Ouch from Dan Froomkin (h/t AmericaBlog): Rahm Emanuel: Obama's Chief Of Sabotage.
This is truly a stunning piece meant to counter Rahm's "victory lap around the wreckage of what was once such a promising presidency."
This is a spectacular take down of the man who really destroyed the Obama presidency and by that I mean, Obama had the opportunity to be the next F.D.R. There's almost no chance of that happening now.
Sure, he can still do good thing, maybe even a handful of really good things, but using just health care as an example -- which will pass -- it's not a great piece of legislation. It's not what could have been had Rahm not been whispering in Obama's ear that he needs a victory more than he need a GREAT bill. F.D.R. would have fired Rahm the first time he whispered anything like that to him.
Anyway, here's Froomkin on Emanuel the Saboteur:
Emanuel is not the would-be savior of this presidency. For one thing, there really isn't that much daylight between him and his boss, or between him and his top White House colleagues. Had things gone even more his way, it's possible that he would have squelched a few more of what few bursts of idealism and principle survived Inauguration. But people looking for the reasons why the Obama presidency has not lived up to its promise won't find the answer amid the minor rifts between key players. Nor will they find the answer in how well or poorly this White House has played the game of politics. The fact is that after a campaign that appealed so successfully to idealism, Obama hired a bunch of saboteurs of hope and change.
Rahm was simply their chief of staff. And now, this hypercompetitive bantam rooster is attempting to blame others for what went wrong. That's evidently so important to him that he's trying to take a victory lap around the wreckage of what was once such a promising presidency.
And on Emmanuel the Bush Democrat:
Emanuel's greatest "victory" before this one, of course, was the one upon which he earned his reputation: Getting a bunch of conserva-Dems elected in purple states in 2006, winning the party control of the House while at the same time crippling its progressive agenda. This is what Emanuel is all about. For him, victory is everything -- even if you have to give up your core values to win, and even if you could have won while sticking to them.
The Rahm Emanuel that Obama hired is the poster child for the timid, pseudo-pragmatism that is inimical to the idealistic Obama agenda so many excited voters responded to last November. And it's a pragmatism that is absolutely killing the Democratic Party in the long run, because American voters have an intrinsic distrust of politicians they see as tacking with the polls or shying away from a fight. This if nothing else is the lesson of two George W. Bush presidencies: American voters have a profoundly soft spot for people with clear, strongly-held principles, almost regardless of what those principles are.
Emanuel is a Bush Democrat - but not in that he has learned the lesson about the value of holding firmly to core values. He is a Bush Democrat in that he has allowed Republicans to traumatize him into submission. Emanuel operates on a battlefield as defined by Republicans, where the terrain is littered with the specter of imaginary but profoundly terrifying GOP attack ads. His reflexive approach is the strategic retreat. Most obviously in the current debate about health care, he has empowered the Democratic and centrist Republican obstructionists by validating their fear that come campaign time, they will be portrayed as radical -- even when they are supporting measures such as the public insurance option that have public support among a super-majority of voters.