Did Rahm Emanuel catch a break when Judge James R. Zagel delayed Rod Blagojevich’s retrial until after the April 5 mayoral election? Maybe not. Emanuel’s role as President-elect Obama’s bagman in the Senate appointment drama may not be in the headlines during the mayoral race. But one opponent is already demanding that Emanuel describe all his conversations with Blagojevich.
“The citizens of Chicago cannot afford to wait until after the mayoral election for Rahm Emanuel to give us all the facts,” said Brooke Anderson, spokeswoman for mayoral candidate Gery Chico. “Chicagoans deserve full transparency. Whether you’re lawyered-up or not, you ought to give voters all the facts before they head to the polls.”
“I provided a list of four credible candidates that the president said could be potential U.S. Senate candidates ... When asked, what’s in it for the governor, I’m the one [who] said, ‘All you’re gonna get is thanks and appreciation.’”
“But, why were you wheeling and dealing about names anyway?” Spielman asked. “Was that appropriate?”
"That’s a characterization,” Emanuel said. “They’re prosecuting the governor, correct? Am I [being prosecuted]?
Witnesses often say that when they don’t want to answer a question, as though sitting on the stand is equivalent to sitting in the dock. During that arrogant interview, Emanuel demonstrated that he doesn’t think he should have to answer any questions, from anybody. He later told the Tribune, “I did what was appropriate, at least from my perspective, which is I didn’t entertain any ... kind of quid pro quo. I can’t go beyond that with you.”
Rahm, you’re going to have to go beyond that.
Chicagoans are not going to take your word that you did nothing shady, because, frankly, you are kind of shady. A new Blagojevich trial, with Emanuel as a witness, might be good for you. It would give you a chance to prove you didn’t cut a deal for the Senate. You can’t stonewall a court of law the way you can a mere 3,000,000 voters. And sitting in the same courtroom with Rod Blagojevich would make you look honest.
Since there’s not going to be a trial, you'll have to provide the answers yourself. Otherwise, fair or not, this question will hang over your campaign: what did you offer, and when did you offer it?