With a family history in the theater and years spent in the theater, I have a quirk. Actually, I have many but the one I’m talking about here I describe as always seeing the personality of the actor coming across the footlights to me. The upshot of this, as you might expect, is that there are certain very troubled performers that I find quite painful to watch. That’s my reaction to the recent set of close-in pleas to the camera being made by Rahm Emanuel in his bid for re-election.
Here’s how Alex Isenstadt at Politico sees things:
Recent polling shows the race between Emanuel and his unknown and underfunded rival, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, has closed to within single digits. With local and national progressive groups lining up behind Garcia and promising to pour cash into the effort to deny Emanuel a second term, the mayor is suddenly scratching and clawing for his political existence.
“In Chicago, politics is a contact sport, and it looks like we’re going to have one of those full-contact battles,” said Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff whose father and brother each served as Chicago mayor for more than 20 years.
Emanuel — once thought to be a shoo-in in the April 7 runoff — plans to launch an ad campaign in the coming days intended to discredit Garcia and cast him as a do-nothing pol who’s accomplished little during his two decades in public service, according to sources close to the mayor. The commercials will also present the mayor, who’s come under fire for closing underperforming schools in hardscrabble neighborhoods and for hiking taxes to close the city’s budget deficit, as someone who is willing to make tough decisions even if they aren’t popular.
I have no doubt that the mayor will come across as sincere in these ads. There’s a certain shall we say personality type that always comes across as sincere. Will smearing his opponent be an effective strategy? Or will it depress the turnout of both his supporters as well as his opponents below the 25% I would think will turn out for the run-off? Is running on his record an effective strategy for the mayor? Or will it remind people of why they don’t like him?