Chicago's political circles are filled these days with tepid speculation about whether President Barack Obama will drop into Chicago on May 16 to attend the inauguration of his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
Judging by recent press coverage of the Obama White House, Emanuel might not want his former boss to come.
A recent spate of articles from national publications suggest that Emanuel may have been too bullheaded to run the White House and that his style could have caused problems with Obama's administration during the first two years. The narrative suggests that new chief of staff Bill Daley is out to mend relationships that were injured or destroyed by Emanuel's brash style.
From the New York Times:
A story by Anne E. Kornblut of The Washington Post this week described an effort by Mr. Daley’s White House to rebuild strained relationships with some members of Mr. Obama’s cabinet.
“You hear the same thing: ‘I don’t think we’re used well. I don’t think we’re consulted enough,’ ” Mr. Daley told Ms. Kornblut in an interview. “Whether it’s true or not, perception becomes reality, and I think there’s a desire to feel more part of a team.”
Mr. Daley steered well clear of pointing the finger at Mr. Emanuel. But the article makes clear that the new chief of staff is not wedded to running Mr. Obama’s White House the way Mr. Emanuel did. In fact, the story says Mr. Daley has been promising cabinet members that things will change.
A report by the Times’s Jackie Calmes offered a similar description of a White House that is ready to abandon some of Mr. Emanuel’s traditions.
The story noted that in the Emanuel era, last-minute changes to Mr. Obama’s Saturday radio addresses would keep speechwriters guessing until the last minute. That has changed under Mr. Daley, the article said.
The story concludes by noting it's standard practice in Washington to blame the last guy. But the questions raised about his tenure at the White House are apropos to Chicago as Emanuel attempts to build a governing coalition for Chicago.
Will his hard-headed style have a negative effect on Chicago's political machinations?