Rahm Emanuel handily won the race to replace longtime Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking 55 percent of the vote in a bitterly contested election. But when Obama's former chief of staff is sworn in May 16, he'll face an uphill battle resolving Chicago's thorny financial problems. Given the Second City's budget shortfall of at least $500 million, under-performing schools, and thinning police force, is the famously foul-mouthed Emanuel set up for failure before he even steps into City Hall? (Watch Emanuel's first mayoral press conference)
If anyone can fix Chicago, it's Rahm: Winning 55 percent in a five-person race is "what I call a mandate," says Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post. And given Chicago's fiscal ailments, Mayor Rahm might just be what Chicago needs: A "tough chief executive who is willing to make the ugly decisions," with a well-earned reputation to "give as good as he's going to get."
"All hail Mayor Rahm"
Rahm may be in over his head: What Emanuel's getting, essentially, are "the keys to a car on fire," says Ben Bowman in NBC's Ward Room. The city budget "has gone to hell," which will mean higher taxes, fewer services, and the end of Chicago's great outdoor festivals. Not to mention normal city headaches like crime, schools, and parking. This may be Rahm's dream job, but it sounds more like a nightmare.
"Let the challenge begin"
Let Emanuel prove his mettle: Getting elected probably "was the easy part," says Charlotte Howard in The Economist. Now Emanuel has to prove he can lead of one of America's most important cities, which means dealing with a sometimes-hostile city council. But given that a Daley won't be mayor, this really is a "new era" for Chicago. And hey, if "Emanuel can survive the next few years, he may be the mayor for 20 more."
"Rahm Emanuel wins"