Posts Tagged ‘Rahm Emanuel’

My Take on Rahm

Friday, March 5th, 2010

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but David Broder actually had a good column yesterday, successfully bringing an insider’s knowledge and veteran’s perspective to put something of a dampening on the round of Rahmapalooza that’s broken out in the past week. The articles in the Post were mostly awful, not really giving you much insight into what’s going on, and with no real way to evaluate the veractiy of its claims. Noam Scheiber’s profile in TNR is much better, although that estimation is certainly clouded by the fact that it basically tracks with what I’ve assumed the intra-administration working dynamic looks like. I think Ezra gets it basically right; other than the day to day management of the White House staff, Rahm’s job is basically to be a politics guys, especially legislative politics. And when arguments arise over policy, Rahm is basically losing to the people who are there to shape policy. I think that’s basically a good thing, although it’s interesting to note that two arguments Rahm lost on, doing financial reform early in 2009 and telling Max Baucus to drop the Gang of Six stalling, are clearly places where you could make a very good case that he really should have been listened to and, assuming the claims are correct, really can give Obama some flak for not taking his advice. On the other hand, without knowing why Obama went the other direction, I guess that’s sort of a hard case to make. Maybe he believed that doing financial reform right really would take more time. In the case of Baucus, I find it very plausible that he, or the Vice-President, realized there was nothing they could really do to force a Senator to do something they didn’t want to do, and so simply not to antagonize the conservadem Finance chair. It’s really hard to say. But what we do get out of this, I think, is an understanding of a couple of points. First, that Rahm does have a pretty good feel for the politics of the administration’s agenda, even if his inclination is to trim the sails more than any of us would like. Secondly, that he is losing internal battles, and that he’s not the shadow President, secretly pulling Obama’s strings and selling the hippies out to corporate America.

Wilder vs. Kaine

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

by Brien Jackson

So I gather that the new meme about town is that Obama needs to fire all those rubes from Chicago who are stearing him wrong and “ruining his brand,” and while I think it’s pretty self-evidently stupid (I haven’t seen anyone explaining why Obama either wouldn’t face a major shit-storm for such a drastic staff shake-up, or won’t be hurt by it), it is what it is. But this article by former Virginia governor Doug Wilder in POLITICO makes even less sense in the genre. Wilder, in addition to calling out Rahm Emmanuel, takes aim at former Virginia governor and current DNC chairman Tim Kaine in a truly bizarre fashion:

Though I discussed with Tim what I was doing relative to the vice presidency, he and I never had any discussions as to whether he should be the national party chairman. There are several reasons why I felt then, and do now, that it is not a good fit for Tim, the party or Obama.

 Positioning Democrats as “tax and spend” has been a favorite pastime of Republicans. Another has been “soft on crime.”

Though I discussed with Tim what I was doing relative to the vice presidency, he and I never had any discussions as to whether he should be the national party chairman. There are several reasons why I felt then, and do now, that it is not a good fit for Tim, the party or Obama.

 Positioning Democrats as “tax and spend” has been a favorite pastime of Republicans. Another has been “soft on crime.”

Well look, I read a lot of Republican/conservative blogs, and get spam mail from a few right-wing blast email outfits and this is the first I’ve heard of this. So with plenty of time to train their sights on Kaine, Republicans haven’t. Which makes perfect sense, given that I can’t think of any election, ever, in which one of the party’s committee chairman became an issue. Not even the much more visible Howard Dean.

Wilder also pulls out the tired trope of the New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts election results, and the requisite ignoring of special elections in NY-20 and NY-23, and declares that the problem with Obama’s inner circle is that they lack sufficient executive branch experience, even though Rahm spent quite a bit of time in the Clinton White House. All of which creates a pattern in which the much more interesting question is; who pissed in Wilder’s corn flakes?

Israeli Right-Wing to Rahm: Don’t Forget You’re Jewish

Monday, April 20th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

I wrote last week about a report that Rahm Emaneul had essentially laid down the law, noting in the process that it’s not necessarily easy to trust foreign reports on American politics. Well one person who seems to have believed the report is Ya’acov Katz, leader of the extreme right-wing National Union party in Israel, and he had some, um, words for Rahm:

National Union chairman Ya’acov “Ketzele” Katz sent a letter to White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel last week admonishing him not to forget his Jewish and Israeli origins.

 Katz’s missive came in response to a reported verbal exchange between Emanuel and an unidentified American Jewish leader.

Katz claims that in a private meeting with the unnamed leader, Emanuel said, “In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us who is the prime minister.”

In the letter, a Hebrew version of which was provided to The Jerusalem Post by Katz’s parliamentary aide, Katz wrote: “For many Israelis, this report is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US, and all the more so from an Israeli Jew who has succeeded in being appointed White House chief-of-staff.”

Katz went on to compare Emanuel to the biblical Esther, who ended up at using her influence with Persian King Ahashverosh to intervene on behalf of the Jews of the Persian Empire.

Now, this should probably be taken with a grain of salt. National Union as an extremely right-wing party, so much so that Netanyahu and Likud went out of their way to keep them out of the governing coalition. Still, they’re not that far away from Likud’s basic ideological precepts, so it’s telling to note that the Israeli right-wing regards the responsibility of Jewish public officials in other countries, or at least the United States, to be protecting the interests of Israel, as opposed to those of the country they’re an official in.