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Roeper: It’s Rahm for mayor with no runoff

Updated: May 29, 2011 4:46AM

Since Derrick Rose was a toddler, since Ronald Reagan was finishing up his second term as president, since “The Cosby Show” was ruling the airwaves and Milli Vanilli was burning up the charts, the signs welcoming all to our city have said:

Welcome to Chicago

Richard M. Daley, Mayor

Soon they’ll all say:

Welcome to Chicago

Dock Walls, Mayor

Ah, I kid because there’s space for it.

The reality is that as early as this evening, we could be hearing “Mayor-elect Emanuel,” and soon those signs will be changed to reflect the identity of Chicago’s next mayor — at least if the polls and the prediction I made many months ago hold true.

I’ve been saying since last fall that Emanuel will get 53.7 percent of the vote, meaning there’ll be no runoff.

Experts who know more than I do about these things are saying there’s a good chance Emanuel will be in the high 40s, but I’m going to go  with these numbers for today’s vote:

Rahm Emanuel: 54%

Gery Chico: 28%

Carol Moseley Braun: 9%

Miguel del Valle: 7%

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins: 1.5%

Dock Walls: A few more votes than you and I are gonna get, and we’re not in the race.

As I wrote when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, whether it’s on the local or the national level, there’s no such thing as a savior who’s going to wave a magic wand over the troubles of the land ala some Dreamworks fairy tale and make it all better. No matter who’s elected, the city will always face challenges of finance, crime, education, social services and what to do about those damn parking meters.

But CMB circus sideshow antics and fringe candidates aside, there are only two men in Chicago who have any chance of being our next mayor: the prohibitive favorite and the candidate who’s hoping against hope for a runoff, during which he’ll have to figure out a way make up a deficit of 20 points or more. (As I said to Chico last week, eliciting a chuckle from the candidate, someone might be passing through O’Hare on Tuesday night, looking up at the television and wondering why there’s elation at the campaign headquarters of a guy who just got 29 percent of the vote.)

Richard M. Daley’s legacy will be debated for years and decades to come, with some saying he was among the greatest mayors in modern American history while others will maintain the city’s in worse shape now than it was in the late 1980s, and that there was too much corruption and scandal too close to the mayor’s office.

But after 21 years, even the mayor realized it was time for a changing of the guard.

Chicago is not Cairo or even Wisconsin today. (Though to say we’ve had our moments of turmoil and upheaval is an understatement). The most dramatic stories we’ll see will probably be along the lines of polling places that opened late, a few malfunctioning machines, somebody campaigning a little bit too close to the action.

It’ll be a calm Tuesday in Chicago. All I’ll have to do is walk the half-block to my polling place and make my choices.

There’s something quietly great and powerful about that. Even as the census tells us Chicagoans are fleeing in record numbers, for those of us lucky to find ourselves in certain circumstances, living anywhere else is unfathomable.

D-Rose over LeBron? What!

It’s amazing and good fun to see how much dust can be kicked up with a simple Tweet.

Inspired by the glowing story in Sunday’s Sun-Times about Derrick Rose, I mused, “How good is Rose? Put it this way: would you trade him straight up for LeBron? Not sure I would...”

The responses on Twitter and Facebook were fast and furious:

“Stick to movie reviews.”

“I love good satire.”

“Are you nuts?”

“I can’t stand LeBron, but I’d trade D-Rose for LeBron any day.”

“Wow, wow, wow. I love you Rich, but just . . . wow.”

“I love Rose but let’s be serious. LeBron is a likely top 10 all-time player.”

“Rich — have you seen the Cavaliers without James this year? Case closed.”

But about 40 percent of respondents agreed with me, citing the fact that Rose is four years younger,  seems to possess more drive and killer instinct, has less of a me-first ego and is probably the leading MVP candidate in the league right now.

LeBron’s the best. D-Rose is quickly joining the discussion about who’s the best.

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