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OPINION

Cubs Hoopla Makes Rahm Emanuel One Lucky Mayor

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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With the Cubs in the playoffs as the plucky darlings of the nation, behold the mayor of Chicago.

Is Rahm Emanuel just about the luckiest big-city mayor in the world, or what? It's all Cubs all the time, and the perfect look-over-there moment for a mayor with some serious issues.

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His Chicago cops, he says, have stopped confronting street thugs and gone "fetal" on him.

And Rahm's hand-picked public schools chief wept Tuesday as she pleaded guilty in federal court to a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme with her former company.

It was a blatant conflict-of-interest contract approved by Rahm's hand-picked board of education. He's fighting not to release all the documents -- including his emails -- but if Rahm didn't OK this deal, I'll eat my White Sox cap with sport peppers and yellow mustard.

So, he's got "fetal" cops to blame? Check.

And more of that old-fashioned Chicago Democratic corruption taking bread from the mouths of poor school kids? Check.

Is this the Chicago Way or the St. Louis Way? Please check "The Chicago Way."

Chicago's mayor certainly didn't look worried during the Cubs-Cardinals game the other night at Wrigley Field.

"Watching the Cubs game was great except for seeing Rahm (Emanuel) in almost every close-up of the batter," reader John Rusnak said in an email. "Do you think the Rahmfather purposely sat in those seats so that we would have to look at his deadpan facial expression all night long?

"While other fans were applauding and waving white towels cheering the Cubs, not once did Rahm show any emotion ... where was he during the rest of the season? Was he just there for publicity?"

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Is there really such a thing as political product placement in baseball?

The mayor has to be seen at Wrigley mingling with fans. If he hid up in a skybox, munching on fancy sweetmeats, sipping a hideously expensive bottle of wine, he would have been criticized.

Yes, he can be snarky, when he puts on his haughty Mayor Antoinette persona if someone brings up the subject of his emails. But it wasn't arrogance on his face at Wrigley.

I'm thinking it just might have been a head-smacking eureka moment without the head smack. It just might be the face of a man who realizes just how lucky he is and he doesn't want to gloat that the Cubs are in the playoffs.

It means that national media attention is not on street mayhem and corruption. Not that the national media really cares about the Chicago Way. It complicates their gooey narrative about President Obama as a reformer.

But Cubs are more fun to think about than corruption and homicides. And Chicago Cubs fans have waited so long.

So we have stories about everything Cubs. Cubs hors d'oeuvres, Cubs bacon wrapped on Cubs breadsticks, Cubs fans worried that Sox fans might not love the moment enough, Cubs cocktails, Cubs fan jitters, Cubs fan parties and Z-list celebrities hoping to get their name mentioned as Cubs fans. The Cubs history of longing and yearning, Cubs as religion, Zen Cubs, Cubs as a way of life and Cubs being the reason you'll name your new baby Theo, even if it's a girl.

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If you can slap a Cubs logo on it, you could probably sell it for a profit, even a bag of hair from a homeless guy.

And if the Cubs keep winning, who'll dare remember that Papa Cub Joe Ricketts dared to think about funding a political committee critical of President Obama before the 2012 campaign?

Rahm was furious, and it was clear the government hammer would drop down upon the Cubs just as the Ricketts family needed City Hall approval for changes to Wrigley.

And as others have done here in the land of the free, the Ricketts family capitulated to the Chicago Way. But please, don't mention this out loud, or you too may be considered the skunk at the Cubs party.

As the world got ready for Game 4 at Wrigley, weepy former schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. It was part of the deal she made with prosecutors. She's cooperating.

"I am terribly sorry, and I apologize to them," she said of students. "They deserve much more, much more than I gave to them." But that's not nearly as pithy as her email to her alleged co-schemers: "I have tuition to pay and casinos to visit :)"

And Rahm is also getting some blowback from for his "fetal" cops remark.

"We have allowed our police department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence," the former White House leaker in chief said the other day, according to the Washington Post. "They have pulled back from the ability to interdict ... they don't want to be a news story themselves, they don't want their career ended early and it's having an impact."

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As of Monday, there had been 399 homicides this year in Chicago, nearly 60 more than at the same time last year. As of Tuesday morning, there had been 2,407 shootings, about 362 over last year and 584 over 2013, according to statistics kept by the Tribune.

So if big-city cops have gone "fetal," the reason is this: Police know that the politicians will not have their backs should protesters shriek at City Hall, especially during an election year.

But that's politics. For now, it's all Cubs all the time. And that makes Rahm the luckiest mayor in the land.

Play ball.

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