Awful former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers appointed new Choose Chicago chair
Mayor Emanuel this morning appointed Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rogers chair of the board of Choose Chicago, the city-run marketing tentacle whose goal is attracting tourists and convention business.
Cue boilerplate Rahmbo endorsement: "Rogers is a world-class business executive and a truly proud Chicagoan, and her unique talents and experience are a perfect fit for this important role." Her predecessor in the volunteer post, Bruce Rauner, is mulling a run as a Republican candidate for Illinois governor.
Hopefully Rogers is better at luring tourists to Chicago than keeping uninvited guests out of the White House. Before stepping down as White House social secretary in 2010, Rogers was widely criticized for an embarrassing security breach at Obama's 2009 state dinner that allowed Tareq and Michaele Salahi (and a third person) to crash the party. The Salahis, Real Housewives of Washington, D.C. stars, spent hours shaking hands and posing for photos with politicians and celebs. While it was protocol for the White House social director to work big events such as state dinners, Rogers instead decided to attend the party, wearing a designer gown and mingling with guests during the breach. In response to the blunder, a Homeland Security Committee panel examined Gatecrashgate and concluded "White House staff like Rogers might have helped prevent the breach." Sally Quinn, the former Washington Post columnist, called for Rogers to step down.
A month after Rogers finally resigned from the Obama administration, Politico quoted a source close to the White House arguing (albeit tenuously) that Rogers' failure to send Christmas cards to big-money Obama fundraisers may have contributed to low a Democratic National Committee war chest: "The donors rose up," the source said, "and that was another reason Desiree got pushed out."
But like many an appointee who fails at one job, Rogers has found her way appointed back into government in a different role. (No surprise: She's Emanuel's buddy.) What she knows about tourism or the convention industries is not quite clear. Emanuel isn't saying what Rogers' qualifications are for the post, beyond being "a world-class business executive and a truly proud Chicagoan." She's likely been a tourist. There's that.
So what should be Rogers's first orders of business? She'd get on everyone's good side by destroying all existing copies of "Chicago," the godawful Umphrey's McGee anthem commissioned by Choose Chicago. (Of course, she'd have to confer with Don Welsh, Choose Chicago's president and CEO.) She could also push for moving away from the marketing tagline "Chicago: Second to None," which plays into the dreaded second city complex without effectively mocking it. Do those things, Desiree, and we can forget all about that whole White House gatecrasher thing.