The reason Rahm Emanuel is leaving the White House, it is said, is that heís getting set to run for mayor of Chicago. Thereís actually a lot we admire about Mr. Emanuel, and we wish him luck. But our sentiments are with the editor-in-chief of the American Spectator, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. The word is that Mr. Tyrrell, a contributing editor of The New York Sun, is hatching his own plan to run for mayor of Chicago the way one of his heroes, William F. Buckley, once ran for mayor of New York.†Tune into the Sean Hannity broadcast Monday evening.†If he does run a campaign, itíll be the freshest breeze out of the Windy City since Lincoln.
Let us say right off the beam that we understand some will be puzzled in respect of why a newspaper in New York is making such an early endorsement in Chicago. We would just remind our readers that it was The New York Sun that gave Chicago its most famous nickname ó the Windy City. The moniker was penned by our erstwhile editor, Charles Dana, in 1893. He was referring to the gusty nature of the politics of what the other papers liked to call the Second City. Wikipedia contends that others used the term before Dana, but it was Dana who made the phrase synonymous with Chicago.
Mr. Tyrrell is right in the Chicago tradition. It is said that Mr. Emanuel canít say but a few words without delivering himself of the most awful expletives such as require parents to clap their hands over the ears of their children. Mr. Tyrrell is of the more literary turn, but he can talk with the windiest of the Chicago wise men. If the topic is Chicago itself, a certain twinge of warm affection starts to enter his voice, no doubt due to the fact that he was born in Chicago of a family with deep roots in the best tradition of Illinois politics.
The first time we met Mr. Tyrrell was in his private study, where he was seated beneath the portrait of Abraham Lincoln that the family of the 16th president gave Mr. Tyrrellís family in appreciation for the role that one of Mr. Tyrrellís ancestors, an agent of the Secret Service named P.D. Tyrrell, played in foiling a plot, by a band of currency counterfeiters, to steal Lincolnís body from its first grave. The Lincoln connection may be what impelled Mr. Tyrrell to align himself with all the best traditions in the GOP. Mr. Tyrrellís great-grandfather, Frank Tyrrell, was for many years the last surviving officer of the Haymarket Riot.
As a journalist, Mr. Tyrrell has lived in the grand tradition. President Reagan once ducked out of the Oval Office to have dinner with Mr. Tyrrell in his home. When, during Mr. Tyrrellís long journalistic campaign against President Clinton, the editor found himself in the same restaurant with the 42nd president, the editor sent over a bottle of champagne and the two ended jousting jovially about the presidentís political crisis. Such is Mr. Tyrrellís charm that Mr. Clintonís great counsel, Bernard Nussbaum, while defending Mr. Clinton, once gave a favorable review to Mr. Tyrrellís book on Mr. Clinton.
Mr. Tyrrell, in contradistinction to Mr. Emanuel, is not a man who pokes people in the chest. Mr. Tyrrell runs a supper series called the Saturday Evening Club that meets mid-week. To these dinners repair Supreme Court justices, foreign dignitaries, governors, senators, and presidential aspirants, all to be drawn out by Mr. Tyrrellís friendly spirit and passion for the political debate. Itís a spirit that will serve him well if he actually mounts his campaign for mayor, in which, incidentally, the talk is that heís going to unfurl the slogan ďa tax cut in every pot,Ē demand an investigation of the cityís pension obligations, and unveil a plan to maneuver the Cubs into the World Series.
One of the things Mr. Tyrrell will no doubt do is seek to remind voters of Mr. Emanuelís entanglements with Governor Blagojevich. Mr. Tyrrell likes to put it this way: ďHaving lived in Washington longer than Mr. Emanuel, Iím cleaner of Blagojevich than he is.Ē Heíll no doubt stress the ties between Mr. Emanuel and President Obama, whose health care nationalization will hurt Chicagoans so hard. And Mr. Tyrrell will be able to assert that he himself is blameless in the mortgage crisis, having never served on the board of Freddie Mac.
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There are those who will set down Mr. Tyrrellís campaign as satire, and satire is one of his favorite journalistic weapons. The great scoop of Mr. Tyrrellís career is the story of how, during the 1970s, liberalism had become laughable. There are others who will say that the crisis into which Mr. Obama, with Mr. Emanuelís help, has precipitated the country is no laughing matter, what with the governmentís trillion dollar deficits, the dollar having collapsed to below a 1,300th of an ounce of gold, and the Bush momentum ebbing in the war. The Democrats may have their mandate in the Congress trimmed sharply or even revoked. But there are others who say Mr. Tyrrellís penchant for good humor and optimism are just what our country needs, and what better place to start than by restoring to the heart of the American heartland a fair wind.