Rahm Place, Rahm Time

The Illinois Apellate Court has overturned a decision that would have let former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel run for mayor of Chicago on the grounds that he moved his family to DC two years ago, rented out his Chicago home, and therefore hasn’t been a resident of the city for a year, a requirement for the post.

That, I think, is indicative of one reason the Obama administration has had such a rough couple of years. Whether or not Emanuel is actually eligible to run for mayor is something the state Supreme Court is likely to decide, but it was a no-brainer to anticipate this potential bump in the road. The past two years have been a very bumpy ride for the administration, but it’s been all the worse because people like Emanuel failed time and again to predict any of the jolts. They were repeatedly caught off-guard and unprepared for opposition to policy proposals and plans. From the reprise of the fifty-year-old casting of national health coverage as “socialism” to the administration’s blissful unawareness of an unemployment level that’s seemingly resistant to all of the happy “Road to Recovery” talk, people like Emanuel have acted as if their very ideas were enough to shape the world: creating their own reality where facts don’t matter, as one Bush-administration official told journalist Robert Suskind.

Like so many challenges of the past two years, this impediment to Emanuel’s run for mayor was completely foreseeable. He may surmount it but there’s a good chance it will screw up his plans and in any case it could have been sidestepped neatly if he’d simply re-established some sort of obvious residence in the city a year ago, presumably when he was thinking about running for the office.

Planning ahead is one of those attributes that’s supposed to be useful in civic leaders, no?