Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Tough. Tenacious. Testicular?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rahm Emanuel’s first ad was titled, “Tough.” His latest is called “Tenacity.” Is “Testicular Fortitude” next?

    Emanuel continues to portray himself as the bantamweight Sinatra of politics with this ad, which tells the story of how, as a congressman, he prevented a paper-container factory from moving to Wisconsin.

    The ad features the testimony of John Dudlak, president of Chicago Paper Tube & Can Company, who says, “It was difficult to continue manufacturing in the facility we were at and we were approached by WISPARK, which is south of Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

    Dudlak’s company, which was founded in 1898, produces mailing tubes and pasteboard packages for cosmetics. Its EcoPak, which allows shea butter to be poured directly into a recycled paper container, recently won top honors in Green Packaging at the 10th Annual International Package Design Awards.

    The company's plant was at 925 W. Jackson St., where it was having a hard time co-existing with the condo dwellers moving into the West Loop. Dudlak wanted to move to a proposed 64-acre business campus on the site of the old Reed-Dunning Mental Health Facility on the Northwest Side, in Emanuel's congressional district, but had spent two years trying to get the state and the city to agree on a development plan.

    As Dudlak says in the ad, “I get a call from Rahm and he is just irate. He says, ‘I can’t believe that this is going on. How in the world could a 100 year old Chicago company move to WISPARK? You know.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to look into this thing. It’s just not right.’ What he did was he made the city and the state and the developer see the logic of keeping employees in Chicago.”

    Emanuel spent six months working to secure a four-acre site for Chicago Paper Tube & Can, Dudlak told Ward Room. As a Park Ridge resident, Dudlak can't vote for Emanuel, but thinks he has the qualities Chicago needs in a mayor.

    "He gets a lot of press for rubbing people the wrong way," Dudlak told us. "He doesn't get enough for his ability to get things done. You need somebody who's going to have a vision and have the stamina and the stature to get everybody marching in the same direction."

    Emanuel’s ads are following a pattern. They try to assure voters that Emanuel’s obnoxious qualities -- his abrasiveness, his bullying -- are part of a package that makes him just the kind of S.O.B. who’ll get things done for Chicago. Emanuel’s creative team isn’t trying to make us feel warmly towards their candidate.

    That’s not possible. Pumping Iron director George Butler’s famous quote about Arnold Schwarzenegger could apply just as well Emanuel. “Arnold’s not someone you like,” Butler said. “You either admire him, or you hate him.”

    That didn’t hold back Gov. Schwarzenegger’s political career. It hasn’t held back Rahm’s, either.