'F_CK RAHM': New website exposes facts about Rahm Emanuel's record, personal history

There is a new website that is beginning to provide delightful reading to anyone who doesn't believe Chicago's corporate media hype about the inevitability of the election of Rahm Emanuel mayor of Chicago in the February 22 voting. Substance readers already know something of Rahm's career as a child of privilege and loyal servant of corporate American, but the details, as they are coming out, are more and more interesting.

Rahm Emanule began shoveling it long before he returned to Chicago to run for mayor. On October 15, 2007, Rahm (left above) joined Mayor Daley (third from left) and then Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan (right) shoveling at the dedication of the "Marine Military Academy" which Rahm helped create by getting a million dollar "earmark" to CPS. A big fan of charter and military schools, Rahm, who graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, is now running for Chicago mayor on a platform that includes continued massive privatization and union busting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Among other things, the website leaves out two major aspects of Rahm's career that are already on display in Chicago: corporate media manipulation and corporate "school reform." Although NAFTA and the invasion of Iraq are important parts of Rahm's record, equally important are how he helped finesse "Race to the Top", the Obama corporate school reform program under fellow Chicagoan Arne Duncan, and the conflict over how to operate a political campaign Rahm had with Howard Dean. The Race to the Top problems are already obvious to readers of Substance. The strategic conflict is less well know. During the run up to the 2008 election, Howard Dean, then head of the Democratic Party, proposed that the Democrats build a state-by-state and country-by-county organization. That was opposed to spending money on corporate campaign consultants and expensive media buys in "major markets." Dean won part of the argument, and for the first time in decades the Democratic Party actually had organizers in places that had been colonized by Karl Rove's Republicans years before. It made a difference, since there was finally a place for people who disagreed with the Karl Rove agenda to go. One major result was the election of Barack Obama, who had an unprecedented ground campaign in all 50 states, and not just media buys that further enriched corporate media and expensive consultants.

Both the media and consultant strategies are now on display in Chicago's mayoral campaign. Emanuel isn't trying to buy a ground organization, and his support, even among what's left of the Democratic Machine, is weak, as conversations in the wards will tell anyone. He had to pay an army of petition circulation people to get his petitions signed, and he is currently poised to pay another army to work the precincts on February 22. But with weak grass roots support, he is also relying on media distortions (such as the Tribune polls) to make his election seem inevitable.

There will be more and more in the next ten days. Early voting is still going on, but the main voting will still be on Election Day, February 22. Meanwhile, below is the Rahm rage site. It may be the first of many.

Below is the beginning:

Rahm’s Life So Far (

Rahm Emanuel grew up as a child of privilege, rarely exposed to the struggles of working Americans while living in Wilmette and attending New Trier High School.

After working for genuinely progressive causes and candidates, including the late great U.S. Senator Paul Simon, something pushed him to the right.

Rahm’s rise in politics was all about the money. Specifically, he raised a lot of it for Bill Clinton during the 1992 election. Not from small donors, but large contributions from corporate interests and the rich elite. Their legal bribes paid dividends later in the anti-worker, anti-environment NAFTA bill and the Clinton Administration’s other pro-corporate policies.

After serving as an advisor to President Bill Clinton, Rahm left the White House in 1998 to work with poor people. Just kidding of course. He went to Wall Street and made millions in investment banking ($16.2 million in just 2 1/2 years to be exact), a small thank you for his continued support of the corporate takeover of America. And he did it all without an MBA degree or prior banking experience. Even George W. Bush was more qualified.

$16 million, however, was chump change. Rahm wanted to control the big pot known as the federal budget. So he cashed in all of his political chips with Mayor Daley, the Democratic machine and, despite his reputation as a pimp for NAFTA, the labor unions – and won his bid for Congress.

He quickly became an early supporter of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, a war that would end up costing us more than 100,000 innocent lives and more than $3 trillion (which would have more than paid for a public option).

By the end of his time in Congress, Open Secrets reported that Rahm "was the top House recipient in the 2008 election cycle of contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms and the larger securities/investment industry". They were also the main sector contributing to his campaigns in both 2006 and 2008 – and the main cause of the global economic crisis.

On November 6, 2008, Rahm became White House Chief of Staff for Barack Obama where he went on to negotiate a health care bill that will require Americans to buy private, for-profit health insurance with very few controls over price or service quality.

At a closed-door meeting in the White House with progressive activists, he called them "fucking retarded" for planning to run TV ads attacking conservative, pro-corporate Democrats. Rahm later apologized to people with mental disabilities for using the word "retarded."

He never apologized to the progressive activists and went onto pass a health care will that will still leave millions of Americans unprotected.

During meetings about saving the American car industry, sources in the room say Rahm said "Fuck the UAW" after the union’s leader stood up for working class rights at a time when banks were given billions in a federal bailout.

Now Rahm wants to be the mayor of Chicago and complete the corporate takeover of our beautiful city.

Rahm’s Plan for Chicago , Protecting Corporations

Rahm Emanuel has been giving away our hard-earned tax money to corporations and other private interests since his days in the Clinton Administration. And all we got was this lousy Great Recession.

Through his long relationship with the Democratic Leadership Council, Rahm ensured that all of his corporate donors were well compensated through job-killing laws like NAFTA and the Health Care "Reform" act.

Rahm will bring his same love for corporations to Chicago – and sell off valuable pieces of the city to private interests – just as his buddy Richard M. Daley has done for years. Think the parking meters are bad? Just wait until they own our water.

Destroying Quality Jobs

Through his enthusiastic support for NAFTA, Rahm ensured the destruction of America’s struggling manufacturing class. Some quality, union jobs went to Mexico (where they became low-paid, non-union jobs), while most skipped Mexico completely and went straight to China after President Clinton signed the China Free Trade deal (where they became really really low paid jobs in a country plagued by human rights violations).

For the past ten years, undereducated Americans were forced to compete for a small pool of leftover jobs in the U.S. economy. They were also forced to compete with the flood of new immigration, legal and undocumented, from our desperate neighbors to the south after NAFTA and subsequent free trade deals destroyed Mexico’s rural economy. Rahm helped create the rage behind today’s Tea Party movement by ruining the livelihoods of millions of hard-working Americans.

Health Care (Profits) for All (Companies)

Rahm had an opportunity more golden than what his buddy Blago thought he had: a president with a progressive mandate and a Congress controlled by the Democratic party. It was the perfect set of conditions to bring about the kind of change last seen during the Great Society and the New Deal.

But yet again, Rahm made a political calculation, invited his right-wing Democratic allies like Tom Daschle and Max Baucus to reach out to the health care and pharmaceutical industry and write a bill that would deliver them 30 million new customers backed by the enforcement of the IRS.

While the health care "reform" law does help a small number of vulnerable Americans, it will still leave 20 million people without the ability to afford insurance. Even with this new law, the cost of health care is expected to be equal to the average wage by 2025.

Rahm made his core constituents in corporate America happy while 45,000 Americans die per year because they lack health insurance.

Defending the war in Iraq

October 2002, Rahm joined hundreds of other members of Congress to authorize the invasion of a sovereign nation because they believed the lie that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. While some Democrats have since apologized for letting their moral and political guard down, Rahm continues to defend his decision.

His decision cost American taxpayers more than $3 trillion and caused the death of the more than 100,000 innocent people and more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers.

When it came time for Rahm to make a courageous decision, he made a political calculation. Without the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which he voted to fund, America would be in a much better financial position to recover from this Great Recession.

A dangerous cog in the Daley Machine

The retirement of Mayor Richard M. Daley represents a time for Chicago to move beyond patronage politics that ultimately benefit corporate and private interests. The election of Rahm would represent a continuation of those politics to the detriment of working class Chicagoans.

Fuck Rahm and rage against the Machine.


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

3 + 2 =