Last night got pretty ugly.
Many viewers at home agreed with those in the audience who booed Phil Ponce, the long-time host of Chicago Tonight, when Ponce kept pushing the issue of Chuy Garcia’s son who has had trouble with the law as a kid.
By the end of the evening Ponce’s name was the number one trending topic on Chicago Twitter.
And the Tweets weren’t praising him.
But I thought the story was Rahm.
He was not acting as if he, his handlers or advisors like David Axelrod, believe the Tribune poll showing a double digit lead any more than I do.
He was acting like someone in a very close election. A double-digit lead with a week to go? He would be sitting on that lead, trying to avoid making a mistake.
It was clear that Rahm’s people thought bringing a sheet of paper as a prop to attack Chuy’s managerial experience with the community group Enlace was going to be some kind of gotcha moment.
Did anybody watching at home even know what the paper was?
The entire Enlace issue was manufactured by Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos, famously known for his work exposing CTU President Karen Lewis’ vast real estate holdings.
That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.
In These Times online editor Micah Uetricht does a good job telling the real story of Garcia and Enlace.
If you were waiting for talk of schools, cuts in human services or mental health facilities then you waited in vain.
Due to the ugly moderating by Ponce, Rahm didn’t even provide viewers who were playing the Full-Day Kindergarten drinking game a chance for one shot.
I had predicted more lies about high school graduation rates coming from Rahm.
Because Ponce created a hot mess of a debate.
While Chuy made some good points about Rahm’s role in Freddie Mac and about his big donor pals that receive financial benefits from the Mayor in return, the debate appeared frequently to be coming apart at the seams.
Ponce at first explained that the format would allow longer uninterrupted responses. But that only worked for Rahm’s first response. Then it was everybody talking over everybody.
I’m tired of the mayor as manager meme that the press and Rahm have invented. The leader of a city like Chicago is not a business manager. The mayor sets policy and creates a vision. They hire managers.
Rahm hired Amer Ahmad, now serving 15 years for corruption, as City Comptroller.
His vision is that of a Wall Street investor and those of downtown business interests.
When asked about meeting with Chicago residents who live near O’Hare airport and the noise created by the new runways, Rahm first lied and said he had met with them. Then admitted he hadn’t met with them. He said he talked to the alderman.
By the way, go back and read Ben Joravsky’s brilliant take-down of Rahm’s claim to four years of balanced budgets from the September Reader of last year. Of course then Rahm could only falsely claim three years of balanced budgets.
I couldn’t help but laugh when Rahm turned to Chuy and said, “You’re calling Deloitte and Touche liars?” Deloitte and Touche is a giant accounting firm that does city audits.
First of all, I have a cold and by this time in the debate I was feeling a little giddy from the decongestants.
Deloitte and Touche just sounds funny to me.
Deloitte and Touche came up when Chuy had challenged the transparency of Rahm’s financial operations.
But accounting firms don’t guarantee transparency. Or the truth.
They can be as trustworthy as the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson was – It is no longer with us as a company – in their audits of Enron.
For what it is worth, Mayor Daley’s budgets were audited by Deloitte and Touche too. The very budgets Rahm says created the problems he says he has been fixing.
What Chuy was asking for was public transparency.
Something we will not get from the current mayor.