Rahmbo Unplugged or Compromiser In Chief?

Sunday's New York Times Magazine has an 8 page profile of Rahm Emanuel.

If Emanuel’s philosophy is to put points on the board, to take what you can get and then cut a deal, to make everything negotiable except success, then the White House is testing the limits of Rahmism.

....Emanuel occupies a unique niche in Obama’s White House. He makes up the rules of the game that others are supposed to follow, and he gets away with what others cannot. Emanuel seems to serve as a virtual prime minister, the most powerful chief of staff since James Baker managed the White House during Ronald Reagan’s first term.

The Times portrays him as a rattlesnake wired into every important decision:

At 50, he has the coiled energy of aides half his age, still as wiry thin as he was during his improbable days as a ballet dancer. He meets with Obama at the beginning of each day and again at the end, in between dipping his hands into virtually everything the White House does, from economic policy to national security. In any meeting with the president, he sits to Obama’s left and is typically called on at the end to summarize arguments and present his recommendations.

And here lies the rub:

Emanuel is far less concerned about the details of a bill than the ability to get it passed.

I wish these people would speak up louder:

Many Democrats, including quite a few in the White House, believe the real problem was not shutting out Republicans but trying too hard to work with them.

The article quotes Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake:

“A lot of people feel like opportunities were sacrificed to do something really good because Rahm’s instincts are to go and strike some sort of deal,” she told me. “That’s not what Obama ran on. That’s not what people want.”

What's in Rahm's future? The article says if the health care bill passes, he's likely to stay with Obama a long time. Even if it doesn't, it's unlikely he'd leave before the November elections. In the future, he'd like to run for Mayor of Chicago.

I'd like to see both him and his pal Lindsay Graham gone. We'd all be better off.

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    No comparison (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 09:38:57 PM EST
    Comparing Obama health care and Clinton health care is like comparing apples and oranges.

    Obama came into the WH with all the cards. He had a mythical 60 in the Senate, the House and most important, he had the backing of the American people.

    Republican governing was totally discredited. From Katrina to Iraq to the economy, the American public had rejected the Republican way.

    People wanted HCR. It was a major topic during the entire election cycle. McCain had campaigned on HCR with mandates and an excise tax. The American voter rejected it.

    The reason we don't have at least a P.O. in the current bill is due to Obama. He had the power and the public support to get it.

    The Buck Stops Where? (none / 0) (#1)
    by kidneystones on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 07:16:35 PM EST
    You'd think that the 'laser-like' focus on jobs and the one-year sucking sound might warrant in-depth analysis of what the real power-figure in the WH is doing. But no. The focus on Rahm is curious, not least because of his 'unusual' ethnic background, especially on the back of the Biden fiasco.

    Doubtless, the piece was prepared days ago. Still, it's important to remember that Rahm was placed as close as possible to the decision-making center, in part, to assuage Jewish voters very uncomfortable about Obama's commitment to Israel. I've absolutely no interest in discussing or debating any part of the I/P challenge at this point, other than to point out the obvious: things suck.

    It isn't difficult for me to imagine a November in which hcr has been passed and forgotten. Dem prospects look good. What I don't understand is why the Larry, Tim, and Ben are still employed.

    No matter how bad a job Rahm is or is not doing, he can't be messing up as badly as the Three Weasles.

    President Failure can't get the job done. That's the story, but it isn't one the NYT wants to go near.

    Why are you not hating on Kucinich (lucifer) ? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Salo on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 07:49:52 PM EST
    He's the most useless dem in the house according to Nate Silver
    (blessing be upon his name.)  Rahm (Amen) from the other end dragged this out for a year and a half, but Dennis (Ojoh) well he's just inflexible.

    I don't hate Kucinich (none / 0) (#23)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 01:15:02 AM EST
    I don't see what's qualitatively different between what Kucinich is doing now, and what Nader did in 2000- both were arguing from a perspective I agree with but with a perception of the situation not reflected in reality- Nader viewed running in 2000 as a chance to shift the debate left and has stated repeatededly that any loss by Gore was due to Gore not following him to the left, similarily Kucinich argues that if the Healthcare proposal shifted to the left he would back it and that by not doing so any loss on the healthcare bill is due to such a bill being too far right.

    Reading the C-in-C (none / 0) (#3)
    by Politalkix on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 08:41:10 PM EST
    Please read link"Liberals are wrong to call him weak and indecisive. He's just not always pursuing their aims. Conservatives are wrong to call him a big-government liberal. That's just not a fair reading of his agenda."
    "Obama has pushed this program with a tenacity unmatched in modern political history; with more tenacity than Bill Clinton pushed his health care plan or George W. Bush pushed Social Security reform"
    "Take education. Obama has taken on a Democratic constituency, the teachers' unions, with a courage not seen since George W. Bush took on the anti-immigration forces in his own party."
    "In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don't live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office."

    In the interest of disclosure (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Salo on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 08:51:17 PM EST
    I suggest you title your post like this:

    "I Love David Brooks! "

    He's not as smart as he he thinks he is and neither are you.


    Poor Salo! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Politalkix on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 08:59:31 PM EST
    His ignorance is vast (none / 0) (#6)
    by Salo on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 09:33:13 PM EST
    His mind even narrower.

    The Brooks-Obama "Bromance"? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 09:44:40 PM EST
    Rahmrack Obamuel? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Salo on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:27:08 PM EST
    Barvid Obamooks.  If Brooks had lived in 17th century France. He'd have been brown nosing Louis XVI in much the same way as he Brown nosed Bush. "oh the evidence of Dutch perfidy and those fanatical Orangies!"    

    Because of Course (none / 0) (#9)
    by kaleidescope on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 09:53:10 PM EST
    Rahm doesn't live in a cocoon. Just about anybody can walk up to him whenever they want and simply accost him and talk to him about whatever they want.  It's how he keeps in touch.

    Too easy on Clinton, too hard on Obama (none / 0) (#10)
    by Politalkix on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:03:37 PM EST
    that  is why I disagree with post #8 and #9. Anyways, the article posted says "David Brooks, prominent conservative, has become the most visible journalistic ally of arguably the most liberal president of his lifetime", it sort of undermines everything that a lot of TLers say about the current President.

    I don't think your comment makes any sense. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by observed on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:08:17 PM EST
    But then, neither does Brooks, most of the time.
    What does it matter whether Brooks says Obama is liberal or not? That value judgment has zero content.

    Funny (none / 0) (#12)
    by Politalkix on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:18:50 PM EST
    The "most liberal" quote is from Gabreal Sherman of TNR, not Brooks.

    That was Kerry... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Salo on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:22:11 PM EST
    ... Or Carter. Truman was in his own day too.

    When did Kerry become President? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Politalkix on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:30:24 PM EST
    Do you even read a post or its links before you type or is everything a knee jerk reaction for you?

    You don't get it do you? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Salo on Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 08:28:26 AM EST
    It just goes over your head.

    Waiting to hear (none / 0) (#20)
    by Politalkix on Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 12:07:29 PM EST
    I am still waiting to hear from you, Salo, when Kerry became President. Come on, don't back out now...

    That's funny.. TNR and Brooks, sitting (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 10:34:13 PM EST
    in a tree..
    Is TNR your idea of a liberal magazine?
    Why not just quote someone saying that Obama is our most Socialist President, while you're at it.

    Funnier (none / 0) (#17)
    by Politalkix on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 11:00:23 PM EST
    Imagining Sherman and Brooks sitting in a tree and observing the political pupation of observed in a cocoon! :-)

    So how old is Sherman, (none / 0) (#22)
    by cal1942 on Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 11:14:56 PM EST

    Arguably the "most liberal President... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 12:02:43 PM EST
    ... of his lifetime"?!?  

    Except the only ones actually arguing that are the neo-cons.


    I'd argue that it means Brooks (none / 0) (#24)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 01:16:49 AM EST
    was born in 1981- clearly Obama is more liberal than Reagan or either Bush, and arugably he's more liberal than Clinton, Carter's the first president with a strong case for being more liberal than Obama.

    Brooks was born ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 08:58:20 AM EST
    ... in 1961, not '81, but I guess it does sound more impressive to say "... arguably the most liberal President of his lifetime", as opposed to ...

    "arguably more liberal than Clinton and Reagan/Bush I/II".

    Funny stuff.


    More liberal than Clinton? (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 12:09:20 PM EST
    Good one.

    Why its entirely possible (none / 0) (#28)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 01:26:51 PM EST
    that a year from now Obama signed the repeal of DADT, expanded government healthcare for millions and pushed through stronger financial regulations (this is basically assuming he doesn't go farther left on these things and just goes with whats already on the table today). Obama's current accomplishments put him up with Clinton- I'm sorry but how exactly was a guy who signed DADT and DOMA, expanded the Death Penalty, is responsible for the executive order that authorized extraordinary rendition, pushed through massive financial deregulation, signed NAFTA and "reformed welfare" a liberal lion (now, I support some of these policies- like NAFTA, but to argue that they're progressive is a stretch) in a way that seperates him from Obama in anything but the time he was in office (and thus the time he had to implement such policies) is interesting to say the least. I will however correct one issue if Brooks was born in 1961, clearly Obama's not the most progressive president of his lifetime- LBJ was, LBJ's domestic record is far, far more progressive than any of the three Democrats who have followed him.

    "Liberal lion"??? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 04:37:18 PM EST
    Ohhhh, .... I see the problem.  See what you did there?  You substituted jbindc's original premise (mocking the idea that Obama was more liberal than Clinton) with your own i.e. Clinton is a "liberal lion".

    OTOH - I guess it does make it easier to shoot down an argument when you misstate it first, then follow it with several other false premises.



    1.  Maybe you weren't following politics in the early 90's, but DADT was a compromise that was forced on Clinton after he attempted a full repeal of the ban.  He made a repeal an early priority in his first term, despite heavy opposition from the DOD, Congress and the American public, and paid a heavy political price in doing so.  Obama has the support of the DOD, the Congress and a large majority of the public, and has sat on his hands despite of this, and despite his campaign promises ("That work (repealing DADT) should have started long ago. It will start when I take office."

    2.  Extraordinary rendition didn't start with Clinton or Executive Order PDD-39.  The major problem, however, with extraordinary rendition was the use of such laws to enable torture by proxy.  The Republicans tried to accuse the Clinton administration of doing this, a claim refuted by Eric Holder and Leon Panetta when they testified before Congress.

    3.  Clinton "pushed through massive financial deregulation"?  How, exactly?  If you're referring to GLB, he vetoed earlier attempts and threatened a veto of GLB, but GLB was passed by a veto-proof majority of 362-57 and 90-8.  So how exactly did he "push it through"?

    4.  It's quite easy to pick out a few acts by any President to suggest they're more or less "liberal" than another POTUS, but such a subjective judgment depends greatly upon the times and circumstances under which they are elected.  Unlike Clinton, Obama came into office with a majority of the popular vote, the highest approval ratings of any POTUS ever, a super-majority in the Senate, and a Republican party brand whose credibility was in the toilet after 8 years of the worst President ever.  Yet Obama has done virtually nothing, apart from breaking numerous campaign promises and hiding behind Congress on HCR.

    5.  LBJ should be congratulated for his advocacy for the Great Society programs and the CRA/VRA, but these programs were the products of their time and the culmination of many years of growing public demand.  Clinton didn't have these kinds of opportunities (particularly since these programs were already passed), and after 12 years of the country moving sharply to the right.

    Apples to oranges.

    No one ever said (1.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 04:44:52 PM EST
    Clinton was a "liberal lion" - but your analysis of Obama is on things he might do in the future and by that you are declaring him "liberal".  Oddly enough, you forgot to mention things like his refusal to take a picture with Gavin Newsome, because Mayor Newsome actually married gays, but Obama did find time to campaign with Donnie McClurkin and have Rick Warren give the invocation at the inauguration.  You also forgot to mention things like Obama also supports NAFTA, (even if he says he doesn't), he has not come out against Stupak, he argues time and again that abortion should be legal, but only so a woman can consult with her husband and her priest before making that decision, he bailed out bankers, instead of going to the people, he has continued the Bush policies with regard to state secrets, signing statements, and foreign policy,  he ignored single payer proponents, and oh, yes, that health bill you mention - it will be a great big boon to health insurance companies. He hasn't fought to push through Dawn Johansen at OLC, he hasn't really done anything with regards to DADT, didn't fight for Prop 8 in California, and is always more interested in what Olympia Snowe, Joe Lieberman, and John Boehner have to say than a Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich.

    Yup - Sure sounds like a progressive to me.  <snark>


    You Haven't (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by cal1942 on Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 11:12:35 PM EST
    got a clue.

    If the quote you offer matches your opinion then I have to say that you don't know what a liberal is.

    Our current occupant of the White House is, IMO, to the right of Dwight Eisenhower.


    But Obama's politics are (none / 0) (#25)
    by observed on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 07:31:11 AM EST
    similar to Eisenhower's, don't you think?
    I always thought Obama was more like an Eisenhower or Nixon Republican than a modern Democrat.

    The old saying (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 01:28:59 PM EST
    was that Clinton was the Best Republican President since Eisenhower, and yeah I'd say Obama's basically in the same mold (though I'm not sure its a bad thing- Eisenhower was a pretty good president, I mean it could be argued that he was our most succuessful post-WW2 president without much of difficulty).

    Was that "the old saying"? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 04:47:05 PM EST
    Of course it was, ...

    ... among certain members of the True Prog creative class.

    In reality, on the other hand, Clinton's  end-of -term approval among Democrats was 93%, among liberals 86%, and among African-Americans 90%.

    Strange, huh, .... considering that "old saying"?


    There was also the old saying (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 05:00:48 PM EST
    That Bill Clinton was the "First African American president" - that is, until of course, he was a racist.

    How Silly (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 05:17:46 PM EST
    Racism towards blacks et al, can be internalized by anyone, black or white.

    Hitler was half Jewish.


    More strawmen (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 05:29:08 PM EST
    It's nice you play to your strengths - even if only makes sense in your little world.

    Strawman? (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 05:32:41 PM EST
    Hardly. Bill Clinton could be the greatest champion of AA's and still engage in racist behavior.

    Most people, are not black or white.


    True, ... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 06:29:48 PM EST
    ... and anyone can make ridiculous accusations of "Racism!", just as they did with Clinton.

    Distinction (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 11:43:32 PM EST
    There is a big difference someone who is an avowed racist of bigot and someone who exhibits racist behavior, by saying something or doing something that is unintentionally racist.

    The latter happens more often than most of us would like to think.


    False distinction (none / 0) (#39)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 07:09:46 AM EST
    Never said there wasn't, hence my use of the word "Racism!", rather than "Racist!", although both were hurled at Clinton with equal abandon ...

    ... and both were equally ridiculous.

    The latter is also imagined more often than most of us would like to think.

    BTW - It almost seems like you're trying to make an accusation, yet can't quite form the words ...

    That happens a lot, too ...


    Really? (none / 0) (#40)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 07:31:44 PM EST
    How is it a false distinction? Do you believe racism is only perpetuated and supported by racists?  

    In a racist and sexist society (ours) it is nearly impossible for anyone to escape harboring racist ideas. Occasionally, for even the most enlightened ones among us, a racist or sexist comment escapes. The difference between the racists and sexists and those who unintentionally offend is the level of and quality of defensiveness that ensues when one is made aware of their faux pax.


    It's a false distinction in that: ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 08:25:39 PM EST
    ... neither occurred, in Clinton's case.  The accusations of racism made against him were as ridiculous as those made against Obama.

    BTW - "The difference between the racists and sexists and those who unintentionally offend is the level of and quality of defensiveness that ensues when one is made aware of their faux pax."

    Really?  So the more you deny it, the more likely it is that you're a racist or sexist, as opposed to being offended by the accusation.  I guess Obama's denial of sexism when he made his "faux pas" during the campaign ("Hold on there, Sweety", "You challenge the status quo and suddenly the claws come out,""I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she's feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal." is proof that he's a sexist?

    Good to know.

    BBTW - Now everyone harbors racist/sexist ideas and makes racist/sexist comments?

    Maybe you should just speak for yourself, for a change.

    Okay, "Sweety"?


    OK (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 01:23:32 AM EST
    Well you have made clear that you are in the tank for anything Clinton. I could care less about either of them, as both of them  a hairs breath away from the GOP these days. Although I do prefer having a Dem as POTUS. Hillary or Obama are interchangeable for me, so I could care less about Obama's poor choice of words, just as I could care less about Clintons.

    But hey, indulge yourself in the fantasy that the Clinton brand is better than the Obama brand.


    No, I haven't (none / 0) (#43)
    by Yman on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 07:26:05 AM EST
    I've made it clear that I have no tolerance for the True Prog delusionists and their tired CDS fantasies.

    But whatever floats your boat, I guess ...

    BTW - Interesting how it suddenly changed from "racist"/sexist comments to merely a "poor choice of words", huh?


    As I Said (none / 0) (#44)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 03:03:29 PM EST
    Your comments are a mirror version of those from an Obama devotee.

    Switch CDS to ODS or Clinton to Obama and your comments are interchangeable with your CDS brethren.


    Wow (none / 0) (#45)
    by Yman on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 06:01:46 PM EST
    I know you True Progs love your fairytales, but I'll just stick to my facts, ...

    ... and I would never call you my "bretheren".