At last weekend's Taste of Chicago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel danced to Robin Thicke. With hip thrusts. And it was all caught on phone. The video was posted by YouTube user jwhousto422, who does not have much of an Internet presence. (It's his or her first video ever.) We noticed it after it was tweeted by preeminent cartoon blogger Josh Fruhlinger, who was amused that Emanuel appears to be getting intimate with a chair. He bounced along with the crowd to "Blurred Lines." It took a minute for the mayor to get into the song, but once he did, he was feeling it so much that he took off his tie while biting his lower lip.
Taste of Chicago is a giant food and music festival held every summer in the city's Grant Park. Put on by the city, it also gives Emanuel a chance to look cool by giving him a chance to associate himself with fun things like the band Fun. and food trucks. But like all "cool" politicians, it is a lot more difficult to look cool when the music starts.
Emanuel's appearance at the concert, but not his dancing apparently, was noted by local blogs as a cool thing to do such as Chicago Now, which noted the mayor is a music fan and went to see Fun. His backstage meeting with Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher got some notice (the mayor's tie was still on, below).
But it's really the dancing that seals his Cool Mayor vibe. As the song progressed, Emanuel rolled up his sleeves, and his hip thrusting intensified. In fairness, Emanuel appears to have been lured into dancing by the enthusiastic woman in front of him. Many modern males feel compelled to dance when females nearby begin to dance, and perhaps Emanuel instinctively, even subconsciously, started his moves once he was in close proximity to such a display.
Like so many politicians before him, Emanuel has taken many steps to present himself as a man of the people. It is a longtime tradition for politicians to sacrifice a little bit of dignity to do things like eat a pork chop on a stick at the county fair. But it's a careful balancing act, and, as the 2014 midterm campaigns get going, candidates can learn something from Emanuel's example of what can happen when one errs on the dignity-sacrificing side. It looks like Emanuel is standing next to an aide, because he leans over and says something in his ear. We do not know who the woman is.
He never took off his sunglasses, because sunglasses are cool, just like Rahm Emanuel.
The former ballet dancer has been spotted dancing in public before. At the 2012 Taste of Chicago, he was taped dancing to Jennifer Hudson. The mayor was doing more of a shoulder sway thing than hip thrusts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.