Editorial | Weighing in on replacement

Editorial | Weighing in on replacement

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuellast week turned the city's traditionally turbulent politics upside down — andthat was just for starters.

It apparently was not enough for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make the stunning announcement that he's decided not to seek a third term in office next year.

Now he's handicapping the wide-open contest to succeed him, dropping big hints about who he thinks is fit — or not — to fill his shoes.

Those not ready for the job, according to Emanuel, is any of the 12 announced candidates who decided to get into the contest.

It was an arrogant comment, but one entirely in keeping with the city's traditional approach to politics that was best represented by a famous anecdote passed on by the late Abner Mikva, a longtime politician and federal judge.

Mikva told the story about how, as a youth, he showed up at party headquarters in Chicago to volunteer to work for the party ticket.

"Who sent you?" asked the man who answered the door.

"Nobody," replied Mikva.

"We don't want nobody nobody sent," the man replied, closing the door in Mikva's face.

Some things never change. The power brokers still don't want nobody nobody sent. They signed off on Emanuel as the successor to longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley because they knew he would protect their parochial political interests.

Obviously, none of the 12 candidates challenging Emanuel are trustworthy. So they'll have to find someone who is.

That's why Emanuel told interviewers that his successor will not come from the already announced candidates.

Would-be successors already are trying to impress the party establishment with their credentials.

At the same time, minority group members are trying to work out their differences and see if they can come to an agreement among them on who should run.

Potential Hispanic candidates include current state Comptroller Susana Mendonza, who is running for re-election in November, but already letting the people know she's interested in being mayor.

She'll have to work that out with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who challenged Emanuel four years ago.

The city's black politicians will be doing the same thing as the Hispanics, as will the white ethnics.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote last week that the city practices "Lord of the Flies" politics, and he was right.

It will be a bitter battle, but in the best tradition of Chicago politics, the spoils that go to the winner will be substantial.

All this is going to take a while to sort out, and it will be fun to watch. But the good news is there is still lots of time.

Besides, there's an election in November to work out before the battle to determine who the next mayor will be kicks off.

Emanuel's announcement unleashed a political firestorm that will grow in intensity until the winner is elected in April 2019.

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