Ever since fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama joined the presidential campaign, I was curious about how Rahm Emanuel would react. Rahm, one of the closest FOBs and FOHs in the House, is the preeminent DLCer. His normal energy level, much closer to a fully overdosed, hyperactive, speed addict than what constitutes normal human behavior for most of us, has been AWOL for months. Not only is Rahm the biggest triangulator in the Party, he is also the smash-mouth, in your face, no holds barred, self-appointed enforcer against other Democrats, something he has more in common with DeLay and other GOPers, than with his fellow democrats.
Currently, Rahm leads the campaign AGAINST impeachment, threatening those who agree with Kucinich and Conyers with loss of money or power or even worse, loss of AIPAC support AND an unexpected primary fight.
Funny, his battles against GOPers never seem to make the news.
Despite his energy level, his many connections, and what he claims as personal and professional successes, Rahm is not exactly a beloved figure inside the Bloatway.
When Howard Dean was named DNC chair, (against the wishes of the DLC in general, and Rahm in particular) Rahm began a whispering anti-Dean campaign, trying to dog Dr. Dean into following Rahm down the DLC pathway to hell heck. When Dean refused to obey Rahm, Rahm turned his whispering campaign into something meaner and even more underhanded.
The final straw was when Dr. Dean announced his 50 state strategy. Rahm, and his merry band of DLCers, objected in public. How DARE Dean not concentrate on a few select states, where a few select DLC supporting candidates, hand picked by Rahm, would run in states Rahm thought he could win? Dean was called an idiot, incompetent, crazy, and worse. That entire anti-Dean movement was Rahm personified.
“Treason! Independence! Unmitigated Disaster!” Or so claimed Rahm. Rahm actually orchestrated (with the nod of approval from Hillary and Bill Clinton) the campaign to fire Dean before the 2006 vote. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed.
Poor Dr. Dean. His 50 state approach was such a disaster, seeing how, as a result of his genius and hard work, both the House and the Senate went from red to blue.
In what can only be a perfect example of Chutzpah, Rahm’s answer was to grab credit for the Dean plan, and to ignore every administrative, funding, staffing and debt reduction, training and outreach success that Dean created. He made the rounds on Sunday talk shows, cable news and even wrote articles, taking credit for the Democrats’ success in November, and frankly, I do not believe that Howard Dean’s name passed his lips even once. A simple-minded, lazy, quiescent and uninformed MSM swallowed his post election PR campaign whole. What Dean did in the background, Rahm claimed credit for in the splashiest manner possible.
Which brings us to the present. On one hand, there is Hillary Clinton and Bill, probably Rahm’s closest friends and supporters. (and vice versa)
On the other hand, fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama (who Rahm thinks of as an usurper and upstart). If Hillary were to win, Rahm would be looking for a cabinet position, or even a prime ambassadorship. If Obama wins, all of the strings, pulleys, levers, threats, blackmail, attacks, pressure and power that Rahm has collected both during his stint as a White House staffer, and as a congressman, would suddenly become tarnished, weakened and maybe even disappear.
Rahm is no dummy He sees the writing on the wall. He sees how Hillary’s campaign is collapsing under poor Penn-manship. He sees how each time Bill opens his mouth, he confuses and pisses his former supporters off, and worse, turns potential Hill supporters away. And he sees how the crowds for Barack keep growing.
For Rahm, these trends are nothing short of a disaster. With Hill, he’d be golden for life. With Barack, he’d be little more than one of 435. And for a supersized ego like Rahm’s, that would be one bitter pill indeed.
Carol Marin, columnist for the Chicago Tribune has a nice article on Rahm today:
“A tough time for Emanuel to sit on the sidelines”