Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I learn via ql at Eschaton that Cenk Uygur thinks Rahm Emanuel is on his way out and is using the press to signal that fact:

.. Dana Milbank transcribed an article written by Rahm Emanuel yesterday in The Washington Post. Never has an article been more clearly written to support a political benefactor.

... My second thought was, "Wow, what a hatchet job on Jarrett, Gibbs and Axelrod!" Since Rahm is obviously feeding this to Milbank, that is very revealing. You don't throw these kinds of bombs unless you've already lost. This is an act of desperation. It's bound to make mortal enemies of these people inside Obama's inner circle. You can't really work with these people anymore. That means you're already finished there.

This is basically Rahm saying on his way out, I was right all along and these guys were wrong....

Well, maybe. I criticize Emanuel's biggest antagonist, Jane Hamsher, but I'm no Emanuel fan either. I just think he's incompetent as a legislation manager. And what strikes me about the Milbank article is that even if Emanuel did spoon-feed the story, it doesn't necessarily make him look good:

The president would have been better off heeding Emanuel's counsel. For example, Emanuel bitterly opposed former White House counsel Greg Craig's effort to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year, arguing that it wasn't politically feasible. Obama overruled Emanuel, the deadline wasn't met, and Republicans pounced on the president and the Democrats for trying to bring terrorists to U.S. prisons. Likewise, Emanuel fought fiercely against Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to send Khalid Sheik Mohammed to New York for a trial. Emanuel lost, and the result was another political fiasco.

Obama's greatest mistake was failing to listen to Emanuel on health care. Early on, Emanuel argued for a smaller bill with popular items, such as expanding health coverage for children and young adults, that could win some Republican support. He opposed the public option as a needless distraction.

You know what this says to me? It says that maybe Emanuel just doesn't do his job very well when he has to help execute a plan he doesn't agree with. And, y'know, he works for the president of the United States. Havin to do it the boss's way, and no backtalk, kinda goes with the job description.

Zandar has a couple of other theories:

I think it's Rahmbo trying to look like the bad guy here in order to take the heat off Obama among the Dems so that his boss can get health care reform done.

(Though I don't know why he would think that would help.)

There's also the theory that this is Rahm serving very public notice to the rest of the West Wing that he's not leaving.... He may be looking to see if anyone's got the stones to check his raise, especially after the recent article earlier this month on Obama's inner circle leading him astray.

It almost seems like a dominance challenge to the president and the fellow staffers who are criticized in the article -- and I don't know if Obama and the rest of his team really do have the cojones to punish him for that. They make think they need him too much right now (despite the fact that he hasn't exactly done such a bang-up job so far). I don't think he's afraid of anyone at this point.

No comments: