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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rahm Emmanuel: The Good and the Not so Good.....

Rahm Emmanuel has been in the news recently from what has sounded like he was protecting his own image at the expense of the President. Much of the left has seen him as the enemy inside the White House. It was reported that back in the fall he referred to progressives as "a bunch of (expletive deleted) retards." It was progressives who worked the hardest for Obama’s election. Yet, rather than a “transformational” President like Reagan, we have noticed bi-partisanship erode opportunities for progressive gains. This compromise seems more like the DLC than the real d/Democrat we trust Obama to be. Below is a New York Times Magazine article on Rahm. “Rahmanism…. By Peter Baker. While some of Rahm’s advice may seem to be too cautious, Baker is pretty convincing that he serves Obama well. Let's just hope the man who worked the Congress to get us NAFTA is working his magic for the success of a progressive agenda. RGN

The Limits of Rahmism: He was chosen as Whit House chief staff because he could make things happen. What happened?

by Peter Baker

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, is arguably the second most powerful man in the country and already one of the highest-profile chiefs of staff in recent memory. During the transition, he played a crucial role in the selection and courtship of nearly every cabinet member and key White House staff member.

Renowned as a fierce partisan, Mr. Emanuel, who had hopes of becoming House speaker, stepped into a job characterized by short tenures, high burnout rates and the need to subjugate personal ambitions to the service of the president. As a staff member in the Clinton White House, a three-term House member from Chicago and the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he was viewed by many as a consummate purveyor of a crass, kneecapping brand of politics.

Mr. Obama, who settled on his fellow Chicagoan to be his chief of staff well before he was elected, was drawn to Mr. Emanuel's experience in both the White House and Congress and called him ''the whole package'' of political acumen, policy chops and pragmatism. Mr. Emanuel was also a skilled compromiser. He initially resisted taking the job, but accepted after Mr. Obama insisted and assured him that the position would be the functional equivalent of ''a No. 2'' or ''right-hand man.''

In March 2010, after more than a year in the White House, Mr. Emanuel and his boss were facing a time of conflict and discontent. Mr. Obama and Mr. Emanuel, an unlikely tandem of inspirational leader and legislative mechanic that was supposed to enact the most expansive domestic program since the Great Society, have come nowhere close to accomplishing their goals.

After a Democratic debacle in January 2010 in Massachusetts — the loss to the Republicans of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, which cost Democrats their Senate supermajority — Washington has engaged in a favorite exercise, conducting the autopsy before the body is actually dead. How had it come to this? How did the president's legislative drive drag on for so long that the surprise loss of a Senate seat could unravel it? Did Mr. Obama make a mistake by disregarding his top adviser's counsel? Or was it Mr. Emanuel who failed to execute the president's strategy? Was it both, or perhaps neither?


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