If you’re a short guy who wants his own casino, you gotta be tough. You gotta be loud. You gotta squeeze some heads. That’s how Nicky Santoro acted in the movie Casino, and that’s how Mayor Rahm Emanuel is acting in his movie (that we made up), Casino on the Lake.
In a scene reminiscent of Santoro’s dressing-down of Ace Rothstein, Emanuel meets Gov. Pat Quinn in a cornfield outside the small Central Illinois village of Chestnut, for a private discussion on how the mayor expects the governor to help him.
“First of all,” Emanuel said, “I want to make it clear who I am. I’m the mayor of the (bleeping) city of Chicago. That’s one of the top five executive jobs in the country. It’s me, the president, the mayor of New York, the governor of New York, and the governor of California. And if I hurt some governor’s feelings by leaving him out, tough (bleep.)”
“Yeah, but Illinois’s bigger than Chicago,” Quinn protested.
“Oh, yeah. Who the (bleep) elected you governor? Did you get any votes outside Chicago? Did anybody in this (bleepin) farm town vote for you? Chicago put you in that second-rate job of yours, so you better (bleepin) do what the mayor of Chicago tells you to do, if you want to keep it. ”
“What is it you want, Rahm?”
“Rahm? It’s Mister Mayor, and don’t you (bleeping) forget it. I don’t want you standin’ in my way like Jim Edgar stood in Richie’s way. I’m not Little Richie! I was the (bleeping) White House Chief of Staff before I came back here to straighten out this town. This casino is going to be all mine. Not the state’s. Get this through your head, you Mick! You only exist out here because of me! That's the only reason! Without me, you personally... Every wise guy still around will take a piece of your Irish ass! Then where you gonna go? You're (bleeping) warned. Don’t go over my head, you mother(bleep), you!”
“Mayor, you know I’m all in favor of a casino. Senate President Cullerton’s in favor of a casino. I’m not the one you need to be talking to here. It’s the Speaker, Mike Madigan. He hasn’t said yet whether he’ll support a casino.”
“Oh, yeah? He won’t say if he’s gonna support a (bleepin) casino. Does he know what I did to Tony Dogs when Tony Dogs wouldn’t (bleeping) give up Charlie M.’s name. I put his head in a vise grip and squeezed it like a grapefruit until one of his eyes popped out. You tell Mike I want to meet him in my garage. We’ll settle this whole casino thing in there. Next month. As soon as I get my garage back.”
Tune in next month for another episode of Casino on the Lake. Rahm and Mike will meet in Rahm’s garage. As soon as Rahm gets his garage back.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!