The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

His Rahm-page Through Washington Comes to an End


Word broke last night that Rahm Emanuel will leave his position as White House Chief of Staff in hopes to move on to a job with real power. The observations from the Jolt:


The Body of the Administration Is About to Lose Its Spleen

It’s easy to get tired of conservatives complaining about media bias, but with news that Rahm Emanuel will soon ride off into the sunset to run Chicago, it seems like a good moment to observe that the public reputation of Emanuel is one of the greatest examples of the Triumph of the Narrative in our modern political world. The narrative is that Rahm Emanuel is the toughest of the political world’s tough guys, shrewd, cunning, dedicated to his chief and exactly the kind of guy you want having your back in a no-holds-barred fight.

But between oft-told tales of ubiquitous, loud, relentless profanity, his sending a dead fish to a pollster, his alleged threatening warning, laced with f-bombs at then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, the tale of the naked shower confrontation with Eric Massa, and the rest, it would be equally easy for a media less charitable to paint a portrait of Emanuel as a maniacal rage-a-holic, a seething hatchet man with few if any principles and a one-man wrecking crew obliterating cooperation, comity, decency and decorum. You’re forgiven if wondering if Rahm had been the chief of staff of a Republican president, he would have stolen the nickname “The Prince of Darkness” from Bob Novak, or whether the media would have gone straight to serial killer metaphors.

Back when Massa was telling the shower tale, I wrote, “Massa declaring that “Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn” – Mr. Applegate’s grandson? — and “an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive.” Notice no one in Washington jumped up to deny that characterization; it’s not like any Democrat could honestly say, “oh, come now, that doesn’t sound like our Rahm.” It’s kind of tough to deny allegations of maniacal aggression when one of the most famous stories about Emanuel involves him violently stabbing a table with a steak knife and screaming that all of his enemies would be dead, the most bloodthirsty dinner interruption by a Chicagoan since Al Capone went Babe Ruth on his underling’s noggin.”

Really, will any parent tell their child, ‘when you grow up, I want you to be just like Rahm Emanuel’?

… “The President does not need this right now,” observes Patrick Ruffini. He adds, “I look at Rahm and all I can think is: Sam Seaborn,” who was, I believe, the Rob Lowe character on the West Wing who left a high-powered job to run for Congress. Of course, Rahm has already done that.

Dave Weigel is a little tired of glowing profiles of Rahm the super-genius: “Prediction: If Dems right the ship and hold Congress, the Village will find a way to give Rahm credit anyway… I’m looking forward to the hour-long C-SPAN special where Rahm announces his decision.”

Tags: Rahm Emanuel


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