Chicago is the photo op in Mayor Rahm's potential presidential campaign

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Does this look like the face of someone who doesnt want to run for president?
  • Andrew A. Nelles/Sun-Times
  • Does this look like the face of someone who doesn't want to run for president?
It seems like everyone has an opinion as to whether Mayor Emanuel wants to run for president, including Mayor Emanuel himself.

He says he does not want to run for any other office than the one he currently occupies. Which should put the matter to rest, since Mayor Emanuel's presumably the foremost authority on what Mayor Emanuel wants to do.

Except no one believes him. And so the speculation rages.

I, for one, think he wants to run but won't as long as there's a chance that Hillary Clinton's in the race. There's no way Rahm Emanuel runs against the Clintons.

On Valentine's Day, Lloyd Grove—political writer for the Daily Beast—weighed in with a story citing several unnamed Democratic Party insiders who said Emanuel's "had discussions both over the phone and face to face in the past month with Democratic Party donors and fundraisers about a possible White House run."

Grove's piece also quotes William Daley—our former mayor's younger brother—who said, "I'd be surprised if he'd be stupid enough to actually say something like that to people."

Before adding, almost apropos of nothing . . .

"Anything can happen," Daley said, "and Rahm is as paranoid as ever."

You know, I have to say—Bill Daley's wonderfully entertaining when it comes to his quotes about Emanuel, who is supposedly a friend and confidante.

For a guy who allegedly has only the highest regard for Emanuel, Bill Daley seems to enjoy needling the mayor even more than I do. If such a thing is possible.

In any event, Chris Cillizza, political blogger for the Washington Post, has now added his two cents to the debate.

According to Cillizza, his top sources tell him that not only is Emanuel actively throwing his name into the ring, he's a little miffed to be left off any list of top presidential contenders.

The most relevant part of the post—at least for Chicagoans—comes when Cillizza runs down Emanuel's pros and cons as a presidential contender.

In the pro side, obviously, is his tenacious fund-raising ability—a subject I recently addressed.

On the con side, alas, is his tenure as our mayor.

"Emanuel allies insist that he has done much good for the city but it's clear from the headlines that the dominant story of his time in office so far is the rising murder rate," Cillizza writes. "The Chicago homicide rate in January was its highest in more than a decade and the Windy City has become a national talking point— and not in a good way—when it comes to violence. There's been little recent credible polling on Emanuel but he has to have taken a hit from all the negative publicity surrounding the murders. And, even if he hasn't, it's hard to imagine Emanuel's potential 2016 opponents wouldn't dredge up some of those violence stats if he did make a bid."

Apparently, our misery has been reduced to a national talking point—of relevance only in regards to the mayor's presidential aspirations, and of significance to no one other than ourselves.

By the way, I think that pretty much sums up Mayor Emanuel's tenure in general.

It's as though he ran for mayor to advance his political career, taking time out from Washington to brush up his resumé in preparation for the next stop in his pursuit of more power and prestige.

Chicago—think of yourself as the backdrop in a photo op for the advancement of Mayor Emanuel's career.

If we didn't know that when we elected him, I think we all know that by now.

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