Monday, January 24, 2011

Rahm Emanuel and the meaning of schadenfreude

With only a month to go until Election Day, more than $10 million in campaign money in the bank and an overwhelming lead in the polls, Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, was disqualified on Monday from appearing on this city's ballot for mayor.

A panel of Illinois Appellate Court justices, in a 2-1 ruling, found that Mr. Emanuel failed to meet a state code stipulating that candidates for mayor reside in the city they hope to lead for at least a full year before an election.



satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

1890–95; < G, equiv. to Schaden harm + Freude joy


Attorneys for Rahm Emanuel late today asked the Illinois Supreme Court to prevent Chicago elections officials from printing ballots for the Feb. 22 mayor's election without his name.

Emanuel's legal team also said they will ask the state's highest court on Tuesday to hear their appeal of a decision by an appellate court today to knock him off the ballot on the grounds he doesn't meet residency requirements.


Emanuel is one of those Democrats whom I support only when the alternative is a Republican. And while I admired, once upon a time, his apparent ability to navigate Capitol Hill and get things done, and while I was fairly ambivalent about it when newly-elected Obama named him chief of staff, I was happy to see him leave the White House.

Sure, there were many successes during Obama's first two years in office, but Emanuel distinguished himself by being a determined anti-progressive, including on health-care reform. I understand the need to make deals when you're trying to get things done, but Emanuel, to me, was an obstacle, pulling Obama away from his liberal-progressive base (even if Obama himself seems to be more Emanuel-style centrist than progressive). Not much will change with Emanuel not running the West Wing, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a massive nuisance, to say the least.

He may still get the chance to inflict himself, his anti-progressive centrism, and his party-boss ways on the people of Chicago, as it may well be, as he claims, that "his time in Washington, which ended in October, was always meant to be temporary and ought not affect his legal status as a resident of Chicago," according to the Times, but, for now, let's take some pleasure in his apparent demise, or at least in his temporary misfortune.


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