Opinion: Rahm Emanuel, Child of the '70s - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Rahm Emanuel, Child of the '70s



    I’ll bet you any amount of money that Rahm Emanuel has smoked pot. A nickel. A dime. $4.20. Whatever seems most appropriate for a dumb marijuana joke to lead off a blog post.

    The mayor went to high school in the 1970s, the all-time greatest party decade, when 18-year-olds were old enough to drink, but too young to get drafted. In his high school yearbook photo, he looked like Magic Dick from the J. Geils Band. He was a dance student at a private Eastern college. We now know that even Andy Williams smoked marijuana in the 1970s.

    Only a hardcore nonconformist would have abstained.

    We’ve reached the point where those ’70s party kids are in positions of power. The president of the United States was a member of the dope smoking “Choom Gang” in high school. So it’s no surprise that they’re more tolerant of marijuana than their predecessors who went to school when pot was considered the gateway to heroin, orgies, black masses and human sacrifices.

    Rahm Emanuel Backs Pot Tickets Over Arrests

    [CHI] Rahm Emanuel Backs Pot Tickets Over Arrests
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he supports a plan to allow police to issue tickets to people caught with a small amount of marijuana. The proposal would free up police to fight major crime. Sharon Wright reports.
    (Published Friday, June 15, 2012)

    Dope smoking is no longer enough to derail a political career, but a dope arrest might be.

    According to the Tribune:

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is throwing his support behind a plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.   
    Under the proposed ordinance, police officers will have the discretion to issue tickets with fines ranging from $100 to $500 for people carrying 15 grams or less of pot.

    The advent of those ’70s kids also coincides with an era in which government can’t afford to pay for the services it once provided. It takes one cop to write a ticket, versus four to conduct an arrest. So it’s easy to justify decriminalizing marijuana on fiscal terms. (Two legacies of the Baby Boomers, 40 years apart: acceptance of marijuana use, and huge government deficits.)

    I should end this by saying I’ll bet you an equal amount of money that the mayor does not currently smoke. Marijuana is incompatible with the aggressive, extroverted career he pursues. No one who smokes pot could work up the ambition to make 50 phone calls a day, as Emanuel did when he was White House Chief of Staff; or to spend 14 hours a day in meetings, as he does now that he’s mayor.

    Besides, the mayor is so uptight, isn’t he? 

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!