Friday, November 07, 2008

Rahm Emanuel: pitbull (hold the lipstick)

David Seaton's News Links
With the appointment of Emanuel, Obama shows that he wants to run a very tight ship with a very clear chain of command: Emanuel is a pit bull (hold the lipstick).

There are many people who are very together, focused, tough and efficient that don't have a reputation for being mean. Obama has chosen someone who has the reputation for being mean.

The message that Obama sends with Emanuel's appointment is intimidation: be afraid, and if you are not afraid of me, be afraid of my creature.

When ruminating on this appointment a very strange name popped up on my screen: H.R. Haldeman, who formed with John Ehrlichman, what was known as Richard Nixon's "Berlin Wall". Wikipedia describes their role thusly:
He and Ehrlichman were called "The Berlin Wall" by other White House staffers in a play on their German-American backgrounds and shared penchant for keeping others away from Nixon and serving as his "gatekeepers". They became Nixon's most loyal and trusted aides during his presidency. Both were ruthless in protecting what they regarded as Nixon's best interests. Haldeman once said he was proud to be "Richard Nixon's son of a bitch", as he never shied away from firing staffers in person.
I guess Haldeman's name popped up in my mind because it seems obvious that Rahm Emanuel is taking on the role of "Obama's son of a bitch".

Of course, Obama needs someone tough, knowledgeable and efficient to run his White House. Emanuel is probably all of those things, but what he is most known for is for being is a prick.

Why does Obama feel he needs a prick for chief of staff?

A world class son of a bitch like Nixon's needing people like Haldeman and Ehrlichman around was seen as a portent of much of what brought him down.

But, before we get too deep into psychobabble, perhaps this is just Chicago's mayor Daley calling in an I.O.U. DS


bailey alexander said...

Engineers generally work off a kind of quadrant model that allows for a nice/asshole axis and a competent/incompetent axis. For example, Obama lives in the first quadrant, probably, nice/competent, Rham exists in the 2nd quadrant, competent asshole (probably couldn't find another obama, understandable.

Just be thankful he didn't choose nice/incompetent or asshole/incompetent, like Bush. Chose.

Anonymous said...

I had thought your Obama-skepticism a bit overdone. Silly me.

Rahm Emanuel's father speaks thusly: "In an interview with Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son's appointment would be good for Israel. "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel," he was quoted as saying. "Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
(via Phil Weiss)

12 hours of infatuation is better than none, I suppose, but I was rather hoping it would be more enduring than that.

Marcy said...

Damn it's gettin' crowded here under Mr. Obama's bus. Now we've gotta find room for all these Palestinians.

Stephanie said...

Obama was never going to do anything for the Palestinians anyway. Remember how he fell all over himself in front of AIPAC last summer. The best we can hope for is a revived and effective 'peace process' that has some connection with reality and both sides. It may not seem like much, but the last eight years have demonstrated what happens when there is no policy at all.

Republicans aren't crazy about the appointment, which is good enough for me, but it doesn't seem to occur to a lot of Democrats that the people Emanuel is being hired to bully will be mostly liberals, probably.

forensic ecomomist said...

No one should be surprised that Obama has a ruthless side. I think Emmanuel reflects part of Obama's character.

When he first ran for State Senate he won by getting his rivals' (yes, all of them) nominating petitions thrown out for "irregulaties". As his defeated rival, Alice Palmer, said

"Anyone who enters Chicago politics and can’t take the rough and tumble shouldn’t be there"