Jane Hamsher on today’s WSJ profile of Rahm Emanuel:
Most amusing to me was the fact that [Peter Wallsten] finally got the goods about Rahm’s famous Veal Pen tirade, when Rahm showed up at the Common Purpose meeting and lambasted the liberal interest groups because MoveOn was running radio ads against Blue Dogs. Previously it had been reported that Rahm called them “f*#king stupid,” even though the scuttlebut was that Rahm said they were “f*#king retards.” It’s a tight-lipped crowd to penetrate, and nobody wants to get zapped from the meetings for talking to the press. But Wallsten managed to get the story:
The friction was laid bare in August when Mr. Emanuel showed up at a weekly strategy session featuring liberal groups and White House aides. Some attendees said they were planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama’s health-care overhaul.
“F—ing retarded,” Mr. Emanuel scolded the group, according to several participants. He warned them not to alienate lawmakers whose votes would be needed on health care and other top legislative items.
Jane goes on to retell Rahm’s self-mythologizing knife story, about his Blutarsky-like reciting of his enemies’ names and then shouting “dead” while stabbing a table with a steak knife, just after Clinton was elected president. Jane rightly refuses to accept the purported point of the tale, that it shows how tough a guy Rahm is.
That’s not “tough.”
“Tough” is knowing you’re going to take massive shit for standing up to powerful interests and then doing it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do — that’s what Obama told people he would do when he was running for President.
You’re not a tough guy if your first thought upon assuming the power of the Presidency is to use it to punish your enemies. You’re a cowardly, petty, small-minded thug.
You know, I agree with every word. BUT Rahm is not the President. I would welcome seeing the backside of the little shite, or even better, his backside in an orange jumpsuit, and I am all for Jane’s push to (re-)appoint an Inspector General to look into Rahm’s shenanigans while he was at Freddie Mac. But at the moment, with Obama under all sorts of pressure, you could make the case that Rahm is doing his job, and serving as a lightning rod for his boss. With whom all responsibility ultimately lies.