Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rahm-bo, Obama's Bulldog

Rahm Emanuel, Democratic Representative from north side of Chicago, will evidently be President Obama's Chief of Staff. (He hasn't actually accepted yet.) Frankly, I think I admire this guy — loves the arts, driven, confident, accomplished, and capable — but I don't think this Obama choice bodes well for a liberal, much less a progressive, administration. No surprise. Beyond the rhetoric, Obama shows little evidence of being a liberal, despite McCain efforts to label him such.

(And, yes, I am now playing Devil's Advocate.)

Beyond the name, rank and serial number kind of details, here are some of Emanuel’s highlights:
  • Above all, a fundraising God.
  • Driven, exceptionally loyal, energetic — probably very likeable if you're on his good side.
  • Alone among Illinois congressional Democrats in supporting the Iraq war resolution
  • Studied ballet but chose not to join the Joffrey Ballet (he was that good).
  • A Clintonian, like many of the people advising Obama (Robert Rubin, Austan Goolsbee, Jeffrey Liebman, David Cutler)
  • Architect of NAFTA, like the Clinton crowd, an advocate of 'free markets' and 'privatization'
  • Major advocate of Israeli interests
  • Father Benjamin Emanuel, now a pediatrician, was a medic for Irgun, the Zionist terrorist group in pre-Israel Palestine, responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel and, with the Stern Gang, the Deir Yassin massacre. (He was a medic, but does membership make Benjamin Emanuel a terrorist? Official American and Israeli standards would say 'yes'.)
  • From 1999 to 2002, worked in investment banking at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, earning $18 million. Schmoozes easily with Wall Streeters.
  • nicknamed Rahm-bo
  • Advocates privatizing border security and denying undocumented immigrants any path to citizenship.
  • Prior to Tony Blair’s first public meeting with Clinton, reportedly told Blair “This is important. Don’t fuck it up.”
  • According to Rolling Stone, “Emanuel was so angry at the president's [Clinton’s] enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!' and plunging the knife into the table after every name.”
  • During 1991 Gulf War, was a civilian volunteer in Israel. Never served in Israeli military, does not have dual nationality, contrary to some rumors.
  • Director of Finance of Clinton’s 1991 presidential primary campaign. Proved his genius for fundraising then.

By the way, I take the term "Obama's Bulldog" from that used to refer to Thomas Henry Huxley, called "Darwin's bulldog" — by himself among others — for his role in advocating Darwin's theories. Darwin himself was notoriously averse to public speaking.


Joshua Green. “The Enforcer” in Rolling Stone

Nina Easton. "Rahm Emanuel, Pitbull politician" in Fortune

Orly Azoulay. YNet News.

Eli Kintisch. United Jewish Communities and JTA.


No comments: