The Washington Times has published a story on Rahm Emanuel’s chances for president, based on gossip at CPAC between “a pair of insiders.” That prompted a round of “I told you so’s” around the office here. But it’s almost certainly never going to happen. Here are just ten of the reasons–there are others–why not.
1. Rahm is a Clinton creation. The Emanuel brothers are strivers–give them credit for that–but the fact is that without Bill Clinton, Rahm Emanuel would still be hitting up rich people for Robert Creamer’s community organizing gigs. He’s not going to fight the Clinton machine–he just doesn’t have enough dead fish for the job.
2. Blacks do not like him. I’m not pulling African-American rank here, just stating a fact. Emanuel came into office as mayor of Chicago with some amount of goodwill from the black community, owing to his Obama seal of approval. But his school closings, and Chicago’s runaway crime, have alienated that key constituency.
3. Jews are suspicious of him. Rahm was sold to the activists and heavy hitters in the Jewish community as a man they could count on in the White House–plus David Axelrod–to keep Obama on the correct side of the Israel issue. That didn’t exactly work out, did it? Despite Hillary’s poor record, she’s seen as more sympathetic.
4. The F-word, the R-word… As chief of staff and as Chicago mayor, Rahm has left a trail of expletives in his wake. That’s par for the course in politics, as long as you can keep salty language in the proverbial back room. Rahm’s verbal abuse often makes headlines because it’s just who he is–and, oddly, he wants you to know it.
5. Chicago, that toddlin’ town. Spare a moment of sympathy for the city I love, where I grew up (fine, near Chicago) and where I ran for Congress myself in 2010. Its debts are legion, its economy is stalling, its schools remain awful, and its once-sunny outlook is now gloomy. Rahm has barely made a dent in its problems.
6. The teachers unions hate him. From a conservative perspective, Emanuel deserves credit for standing up (a bit) to the Chicago Teachers Union, a radical outfit one gulag short of an archipelago. But the teachers are a powerful interest group in the Democratic Party constellation, and they will veto a Rahm White House run.
7. The Christians hate him. Rahm doesn’t need Christian conservatives to win the Democratic nomination (except in West Virginia). But he does need to worry that they would turn out in droves to vote against him in the general election, especially after he tried to boot Chick-fil-A out of Chicago for supporting religious values.
8. Obamacare is Rahm’s baby. He might have been the hero of the Obamacare fight, if he had prevailed in his view that Obama should opt for more incremental change. But he reversed that position after the Supreme Court decision in 2012, so now he owns it. And his brother, Dr. Evil, is running around claiming credit for it.
9. He may not be re-elected. He won in a walk in 2011. But the talk around Chicago is that the Godfather could be deposed by a strong Democratic candidate, such as Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. If he can’t hold onto the city in the 2015 election, then he can forget about a run for the presidency in 2016.
10. Rahm has no case. An insurgent campaign has to offer something unique. Rahm’s only selling point is hard-edged management and cold political calculation. It’s not a question of whether the country wants that–maybe it does?–but whether he can out-bid other candidates in that department. And again… see reason #1.
*That said, none of the above reasons would bar Rahm Emanuel from being nominated as Vice President. If a fool like Biden can make the cut, and if an inside operator like Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney can essentially appoint himself, there’s no reason to rule Rahm out. The Godfather may yet rise to the top, against the odds.