I am not going to defend Rahm Emanuel. He’s never been more than a corrupt, self-interested, low-life would-be hard guy who’s not even really that hard. His role model, that pudgy lump o’ Rove, is the real deal, a completely psychotic fire-breather who would do anything for his party. Rahm has convinced many that he puts the party’s fortunes above everything. Leaving aside the larger question of whether that’s a good thing, lately even those who think he’s a necessary evil have had to reappraise a. his commitment to his party, and/or b. his competence.
Firedoglake blogger TBogg:
So all I really wanted for Christmas was a Karl Rove of our own who would make all of our Obama wishes come true, even if he had to kick Evan Bayh’s mushy skull in to accomplish them. Someone who, I had hoped, would make Joe Lieberman’s life something akin to a hemorrhoidectomy gone horribly terribly wrong.
The White House wants Reid to hand Joe Lieberman the farm.
An aide briefed on discussions with the White House says that there would be no story if Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel hadn’t interceded. The aide confirmed an account, reported by Huffington Post, that Emanuel visited Reid personally, telling him to cut a deal with Lieberman.
Then the aide provided more detail.
Emanuel didn’t just leave it to Reid to find a solution. Emanuel specifically suggested Reid give Lieberman the concessions he seeks on issues like the Medicare buy-in and triggers.
“It was all about ‘do what you’ve got to do to get it done. Drop whatever you’ve got to drop to get it done,” the aide said. All of Emanuel’s prescriptions, the source said, were aimed at appeasing Lieberman–not twisting his arm.
If Rahm Emmanuel is all he was supposed to be, we can safely assume that the Obama White House either never gave a shit about health care reform, or they managed health care reform so horrifically and incompetently that they are now willing to settle for a “win”, no matter how meager.
For more of the same, see “Rahm’s making the White House look terrible,” especially the impassioned comments section. So many former true believers think this is the last straw, but so many are still acting like Rahm’s a maverick operative acting against the wishes of his benign boss, who really does have the best interests of the country at heart.
I don’t know what it will take to convince the Obamamaniacs.
Update. Well, as Jane Hamsher points out, at least Russ Feingold isn’t afraid to finger the Prez:
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), among the most vocal supporters of the public option, said it would be unfair to blame Lieberman for its apparent demise. Feingold said that responsibility ultimately rests with President Barack Obama and he could have insisted on a higher standard for the legislation.
“This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth,” said Feingold.
Update 2 Glenn Greenwald says everything I’ve just said, and says it better.
In essence, this reinforces all of the worst dynamics of Washington. The insurance industry gets the biggest bonanza imaginable in the form of tens of millions of coerced new customers without any competition or other price controls. Progressive opinion-makers, as always, signaled that they can and should be ignored …. Most of this was negotiated and effectuated in complete secrecy, in the sleazy sewers populated by lobbyists, industry insiders, and their wholly-owned pawns in the Congress. And highly unpopular, industry-serving legislation is passed off as “centrist,” the noblest Beltway value.
And, in an update, he comes up with this classic dissection of Obama/Emanuel excuse-making:
It’s also worth noting how completely antithetical claims are advanced to defend and excuse Obama. We’ve long heard — from the most blindly loyal cheerleaders and from Emanuel himself — that progressives should place their trust in the Obama White House to get this done the right way, that he’s playing 11-dimensional chess when everyone else is playing checkers, that Obama is the Long Game Master who will always win. Then, when a bad bill is produced, the exact opposite claim is hauled out: it’s not his fault because he’s totally powerless, has nothing to do with this, and couldn’t possibly have altered the outcome. From his defenders, he’s instantaneously transformed from 11-dimensional chess Master to impotent, victimized bystander.