Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm's Temper? It's Just His Way

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Is Chicago involved in an abusive relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel?

    You know the pattern. The abuser loses his temper and lashes out with his tongue. His victim takes the abuse, then rationalizes the behavior with the phrase that’s been used to excuse jerkiness ever since Zeus began striking mortals with a thunderbolt: “Oh, it’s just his way.”

    Emanuel Gets Protective About Kids School Choice

    [CHI] Emanuel Gets Protective About Kids School Choice
    The Mayor admonishes reporter Mary Ann Ahern for asking about where his children will go to school. (Published Wednesday, Jul 20, 2011)

    Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported yet another incident in which the mayor verbally abused a political underling. This time, his invective was more figurative than the usual “f--- you”:

    While lobbying this spring for lawmakers to support a change in pensions for city workers, Emanuel called Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris, a longtime acquaintance who represents Emanuel’s North Side neighborhood. Harris opposed the legislation, which never got traction in Springfield.
    Emanuel pressed Harris to change his mind, and, according to several lawmakers who heard the story, began swearing at him and threatening to burn down his house if he didn’t.   
    Harris didn’t dispute the story but declined to provide details of the conversation.   
    “It was a really heated exchange, but that’s fine, that's politics,” Harris said. “People are passionate about their positions, and sometimes things get intense. … I also have a temper, and I know bad words too.”

    Emanuel Walks Away, Ignores Reporter's Questions

    [CHI] Emanuel Walks Away, Ignores Reporter's Questions
    So much for the new-and-improved, "I'm not a bully," Rahm Emanuel. (Published Friday, Apr 15, 2011)

    According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Rep. Harris doesn’t live in a house. He lives in an Uptown condominium. So innocent neighbors who may have suffered horrible deaths from smoke inhalation had the mayor carried out his proposed arson attack.

    While courting the voters, Emanuel held his temper in check. But since his swearing in, he’s sworn out everyone with earshot. Here are some other anecdotes for the author of Rahm’s next profile in Vanity Fair or Fortune:

    Emanuel Goes Off on Streets & Sanitation

    [CHI] Emanuel Goes Off on Streets & Sanitation
    Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says Streets and Sanitation's reported 33 percent daily absentee rate is unacceptable and that he won't pick between rodent control and garbage pickup. (Published Friday, Apr 1, 2011)


    During the campaign, Ward Room suggested that if Emanuel put a swear jar on his desk and dropped in a dollar every time he dropped an f-bomb, he could balance the city’s budget.

    When contemplating the mayor’s character, I’m reminded of what a bartender once said of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis: “Al’s a nice guy -- for Al.”

    OK, so Rahm’s a nice guy -- for Rahm. It’s just his way.