Historian Rick Perlstein, a Chicago local, has been chronicling this election and in this piece for In These Times he lays out the case for Garcia’s experience and political know-how. He also notes that the Emanuel campaign along with his various Republican spokesmen have been doing what you’d expect: issuing thinly veiled attacks on Garcia as lacking “responsibility” if you know what they mean.
It was Illinois’s Republican senator Mark Kirk who came closest to going there. At Pulaski Day ceremonies last Monday, he absurdly asserted, “Rahm’s reelection is essential to maintaining the value of Chicago’s debt market. … It’s a concern if we have some of the less responsible people running against him.”
Understand: at the time, there weren’t “people” running against him, there was a person: the Mexican-American immigrant Chuy Garcia.
The racial overtones in his reference to “those people” was made crystalline by his next statement: “None of them could command the respect of the bond market. A collapse of Chicago debt, which already happened with Detroit, I think would soon follow if somebody who was really inexperienced and irresponsible replaced Rahm.”
Expect more provocations like that as campaign unfolds. Also, expect Garcia not to take the bait.
The financial concern for Chicago was spotlighted this weekend when Moody’s downgraded the city’s credit rating to two levels above junk status, making it the second worst after Detroit.