The conventional wisdom that current “stenographic” efforts of the Washington Post are directed by Rahm Emanuel inspires my inner contrarian automatically, even as I remain a Rahm agnostic.
So in yet another week we get another Rahm tale in the Washington Post. But getting beyond the knee jerk hatred of everything Rahm, there is no reason to believe Mr. Obama wouldn’t lean towards listening to David Axelrod, who is the one who got him into the White House. People like Axe, Val, Gibby and Dave, all very loyal to what the President’s priorities were as a candidate also believing that staying true to his non-ideological roots is the way back to where Obama’s remarkable story began. Besides, as many have learned, team Obama doesn’t take criticism or suggestions from members outside the original choir, where Rahm began.
However, it is interesting that the quotes below from Graham on Emanuel come on the day after the new political “odd couple” story was written for Politico. Perhaps one reason Jim VandeHei said flatly today on “Morning Joe” that he “would bet a lot of money” that Emanuel wasn’t part of the Post story today; the other reason being VandeHei is a former Washington Post man who’s got plenty of his own sources and likely wouldn’t “bet a lot of money” on tape if he wasn’t pretty sure.
It’s impossible not to acknowledge that the closing Gitmo drama, which likely got Greg Crag axed, is illustrative of the larger Democratic divide.
In December 2008, Obama, Emanuel and Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) met in Obama’s transition headquarters in Chicago to discuss detainee policy. According to Graham, Obama turned to him at one point and said, “I’m going to need your help closing Guantanamo Bay. . . . I want you and Rahm to start talking.” They did, and as the discussions progressed, Emanuel grew wary that closing the U.S. military prison in Cuba was possible without opening a slew of other politically sensitive national security problems. “This stuff is like flypaper,” Graham recalled Emanuel saying. “It will stick to you.”
In an ironic twist, Emanuel’s dissent is likely what stuck.
When you have Debbie Wasserman Schultz quoted directly, versus some anonymous Washington lip flapping tale, it should make anyone interested in Obama succeeding, which regardless of disagreements we should all agree is critically important, take notice.
Listening to Emanuel would serve “all our overall goals,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). “I think that Rahm’s considerable legislative experience translates into advice that the president should heed.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is as smart as they get.
But if you think I’m being obstinate on the whole Rahm is leaking issue, believing instead that there is real frustration with Pres. Obama and his closest campaign team who aren’t listening to anyone, which is the foundation of these Rahm articles. After all, there’s no better target than Rahm Emanuel, everyone’s favorite scapegoat and the easiest person to get fired. Maybe another reason the knives are out.
Ezra Klein does me one better. He’s pro Rahm and believes the problem is really Scott Brown, because if it weren’t for Brown’s victory in Massachusetts Dems would have actually passed health care weeks ago.
If not for Scott Brown’s unexpected victory in Massachusetts, it would have passed weeks ago. We’d be on our way to implementing a bill that would cover 30 million Americans, completely reform the insurance market, make a serious start on cost control, end the days when sick people couldn’t get health insurance, and create a new coverage infrastructure that could absorb the flood of refugees from the dying employer-based system. That deserves some weight in this discussion.
Whether health-care reform passes, what’s undeniably clear is that it could have passed.
This is a truly stunning assertion that comes with absolutely no proof whatsoever, though the use of the word “could” would also take us back to last July when Democrats could have passed health care then, too, if Obama would have led on the issue. Klein believing Obama’s whole problem is health care. While it’s symbolic of overall Democratic incompetence, the issue is larger.
If you put together Wasserman Schultz and Lindsay Graham’s comments you get a very wide telephone cord that has Rahm holding up the middle, with Pres. Obama standing on the outside getting creamed from all sides. Considering the general discontent with Mr. Obama from Democrats at this point it’s not a far stretch to say that Rahm may be the manipulative, backstabbing, Blue Dog loving, “f—ing retarded” attack dog that everyone loves to hate, but the fact remains that Obama is flailing.
If you stand back from the Rahm hysteria, what you see is a White House that doesn’t know how to govern. Just today we get yet another deadline date on health care. This time it’s Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs as opposed to Christmas trees, turkeys at Thanksgiving, August recess, spring to summer turned to Teddy’s death.
Perhaps Mr. Emanuel will end up being the fall guy for Obama’s first year failures, but there’s no evidence that firing him alone will solve the Democrats’ problems.