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Partisan, Playful and Profane, Obama Aide Tries to Hold It In (Rahm Emanuel)

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:56 PM
Original message
Partisan, Playful and Profane, Obama Aide Tries to Hold It In (Rahm Emanuel)
Partisan, Playful and Profane, Obama Aide Tries to Hold It In

Haraz N. Ghanbari/Associated Press

Rahm Emanuel is a center of attention, not always gracefully, as President Obamas chief of staff.


By MARK LEIBOVICH
Published: January 24, 2009


WASHINGTON Earlier this month, Barack Obama was meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers when Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, began nervously cracking a knuckle.

Mr. Obama then turned to complain to Mr. Emanuel about his noisy habit.

At which point, Mr. Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Mr. Obamas left ear and like an annoying little brother snapped off a few special cracks.

The episode, relayed by someone familiar with the incident, underscores some essential truths about Mr. Emanuel: He is brash, has a deep comfort level with his new boss, and has been ever-present at Mr. Obamas side of late, in meetings, on podiums and in numerous photographs.

There he was, standing at Mr. Obamas desk in one of the first Oval Office pictures; there he was again, playfully thumbing his nose at his former House colleagues during the inauguration; there he was, accompanying the president to a meeting with Congressional leaders on Friday.

Mr. Emanuel is arguably the second most powerful man in the country and, just a few days into his tenure, already one of the highest-profile chiefs of staff in recent memory. He starred in his own Mad magazine cartoon, won the Your New Obama Hottie contest on Gawker.com and has become something of a paparazzi icon around Washington.

more...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/us/politics/25emanuel...
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Cracking his knuckles in the President's ear!
Now see, that's funny! :rofl:
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Kind of juvenile, I thought. Like a kid brother exactly!
I'm very glad they have such a tight relationship, and entertain each other. ;)
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
23. "Kid brothers" do that
in order to challenge the authority of the older sibling. My younger sister has always been the same way towards me. Always trying to take me down.

I find it quite troubling.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-09 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
24. Obama is going to need a few laughs once in awhile
...and a Chief of Staff who isn't a yes-man.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. how comforting
:sarcasm:

:puke:
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. If he works hard and gets things done, I have o problem with him. nt
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. No kidding. Either the NYT is building him up so they can tear him down....
or he's got an agenda more suited to the departed NeoCons and is the MSM's new darling
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. believe me
Mr. DLC/Neocon ALWAYS has an agenda.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Well, I wasn't going to SAY it!!! I like it here. n/t
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
5. As much as I HATE knuckle cracking, I find it amusing that Rahm does so even in
Obama's presence. If I were Obama I'd tell him to knock it off (I HATE knuckle cracking and find it offensive). But I voted for Obama, he is my President, and I don't have to hear it. So it is fine with me.

A little bit of "double dog dare you" going on here, if you ask me...

:hi:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. It's hard to accept him as the 2nd most powerful man. Sorry, but it is.
These words were inexcusable, and digs since then were also.

Unpleasant part of the book about Rahm, The Thumpin

I consider myself a decent person, and we worked hard for Dean because he is ethical and honest and cared about the party.

This kind of stuff is hard to forgive, because it tells a view Rahm holds of the "little people".

Emanuel had witnessed this struggle in Illinois, too: it was the party regulars versus the goo-goos. Emanuel, the Daley protg, is a regular who believes money and a disciplined organization win elections. He seemed to see Dean as a goo-goo, a good-government reformer with a base of liberal idealists who are more educated and individualistic than your average Democratic machine foot soldier, but less reliable when you need someone to hand out palm cards on Election Day. The machine has been paving over goo-goos since the 19th century. As a beery alderman once put it, "Chicago ain't ready for reform."

When Emanuel and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York met with Dean to ask him to shift money to congressional races, Emanuel mocked the former Vermont governor as a political lightweight from a tiny, rural, homogenous state. "No disrespect, but some of us are arrogant enough, we come from Chicago, we think we know what it means to knock on a door," Bendavid quotes Emanuel as telling Dean. Emanuel "slammed his hand on the table," then continued his tirade: "Look, Chuck comes from Brooklyn. I come from Chicago. It ain't Burlington, Vermont. Now, we understand that Burlington knows a lot about grassroots politics and we know nothing. I know your field plan -- it doesn't exist. I've gone around the country with these races. I've seen your people. There's no plan, Howard."

According to Bendavid, Emanuel left the room vowing not to be seen with Dean if the Democrats lost on Election Day. When Dean eventually offered $20,000 a race, Emanuel told him to fuck off. (Not literally -- although it's plausible.) Eventually, Dean ponied up a $12 million nationwide get-out-the-vote drive.


Yet he was chosen the face of the party while the one he ridiculed is out the door.

Hard to accept, maybe unacceptable completely for me.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. for me as well
it is indicative of complete capitulation to the corporate/war lords.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. It was even an insult to Burlington and to the state of VT
And there was no reason for it.
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psychmommy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. i have been thinking on howard's situation, mad
i remember him saying he didn't want to be dnc leader w/a dem president. howard has a large grass roots contingent that love and respect him. he is getting media play because folks think there is a a schism. but, when we need a voice out there, when we need someone to stand up-i think he'll be there. independent of this administration but, still there for the net-roots. still able to get airplay and get our messages out there. i love my pres but, there will be many voices whispering in his ear, they won't always be our voices. i don't want howard under the administrations thumb, walking in lockstep even if it is wrong. i want him to remain out there fighting for us.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Oh, I agree. He's best out of the party right now. But he did not deserve contempt.
He never deserved the contempt from Rahm, Carville, and Begala, and who they spoke for.

It's a little much to accept Rahm right now.
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Cronopio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. "I come from Chicago."
There you have it. A macho Chicago complex - identifying with the myth of the tough-asses from the Land of Capone. That and this from Wikipedia:

"His father, Benjamin M. Emanuel, a Jerusalem-born pediatrician, was a member of the Zionist militant organization Irgun."

I think that's the issue between Rahm and Howard - they are both determined, but Rahm has a chip on his shoulder and is doing it for effect. Howard is quietly determined and doesn't back down easily. The Rahm type (and it is a type) hates that. They want to be calling the shots and will be belligerent against anyone who stands in their way. And they hold a grudge for life.

Between the two, it's the Howard type, the quietly and calmly determined type, the type that doesn't do the right thing for self aggrandizement who generally makes the shots for the team.

I so want and need Obama to succeed, but that doesn't negate the fact that Rahm is type of personality that overreaches, given enough time. My prognostication is that, if a scandal hits the Obama administration within the next two years, it will be either directly or indirectly related to Rahm's hubris. If it doesn't, it will be due to Obama keeping an iron leash on him, or replacing him with someone less volatile.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Very good points. Some paragraphs from GQ that tell it all.
http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_5251&p...

These few paragraphs just about tell it all.

As the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean is the one man who could provide the DCCC with a large influx of cash. So Carville followed Lapps advice and reached out to him through a donor pal who knows Dean. This shit has got to stop, Carville told the friend. We need to go see Dean. Hes got one thing we needborrowing power. Word came back the next day that Dean wouldnt meet with them. (Later, asked about the incident, a top aide to Dean tells me the chairman has no idea what Carville is taking about.)

The shit Carville was referring to was the long-running feud between Rahm and Dean, which boiled down to Rahms wanting Dean to give him more moneya lot moreand Deans refusing to do it. Normally, the chairman of the DNC is installed by party leaders, but after the Democrats 2004 debacle, there were no party leaders, and Dean won the chairmanship by winning over the anonymous state-party chairs and much neglected members of the DNC, the folks who actually vote on the matter. The state parties became his base of support, and Dean promised them two things: more money and more power.

It drove Rahm and Carville nuts. The thing that stuns me, Carville says, is that this is supposed to be a rigged dealchairman of the party! The congressional leadership, the fund-raisers, people like that are supposed to decide. You (the state-party chairs and DNC members) are supposed to get a call and are told who to vote for! Youre not supposed to really vote on this shit!

Dean kept his promise and began shoveling money to the state partieswhat he described as the fifty-state strategywithout regard to whether individual states had competitive races in 2006. The strategy enraged Rahm, and in May he and Senator Chuck Schumer, who ran the Senate campaigns, met with Dean at the DNC to try once again to squeeze cash out of him. The conversation descended into a bitter argument about how Dean was pissing away money, and Rahm, late for a vote in the House, reportedly stormed out of the room in a cloud of profanities.

Rahm had only one more option for pressuring Dean: start leaking to the press. A senior aide to Rahm says Rahm believed that if there were enough newspaper accounts filled with details about how Deans stinginess was going to cost Democrats the House, Dean would have to cave. But the stories came and went, and Dean held firm. What I think Rahm didnt recognize, Deans aide says, was thats exactly the wrong way to move Dean. In the end, Rahmor rather his staff, because at this point he refused to talk to Deanhad to go crawling back to the DNC chairman and accept Deans offer of $2.4 million. Even worse, Dean refused to give the money directly to Rahm. Governor Dean had concerns that Rahm was going to spend it all on TV, Deans aide says. Instead, it would be funneled through the state parties.


Saying the chairman should be decided behind closed doors. Leaking bad stuff to the press about Dean.

Way to go, guys. Really classy stuff.

Only problem is that they are still in good graces, Dean apparently is not.

Goes to show you being the good guy matters not at all.
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Cronopio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. "Goes to show you being the good guy matters not at all."
Even worse, being right and winning matters not at all in that game. Which is why trying to achieve good results in a political ego circus is heroic, but dicey and most often carries a heavy price for the good person.

Many players still don't realize that the level of the game has to be raised for the game to continue.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
12. My advice to the NYT is to just report the news.
If I want a soap opera, I'll turn on the TV.
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
13. Why is someone like Rahm such a favorite of someone like Obama?
It makes no sense. I cannot stand Emmanuel.
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Elidor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I'd imagine that he sees someone useful behind that carefully-cultivated Rahm persona
Someone driven and motivated and perhaps even slightly nuts, but someone who will work 19 hour days seven days a week for four years.

I also detest Rahm, and I hate the thought of him being anywhere near policy discussions - let him go out and kneecap some wealthy donors, I say. Play to his strengths. But he's not going away anytime soon.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Good cop, bad cop, old as the hills.
He is perfect as a foil for Obama.
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nolabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Ask Christopher Moore
who wrote "Lamb," about Jesus' best friend Biff who could do all the great things Jesus couldn't so was a valuable source of advice and relief. NO MESSIAH COMMENTARY HERE! More like a "can't blow your nose without creating an incident" commentary.
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nolabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. Obama once commented about Emanuel
"He was involved in an accident when he was a teenager that cut off the end of his little finger, rendering him essentially mute."
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-09 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
25. What would people think of a woman who acted like Rahm Emmanuel does?
Just wondering.

(bytheway I can't stand the dude)
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fadedrose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
26. Can't stand Rahm or Carville
Wish the President would fire Rahm before his position is filled in the house....thought James and Mary were moving to Arkansas.....

I am disappointed that Rahm is so disrespectful to the President, and I sure don't think it's funny.

If he has been displaying the same rudeness to the folks in Congress when he pitches the President's stimulus package, it's no wonder there's not only no partisanship, even the Dems are fighting among themselves. Elected officials aren't going to put up with this small man's bad manners. I smell Rahm in every dispute..
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