Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's POTENTIAL Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel

[This post has been edited to add links to two books about Rahm Emanuel from If you want to know what to expect from this guy (and the article below isn't information enough for ya), check out these books.]

This is what Rush Limbaugh had to say about Rahm Emanuel (and can someone riddle me this. If this guy had done the steak knife thing, and had been anything other than a politician, would he or would he have not gone to jail or at the very least had a psych evaluation?)

Also, this notion of governing from the center? His first appointment, his chief of staff is Rahm Emanuel. Do we know if Emanuel has accepted? Rahm Emanuel wants to be Speaker of the House. Let me tell you a little bit about Rahm Emanuel. Hillary Clinton hates him. In the White House, Rahm Emanuel pushed NAFTA and made that go first instead of her health care baby, and her health care baby suffered. There's no love lost between Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton, and he is good a old-fashioned Chicago thug just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug. On the night of the Clinton election, Rahm Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign; Rahm Emanuel grabbed a steak knife and he began rattling off a list of betrayers.

As he listed their names, he shouted, "Dead! Dead! Dead!" and he plunged the steak knife into the table after every name.

And from the New York Times:

After President-elect Barack Obama ran a nearly flawless 21-month campaign, Democrats are second-guessing one of his first and most important postelection decisions: Why is he asking Representative Rahm Emanuel — "Rahmbo," one of the capital’s most in-your-face partisan actors — to be his chief of staff?

A second question has the political networks abuzz: Why would Mr. Emanuel, now on a ladder potentially to be speaker of the House someday, take the job?

For both men, who are close friends from Chicago, the answers capture their separate calculations as to how best to seize the historic moment. In the decisive election of the nation’s first African-American president, they see a mandate to push through actual change — as opposed to campaign slogans — in the nation’s domestic and foreign policies.

Interestingly, Emanuel is an investment banker who made millions of dollars, and is one of those who helped "negotiate" the mortgage lender bailout of a few weeks ago. (You know, the one the Democrats caused by refusing to add oversight to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and then managed to successfully blame the Bush administration for?)

Mr. Emanuel, who turns 49 this month, knows the White House, having been a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. In a brief career as an investment banker after that, he made millions and became familiar with Wall Street; in the House, he helped negotiate the government bailout of the financial system that the next president inherits.

How could he have made millions of dollars in a "brief career" as an investment banker, unless he was getting some help from some influential people, eh?


But there's the matter of his temperament — or, as Mr. Emanuel says, "I swear a lot." He also yells a lot, and in his sentences his favorite expletive can serve as subject, verb or adjective when he is facing down either recalcitrant Democrats or Republican opponents. As the House Democrats' campaign chairman for 2006, he swore at Hispanic and African-American House members, nearly all of whom had safe seats, to contribute more of their personal campaign finances to the party effort. Speaker Nancy Pelosi intervened to smooth things over.

To many Democrats, including some who are close to both men, Mr. Obama's choice of Mr. Emanuel to run the White House seems at odds with the atmosphere Mr. Obama enforced at his Chicago campaign headquarters. The motto there was "No drama with Obama," in contrast with the backbiting and shakeups in rivals' campaigns.


House Republicans are said to hate Mr. Emanuel for his partisanship, and on Wednesday, the former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough said on his cable television show that Mr. Obama’s enlistment of Mr. Emanuel amounted to "politics as usual" when the president-elect had promised conciliation.

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