huge laughs. Which Rahm leverages for maximal humiliation—“I just /so/ 
enjoyed the chance to say that to you!”—then turns to the crowd to bathe 
in their appreciation for the nice play.

What about the charge you’re obsessed with your image? Rahm responds 
that just yesterday he attended a ribbon-cutting at a playground—would 
someone obsessed with image do that?

Allen asks him about one of his local critics demanding an account of 
the missing Burger King footage. Rahm answers, “He’d probably appreciate 
it if you didn’t mispronounce his name.”

Again he gets so many laughs he never has to answer the question. (A 
fellow named Connor Kelly—“Freelance Events Producer – #YoungIrishFC 
President – Passionate Chicagoan – Tropical House Fan – Taco Lover,” a 
picture of himself with the mayor, and a respectable 695 followers, 
throws up a tweet: “@mikeallen drilling Rahm with Q’s, trying to put 
words in his mouth. The Mayor is shooting them down, making crowd 
laugh.” /Kick ass!!!/)

Asked why he didn’t go public with his professed outrage over Laquan 
McDonald’s shooting during the campaign, he says—really!—“No one asked 
me about it.”

He boasted of reducing the Police Review Board backlog by 60 percent. 
Given the experience of Lorenzo Davis, it’s not hard to imagine how they 
managed that.

He bragged about working directly with the ACLU to stop racially biased 
cop stops.It wasn’t exactly a gift out of the goodness of his heart 
the ACLU had just come out with a report finding Chicagoans were stopped 
four times more often than in New York’s nationally notorious “stop and 
frisk” program.

Mike Allen: “You have a fairly heartless image . . . To what do you 
attribute that?” He answered, “I always go to a family whose son or 
daughter has been a victim of a shooting . . . You want to call that 

At that, /I /laughed. Though for some reason I was the only one.

Of course he pulled out the Rahm Emanuel Big Lie. Why don’t people 
recognize his tender side? Because I’ve “never pulled back from a tough 
decision.” Which is objectively absurd. Emanuel’s operative principle as 
Barack Obama’s chief of staff was never to fight any battle that they 
didn’t know they could win in advance—to /always /avoid the tough 
decision. That was why he wanted the administration to give up on 
pursuing a comprehensive health care bill 
thankfully, Obama was saved from Rahm’s cowardice by Nancy Pelosi.

Other lies were smaller—but you be the judge.

He said 2014’s homicide rate was historically low—as if a blockbuster 
/Chicago /magazine investigation had never blown the city’s statistical 
lies out of the water 

He bragged about record high school graduation rates—as if, um, a 
blockbuster Chicago Public Radio investigation hadn’t blown the city’s 
statistical lies out of the water 

He said the city’s “financial situation is better than when I inherited 
it.” Allen didn’t know enough to follow up with the fact that two 
bond-rating agencies this year have downgraded Chicago to junk-bond status.

But Allen /did/ know how to pronounce celebrity Chicago architect Jeanne 
Gang’s name right—he bragged about that, before asking about her idea 
that police stations be built to complement a community policing strategy.

Rahm: “I fundamentally believe in community policing. . . . You can 
either patrol a community or be part of a community.” Why, at one 
precinct, he observed, there’s a basketball court in the parking lot. 
“We need to get to a point where kids . . . don’t just see a uniform and 
a badge but a mentor and a coach.”

Well, yes. Yes, we do.

It was almost time for breakfast to be over. Mike Allen asked one last 
question—about his plans to take his family on vacation to Cuba over 
Christmas break. Mayor Emanuel went unexpectedly ballistic 
“Well, first of all thanks for telling everybody what I’m going to do 
with my family,” in a frigid tone that made asses clench. “You just had 
a private conversation with me and now you decided to make it public. I 
really don’t appreciate that.” As if a pol ever tells a gossip columnist 
anything in confidence without setting ground rules first.

It was something to watch Allen immediately abandon all journalistic 
self-respect. Obsequiously, he began stammering out an apology. Smelling 
weakness, Rahm came back with a Corleone bark: “It’s not going to work.” 
He abruptly thanked us for coming, though several “ers” and “ums” came 
first. Watch, and see Mike Allen twitch 
thoughts of his suck-up card’s revocation plainly dancing through his head.

I grabbed a few of the granola bars Bank of America had so generously 
bought for me, and headed out into a different sort of blustering 
Chicago wind.

/Rick Perlstein 
<http://washingtonspectator.org/search/%22Rick%20Perlstein%22> is the 
/Washington Spectator/’s national correspondent./

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