Not to take the comparison between Rich Daley and Rahm Emanuel too far—Daley in ballet tights?—but as family men the mayor and his would-be successor share a couple of key traits.
When Bill Clinton came to town on Tuesday to tout the talents of his buddy Rahm, and Rahm responded by toasting his former boss, “I could not ask for a better role model than you,” I wondered what Rahm’s wife Amy Rule thought. (So did the Tribune’s Scott Stantis in his Wednesday morning cartoon.)
While Rahm’s phrase choice wasn’t the best, not even his many enemies claim he shares Bill’s philandering ways. My sense of Rahm from many years of observation, is that he is an intensely faithful and loyal husband. Last month, during that grueling residency hearing, Rahm placed a photograph of his family on the table in front of him. The gesture seemed sincere, as if the photo were an anchor that kept him from leaping out of his chair to heap profanities on the often goofy and insulting objectors who seemed hell-bent on provoking and tormenting him.
In the case of Rich Daley, whatever one might think of his performance as mayor, as husband to Maggie, he seems flawless. He is fiercely protective of her in an almost quaint, old-fashioned way, and, in her presence, he just seems, well, in love.
Rahm is similarly protective of his wife. When Crain’s Chicago Business’s political writer Greg Hinz had lunch with Rahm recently, he suggested that he might want to write about Amy, and Rahm “became visibly upset.”
There was certainly nothing inappropriate about Hinz’s intent. Rahm is a public figure and, by virtue of that, so is Amy.
Another parallel between Rich and Rahm can be seen in the vanguard of brothers who protect, advise, and support them. Bill Daley, Rahm’s successor as President Obama’s chief of staff, wanted to run for mayor but quickly stepped aside when his older brother Rich indicated he intended to run. John Daley sits on the County Board and takes care of family business in the 11th Ward. Michael Daley, the most private of the Daley brothers, runs the clout and revenue heavy law firm Daley and George.
In Rahm’s case there’s Ari, the LA talent agent who hosted Rahm’s recent Hollywood fundraiser, and Zeke, the physician/academic/big thinker, who has worked in the Obama White House.
If both Rahm and Rich exude a cocky “don’t mess with me,” and “I don’t care what you think” attitude, credit—or blame–the bond of wives and the band of brothers.