When Labels Mean Nothing

Bruce Rauner


Rahm Emmanuel (at right, above) is a Democrat. Bruce Rauner (at left) is a Republican. So they say, anyway. But their political philosophy looks the same to me.

According to a Reuters story :

The two have been close friends and even political allies, with Emanuel appointing Rauner as chairman of the city’s tourism agency soon after he became mayor in 2011.

They’re having a spat at the moment. Rauner is sticking it to Chicago now that he’s governor of the state. And, because he is up for re-election as Chicago’s mayor, Emmanuel is obliged to say unkind things about Rauner.

But the leopard doesn’t change its spots. They’re still the same breed of political animal.

Rahm Emmanuel is a big shot. He once ran the White House for President Obama. And he talks tough, like Jimmy Cagney or Edward G. Robinson in  those old gangster movies.

The Chicago mayor is certainly no bleeding-heart liberal. He is a Big Business believer who privatizes public services every chance he gets. Here’s a Salon.com writer’s view:

Emanuel’s tenure as mayor has been defined by the kind of aggressive anti-union and pro-corporate initiatives that were once the exclusive purview of the GOP. And politically speaking, the fact that public union membership tends to be disproportionately African-American certainly didn’t help.

That doesn’t spell Democrat to me. But what do I know?

Rudy Giuliani used to be a Democrat. Now he is a right-wing Republican. What happened? Did he have some kind of epiphany? Or did he see a brighter future if he switched labels?

Charlie Crist used to be a Republican but he switched labels to run for Florida’s governor as a Democrat. What happened?  Did the Republican Party drift so far to the right that it left no room for Charlie? And did the Democratic Party drift so far to the right that Charlie could find a home?

Whatever it was, the voters didn’t buy it. They put Rick Scott back in the governor’s mansion. Rick Scott!

How do we keep our faith in democracy after something like that?

If the Democratic rank and file took their democracy more seriously, they wouldn’t let counterfeit candidates carry the party’s banner. They would turn out for the primaries and make sure the folks who get nominated really support the Democratic platform.

The Republicans – especially the Tea Party crowd – are starting to pay attention.

What’s wrong with the Democrats?

Click for the Reuters story.

Click for more on the mayor’s race.