Posts Tagged ‘Rahm Emmanuel’

Rahm Brushing Back Bibi?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

That would certainly seem to be the case, according to the largest daily newspaper in Israel:

Yedioth Achronoth, the largest circulation daily in Israel, reports today that President Obama intends to see the two-state solution signed, sealed and delivered during his first term.

Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; “In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister.”

He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place.”Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory,” the paper reports Emanuel as saying.  In other words, US sympathy for Israel’s position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel’s willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

It’s certainly the case that reports about American politics and foreign policy in foreign newspapers tend to be much less accurate than those in American papers, but the journalist who broke this is one of the most respected in all of Israel, and it certainly fits the character that is Rahm.

That said, if this is true, it’s a very big deal for US-Israel relations, and for the Israeli-Palestinian situation. For sure, it’s the toughest line the US has taken with Israel since committing itself to a two-state solution, and the first time in at least 2 decades the United States has seriously threatened to leverage Israel. The diplomatic context here is a little convoluted, but undeniably stark. In forming his new coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu had desperately wanted to bring Kadima into the fold, and keep Kadima leader Tzipi Livni as Foreign Minister. But Livni’s stated price for taking a junior role to Likud was too much for Bibi, and he was instead forced to give the position to the rabidly anti-Arab Avigdor Lieberman, a looming diplomatic disaster for both Bibi and Israel. What concession did Livni demand of Likud? A committment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. In other words, Bibi was more willing to make a man who had previously advocated the bombing of Egypt’s Aswan Dam Foreign Minister than express a committment to a Palestinian state. By declaring that the US is committed to a two-state solution no matter who is prime minister, Emannuel is essentially stating that the US does not care what the Israeli government’s opinion on the question is. And in tying relations with Iran to Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Rham is articulating the most overt opposition to increased Israeli settlements since we stopped calling them illegal in diplomatic language. Again, if this is true, it’s a very big deal diplomatically.

It’s also important that it’s Rahm out front in delivering the message. Given that he is devoutly Jewish, and has actually served in the IDF, it will be hard to level accusations of insufficient affinity for Israel on the part of administration if they go through with this.

More Rahm

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

by Brien Jackson

I should say I’ve never been much of a Rahm fan, mostly, I think, because he’s very similar to me politically, and people like me tend to not like other people like me. All the same, he makes for a good profile, and Ryan Lizza’s profile for The New Yorker is no exception. Read it.

All Your Healthcare Are Belong to Rahm

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

I’m not sure why Ezra isn’t more explicit about the connection between these two posts, but let me state the obvious implications; with Tom Daschle out of the mix, and John Podesta apparently not coming in, Rahm Emmanuel is now the point man for health reform. And that’s a very good thing indeed.

Consider Rahm’s positioning; as a former member of House leadership and chair of the DCCC, no one in the administration has more extensive relationships in the House, save for maybe the Director of Legislative AffairsPhil Scillrio who reports to…Rahm Emmanuel. His Deputy Chief of Staff is the former chief of staff to Max Baucus, who chairs the relevant committee in the Senate, and has becoming a major player in the health reform game. His brother is the main healthcare deputy to Peter Orszag. In other words, Rahm’s office has more or less consolidated the administration’s healthcare turf, and that’s probably a good thing. Given the inherent power of the Chief of Staff’s office, as well as Rahm’s looming presence in the White House, it’s hard to envision anyone trying to mount some sort of internal turf war over the issue, and will likely foster a unified, coherent, administration position on healthcare.

Given all of this, the administration, as well as progressives at large, can focus on the wonkery of the policy, and less about the politics of it.

Rahm calls Obama “Presumtpive Nominee”

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Although he temered it later through a spokesperson, I think the sentiment  still holds, and sends a pretty clear statement of the conventional wisdom inside the party.

One of the most influential (and thus far subdued) voices in the Democratic primary all but declared the contest over on Friday morning.

“At this point, Barack is the presumptive nominee,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel during the New Yorker’s magazine conference. “Hillary can’t win but something could happen that Barack could lose the nomination.”

Emanuel wouldn’t go so far as to say that Clinton should drop out. “Next question!” he declared when asked. But his voice does carry political sway. The congressman has been staunchly non-committal throughout the primary process. And his ties to the Clinton administration and connections to fellow Chicago pol Obama make him one of the key figures who could help facilitate an end to the nomination battle.

Between chairing the DCCC in 2006 and having this year’s high profile primary come down to Obama and Clinton, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has increased their political stock much more than Rahm has in the last 2 years.