Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

"Rahm Emanuel Beat Me Up"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Now that the presidential election is over, Ward Room can return to one of its favorite themes: our mayor is such a jerk.

    For this, we have help from Alan Goldsher, a youthful acquaintance of the mayor who has written a memoir of their shared childhood, entitled “Rahm and Ari Emanuel Beat Me Up.” The article appears in the next issue of the Jewish Daily Forward.

    Goldsher grew up in Wilmette, where the Emanuels’ father, Benjamin, was his family doctor. Dr. Emanuel often administered allergy shots at his home. Whenever Goldsher went there for treatments, he was also treated to a beating by the Emanuel brothers.

    [A]t every given opportunity, they threw me to the ground. Hard. Really hard.
    I’ve blocked out the specifics of the attacks. The only things I know for certain were that a) they were unprovoked, and b) they hurt. I don’t know if their pushes were planned or spontaneous — although I suspect there might have been some forethought on that memorable afternoon when they shoved me back and forth and back and forth.
    Whenever the Brothers Emanuel went to town on me, there was always a pervasive sense of dread, the feeling that the violence was going to escalate, that their fists and feet were going to fly, that my bones would be snapped and my skin gashed, that I’d get smacked on my sore injection spot. As it so happened, Rahm and Ari never injured me too badly — it would’ve been pretty dumb for them to draw blood while their father was standing 20 yards away — but it was some scary s*** that made my already lousy allergy shot afternoons even lousier.

    Goldsher then talks to a sociologist who tells him that, under the right circumstances, being a youthful a-hole often leads to success in business and politics.

    Goldsher was five or six years younger than Rahm. As a boy, Rahm would never have picked on someone his own age or size -- because most boys his age were bigger than him. And now that he’s graduated from the youthful world of physical competition to the adult world of competition for money and power, the mayor would never pick on someone in his own tax bracket or level of political influence. He reserves his bullying for schoolteachers, journalists, union leaders and other socioeconomic inferiors. And it’s good that he’s found a new venue for his aggressive tendencies, because, frankly, Karen Lewis looks like she could knock him right down in the dirt.

     

    This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $9.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.