Voters Say “Hell No” to Emanuel's Petitioners

“Hi, would you sign a petition for Rahm Emanuel for mayor?”

 “HELL, no.”

Saturday’s Democratic Party rally on the Midway Plaisance was all about the Nov. 2 election. President Barack Obama shared the stage with candidates Toni Preckwinkle, Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn. But outside the barricades, another campaign was taking place, as armies of petition circulators frantically worked the lines. They only had three-and-a-half weeks left to get their candidates on the ballot, so they were shoving clipboards at every Democrat in sight.

Emanuel’s petitioners were the most omnipresent, the most persistent -- and the most resented. Some voters literally recoiled after hearing Emanuel’s name.

“I think I heard 40 people say ‘Hell, no,’ to Emanuel’s people,” one politician remarked.

But Emanuel’s petitioners were on every street corner -- there were enough to collect 25,000 yeses, which is all he needs to cancel out the “hell nos.” The visceral reaction of voters showed that if Emanuel wins, he’ll be a mayor that Chicagoans feel passionately about. If some people already hate the idea of a Mayor Emanuel, imagine how they’ll feel about the reality.

Miguel del Valle was also circulating petitions at the rally. So was William “Dock” Walls. Rallygoers just walked past Walls’s clipboard without even a “hell no.” John Corrigan, the 42nd Ward Committeeman, was collecting signatures for city clerk.

Meanwhile, up on stage, Mayor Daley gave his fans two more malapropisms to remember. The mayor, who is famous for telling his critics to go “scrooten” themselves, instead of scrutinizing him, couldn’t pronounce some of the ten-letter names on this year’s ballot. He urged the crowd to vote for “Alexis Geeanoolis” and “Toni Preckwill.”

Come on, Mr. Mayor, even Jimmy Fallon could pronounce Alexi Giannoulias. And he doesn’t even live in Chicago. As for Toni Preckwinkle, she voted against the parking meter deal. It’s no wonder Mayor Daley can’t remember her name.

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