Samuel Johnson once wrote that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Rahm Emanuel, who is both patriotic and a scoundrel, has found another refuge: children. And not even his own. The children of the Chicago Public Schools.
As mayor of Chicago, Emanuel holds a political office. So it’s not insulting to say that every action he takes in the fulfillment of his duties is political. That’s not how he sees it, though. He’s just trying to do right by the children. The people who oppose him, though, are political.
“Well, I have all the confidence in our teachers, principals, administrators and the board. And I know where I am,” Emanuel told WLSAM Radio. “So, if others want to focus on politics, they have every right to. They make that choice. I make the choice as the mayor of the City of Chicago. My time, my energy – like a laser – will be on the children of the City of Chicago.”
Except when he’s preparing for his 2015 re-election campaign. It’s notable that our non-political mayor raised $426,000 in campaign funds in the first three months of this year -- most of it from outside Illinois. A third of it, in fact, from Hollywood, through donors connected to his older brother, talent agent Ari Emanuel.
Emanuel got $237,800 from outside Illinois, with more than $150,000 from southern California contributors, including $54,300 from Los Angeles and $30,900 from Beverly Hills.
Among the mayor’s recent marquee contributors:
◆ Ronald Meyer, NBC Universal’s president and chief operating officer, $5,300.
◆ Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., $5,300.
◆ TV and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whose works include HBO’s current “The Newsroom,” former NBC hits “The West Wing” and the 1995 movie “The American President,” $2,500.
◆ Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Co., $5,200.
◆ Movie studio Lionsgate Entertainment, $10,500.
Emanuel now has $1.9 million in the bank, which is a lot more than the Chicago Teachers Union can spend to defeat him. With that kind of money, he can spend all his time thinking about children, while his rivals focus on politics.