When Mayor Daley announced his retirement, much was made around the city of the possibility of a return to the divisive racial politics of the 1980s, when a white faction on the City Council warred with black mayor Harold Washington. Chicago was described as "Beirut on the Lake" for its nasty infighting in those days.
Instead, it looks like Rahm Emanuel's faith is becoming the focal point for some unpleasantries as he maintains a significant edge in the polls.
First, Carol Moseley Braun made an unfortunate analogy likening the Jewish Emanuel to a portrayal of Adolf Hitler in Mel Brooks's "The Producers." Braun said she didn't intend a comparison between the two men, and Emanuel said during a Monday night mayoral forum that her words were taken out of context.
Also on Monday, however, a more direct anti-Semitic message was distributed at a CTA Red Line station. NBC Chicago reports that an anti-Emanuel flier surfaced, containing some anti-Semitic depictions of Emanuel. NBC described the flier:
The flier reads: "I will run Chicago as I ran Freddie Mac, PROFITABLE (for me, me, me) thirty millions$$$. I was entitled to it, being a Holocaust survivor (I mean my family)."
The flier goes on to list racial [epithets] of Irish, Latino and Korean groups, among others, whom, the flier says, "will never unite." It then reads, "If you elect Emanuel, Chicago for sure will go to Hell."
Through it all, Emanuel has been unflappable. He dismissed the fliers, and said that he felt sure that Braun's line was a simple misunderstanding.