Monday, June 28, 2010

"Where Have You Gone, Rahm Emanuel?"

Looks like Rahm Emanuel's days in the Obama White House are now officially numbered.

Though likewise from Chicago, Emanuel was never considered part of Obama's "inner circle," such as fellow Chicago-land denizens David Axelrod and Valerie Jarret. He was hired for his familiarity with Washington, his previous White House experience, (as one of Bill Clinton's closest advisors), and his ability to "get things done."

As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, for example, he was credited with helping wrest control of the House of Representatives away from the Republicans. By fielding candidates in conservative-leaning districts who were right of the mainstream Democrat party - later known as "Blue Dog" Democrats - by capitalizing on voter fatigue with Republican Party scandals and fiscal irresponsibility, and by riding the wave of voter frustration with President Bush and the War in Iraq, Emanuel helped take back the House for the Democrats, and set the stage for Barack Obama's election as President, two years later.

But in his success lay the seeds of his undoing.

The "Blue Dogs," by their very nature, had a tendency to buck the party establishment, especially Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. During the Health Care Debate, Pelosi even suggested that the Blue Dogs should "Take One for the Team."

And in the end, the "Stupak Coalition" notwithstanding, that's exactly what they did. Of 253 House Democrats, only 34 - many of these in vulnerable seats - voted against the Health Care Bill. 219 voted for it.

All 176 House Republicans voted against.

The lesson here? There ARE no "moderate" or conservative Democrats anymore. Call them "Blue Dogs," "Yellow Dogs," or "Whatever Dogs," when it gets down to brass tacks, they are all Democrats -FIRST, LAST, and ALWAYS. As such, in the end they will all vote in lock-step with whatever their party masters tell them to.

However, Nancy Pelosi has a long memory, and she blames Emanuel for much of the grief his "Blue Dogs" have caused her as Speaker.

Couple that with the inherent ideological clash between Emanuel's more "pragmatic" style, and the "idealism" of Obama's inner circle, not to mention Emanuel's stated desire to spend more time with his kids, and his early departure from the Obama Administration was somewhat pre-ordained.

"Never let a crisis go to waste," he'd famously said, shortly after Obama was sworn into office.

With the economy still in tatters, with trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, with 10% unemployment as the "New Normal" and no end to the recession in sight, with thousands of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every day, with Islamic extremists relentlessly and continually trying to attack us, and with Iran on the verge of having nukes, whenever his departure may be, Rahm Emanuel can look back on this latest time in the White House and say, "Mission Accomplished."

To which The Flying Curmudgeon says, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."


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