Obama style Chicago politics, Like Barack, like Rahm: Ballot tactics ring familiar, John Kass
John Kass of the Chicago Tribune has been telling it like it is for years.
November 18, 2010.
“White House Bare-knuckle strategy to douse residency questions harkens to Obama’s 1996 state Senate race”
“Rahm Emanuel’s campaign demanded Wednesday that his opponents condemn efforts to challenge his candidacy and knock him off the Chicago mayoral ballot.
“News reports indicate that political operatives are organizing an attempt to limit the choices of Chicago voters in the mayoral election,” Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt told reporters about my Wednesday column.
That column detailed the coming legal challenges to Rahm’s candidacy. These include the fact — confirmed by all sides now — that while he lived in Washington, Emanuel was twice purged from the Chicago voter rolls yet was allowed to vote absentee even though he wasn’t living at his old North Side address.
How this was done may be explained any day now, as election law expert Burt Odelson is expected to challenge Rahm’s candidacy before the city elections board.
Naturally, the Emanuel campaign put its own spin on things.
“Every mayoral candidate has an obligation to state whether they are involved in this effort,” LaBolt said. “If they’re not involved, they have an obligation to publicly condemn it.”
That’s an admirable strategy by an able public relations guy. And I’m in agreement that Rahm is a Chicagoan and should be allowed to run for mayor. But then, there’s that irritating law, which says in order to run for mayor, a candidate must live in the city a year before the election.
Yet this highly principled demand from the Rahministas, about condemning political operators who seek to limit the choices of the voters, reminds me of a guy.
He’s a famous Chicago politician, known across the world. And he, too, used bare-knuckle tactics before the Chicago election board to knock his opponents off the primary ballot.
He not only knocked off his main rival. By the time he was done, this politician knocked all of them off — The Chicago Way.
And “voter choice”? Are you kidding? After this guy was through, voters had no choice at all. He was the only one left on the ballot.
This candidate’s name?
Yes, the very same fellow who is now president of the United States and was, until quite recently, the boss to both Emanuel and LaBolt in Washington.
In the 1996 Democratic primary campaign for the Illinois Senate, Obama used every trick in the book before the election board to get rid of his four opponents.
He didn’t challenge their residency. Instead, Obama challenged their petitions of candidacy. And years later, as he campaigned for the presidency, he was billed as a reformer, not some old-school Chicago pol.”