Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rahm Emanuel Apparently is a Dick...but Maybe That's Good...?

MSNBC is reporting that Rahm Emanuel has accepted the position of White House Chief of Staff, and will be sworn in with Obama in January.

From what I can gather, this means that Obama is going to be a mean ol' sonofagun once he gets into the White House. This bi-partisan talk might just be nice window dressing, which would be positive development. Emanuel has championed some shit policies, but if he's the vicious brawler that people are saying, we might see some progressive issues take shape.

Here's how some of the blogosphere is reacting.

Jane Hamsher, writing in The Nation (which is awesome today):
[Emanuel's appointment] will be an instant sign that all the bipartisan talk is just that--talk--and signal that Obama intends to work solely within the Democratic caucus to achieve his objectives. The Republicans would be welcome to tag along if they like...but Rahm doesn't do "bipartisan"--which I've always sort of liked about him.

John Nichols, also in The Nation:
Emanuel's strengths have been well-documented: He knows his way around Washington, on the executive and legislative ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. He is a savvy political player, with a reputation for getting things done and for defending his boss against all comers.

Unfortunately, Emanuel is a militant advocate for free-trade policies; he was a point man in the White House in the fight to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement and similar deals that have been passionately opposed by the very labor, environmental and farm groups that were essential players in electing Obama.

Alex Pareene, writing in Gawker:
The Emanuel selection demonstrates that unlike Clinton in 1992, Obama is not fucking around.

The Chief of Staff runs the White House internally, and this is a signal that Obama's transition will not be beset with the public infighting and embarrassing selections of the Clinton takeover. Emanuel is perfect for the role, because it's not a particularly public one, and Emanuel is a dirty-mouthed vicious partisan.

And Alex Koppelman, in Salon:
Emanuel brings quite a reputation with him. Known as "Rahmbo," the former Clinton administration official is legendary for being a no-holds-barred political operative. In a 2005 article for Rolling Stone, Joshua Green related this famous tale:

The night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you."

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