Posts Tagged 'Rahm Emanuel'

The legend of Rahm

Was Rahm Emanuel the reason the Democrats took back the House in the 2006 election? A Chicago reporter makes the case.

Edward McClelland | | May. 08, 2007

Election Night 2002 was a gloomy watch for Democrats. Their party, led by a pair of innocuous Midwestern Main Streeters, Richard Gephardt and Thomas Daschle, lost control of the Senate and lost seats in the House, sinking to its lowest ebb since the Roaring ’20s. Smug right-wing pundits predicted the Democrats were on their way to joining the Whigs in the ashcan of American political parties.

It was a different story in Illinois. The Democrats won everything. They took the governorship for the first time in 30 years. They captured the state Senate. This despite running a ticket made up of ward bosses’ children and in-laws. I remember sitting on my couch in Chicago and thinking, “If the Democrats want to turn it around, they need to take some lessons from the machine around here. Chicago Democrats have no scruples. They treat political offices as feudal inheritances. They shake down contributors like a corrupt pope selling indulgences. They’re sleazy, they’re arrogant … and they WIN.”

That night, on the northwest side, Rahm Emanuel was elected to Congress. A former Clinton whiz kid who’d gotten his start as a fundraiser for Mayor Richard M. Daley, Emanuel was connected — in the three years after leaving the White House (where he’d helped push through NAFTA), he earned $16 million putting together Wall Street mergers. He was also zealously partisan. He had once owned a consulting business devoted to finding skeletons in Republican closets. At a Clinton victory dinner in Little Rock in 1992, Emanuel celebrated by reciting a hoped-for necrology of Democrats who had “fucked” the president-elect. After every name, he stabbed a steak knife into a table and screamed, “Dead man!” Continue reading ‘The legend of Rahm’

The Plan: Big Ideas for America

Rahm Emanuel & Bruce Reed


Everywhere we go in America, people are desperate to know what Democrats stand for, and whether we have a plan to turn the country around. We wrote The Plan because it’s time we gave Americans an answer.

One reason politics is so lost these days is that from the economy to national security to the culture, the old maps don’t work anymore. Across the political spectrum, and especially among Democrats and Independents, the hunger for new ideas and clear purpose is overwhelming. Yet the more profound the challenges become, the shallower the political system’s response seems to be. We looked around at all the lost souls here in the nation’s capital, and wondered, what’s our excuse?

The Plan is meant to be a revolutionary little book, based on a simple, radical theory: The best way for either party to solve its political problems is to spell out how it actually plans to solve the country’s problems. That’s what we’ve tried to do, with an innovative agenda that is ambitious enough to spell out a new social contract for America, but clear enough that it can be counted off on one hand.

We’ve tried to offer a serious agenda and philosophy for how to run the country, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to write either a dull policy tome or a partisan pamphlet. It doesn’t do much good to offer big ideas for America if people can’t understand or stay awake to read them.

We couldn’t resist poking fun at our profession and some of the nonsense that goes on here, on both sides of the aisle. And there was no point in writing a predictable book aimed only at Democrats. In order to make progress and solve problems, we had to write an honest one.

No matter your political leanings – Democrat, Republican, Independent, or none of the above – we hope our ideas will inspire you to think about the great challenges ahead. Whether or not you agree with the specifics of our plan, we urge you to hold us all to the spirit behind it: There is nothing wrong with America – or either party – that can’t be set right by finding the courage, the ideas, and the energy to solve our country’s problems.

Rahm Emanuel & Bruce Reed

Click on link right to read excerpt Continue reading ‘The Plan: Big Ideas for America’

Obama’s Wall Street Appointees: The Battles to Come

Steve | Global Research | November 6, 2008

The political battles to come – which will have an enormous impact on our lives and the lives of people around the world – will not be easy. Having a president in the White House who is demonstrably intelligent and reasonable could be a good thing.

But let’s not pretend that, because Barack Obama has been elected, our battles are won.

For instance: today, flush with the glow of yesterday’s victory, Obama announced that he’s chosen Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff. This is the same man who, as the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, fought tooth and nail to exclude, marginalize, and demonize anti-war Democrats in the 2006 primary races. He withdrew national Democratic support from a progressive Congressional candidate and recruited opponents to defeat her in the primary. Emanuel has, time and time again, shown himself to be firmly allied with the “centrist” (read: “Republican”) wing of the Democratic party, personified by the Democratic Leadership Council. (See this Truthout special for more on Emanuel’s role in recruiting conservatives in the 2006 campaign.) Continue reading ‘Obama’s Wall Street Appointees: The Battles to Come’

Rahm Emanuel: A Tough Taskmaster for Obama

By James Carney / Washington | TIME Magazine | Friday, Nov. 07, 2008

Throughout the presidential campaign, Republicans took delight in portraying Barack Obama as all talk and no action. But his naming of Illinois congressman Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff shows that the Democratic President-Elect has no intention of letting that charge stick.

Obama may speak beautifully and inspirationally about hope and change, about bipartisan cooperation and a better America. But he clearly understands that you just can’t sit around talking about all the good things you want to do when you get to the White House and then expect them to happen all by themselves. Which means you can’t hire a staff that’s going to gather at work every day, hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

Instead, you bring in a guy like Emanuel, the most hard-headed, no-nonsense, foul-mouthed, smart-as-hell, get-it-done-or-get-out-of-my-way Washington insider of his generation. And you put him in charge of a White House staff whose task it is — and this is putting it conservatively — to conceive, propose, promote and somehow push through Congress the most ambitious agenda any President has carried forth at least since Ronald Reagan rode into town with a lopsided grin in January 1981. “Rahm does not sing Kumbaya,” laughs an old friend and colleague. “He barks orders.” His hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, calls Emanuel “a brutally effective taskmaster.” Continue reading ‘Rahm Emanuel: A Tough Taskmaster for Obama’

Emanuel to Serve As Obama’s Chief of Staff

Life imitates West Wing for Obama’s attack dog Rahm Emanuel

Hannah Strange | Times Online | November 7, 2008

When Sarah Palin vowed that there would soon be a pitbull in the White House, some on the Obama campaign might have allowed themselves a knowing chuckle.

Several weeks of ferocious campaigning later, one is indeed on its way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He certainly doesn’t wear lipstick – but has been known to sport a leotard.

Described by those who know him as variously an attack dog, warrior, political gangster – the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Barack Obama’s chief of staff has sent a shiver of unease through Republicans hoping for a new spirit of conciliation under the newly-elected president.

Others say the take-no-prisoners partisan nicknamed Rahmbo is a perfect fit for the almost preternaturally serene Mr Obama, who will need political strongmen around him if he is to push through the radical changes he seeks. Continue reading ‘Life imitates West Wing for Obama’s attack dog Rahm Emanuel’

Emanuel’s Ex-Boss: Rahm Is The Perfect SOB For The Job

Sam Stein | Huffington Post | November 7, 2008

Rahm Emanuel’s boss in the Clinton White House praised his selection as Barack Obama’s chief of staff, saying the congressman was enough of a son-of-a-bitch to get things done, keep the White House disciplined, and make tough decisions.

“He was just very well organized,” said Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff and Emanuel’s ex-boss. “He knows the White House inside and out and now, obviously knows Capitol Hill. So he has all the qualities you basically need to be a great chief of staff. Part of the job description is you have to be an SOB to be a chief of staff, you have to have somebody who makes the tough decisions… There are decisions the president ought not to make that the chief of staff has to. My sense is Rahm will do that.”

Panetta, speaking at a forum at the Brookings Institute, dismissed the notion that Emanuel was too partisan a figure to forge political consensus on policy proposals. But his defense could have the counterproductive effect of stirring the concerns of progressive Democrats who have accused Emanuel of lacking ideal ideological firmness.

“Of course he is going to be partisan on Capitol Hill,” said Panetta. “Rahm Emanuel is basically a centrist. He is someone who really does understand where the party needs to be in dealing with the center. And to that extent I think he will be a very good chief of staff for the senator.”

Fellow speaker Ken Duberstein, who served as chief of staff for Ronald Reagan, echoed many of Panetta’s points. Arguing, again, that Emanuel had passed the SOB threshold, he added that the Congressman was “exceptionally well qualified for the job.”

“He will run a White House staff that is very disciplined,” said Duberstein, “but his challenge will be with the president’s outreach and building coalitions on the Hill, saying no to the president elect’s most important constituencies and keeping the White House on a schedule.”

Then, stepping a bit on GOP messaging against Emanuel, Duberstein offered the following testimonial: “As partisan as Rahm may have been on the Hill, he is all about governing. And remember, any time Rahm opens up his mouth, know the voice they will be hearing is the voice of the president elect, not Rahm.”

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