That's right, Rahm Emanuel will be Chicago's next mayor. The former White House chief of staff took 55 percent of the vote Tuesday, enough to avoid a runoff. By itself that would not be so noteworthy, but he was facing five challengers.
In a city with its share of racial divisions, Emanuel appealed to voters across those lines. He won the predominantly white wards of his former congressional district on the North and Northwest sides. And the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama also scored substantial margins in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
Ah so, every day, in every way, it becomes ever clearer that Rahm Emanuel's campaign for mayor of Chicago and mine have striking similarities. Rahm went off to Washington two years ago to pursue politics on the national stage. I left Chicago about 40 years ago to pursue politicians on the national stage, particularly huckster politicians. Two of my targets were Rahm's old boss Bill Clinton and the president's boss, Hillary.
This fall, we returned rather recklessly, both to run for mayor. I immediately had major newspapers supporting me and at least one national figure, Sean Hannity, on his estimable TV show. Rahm flummoxed around in the city. His ill-considered campaign was attacked as that of a "carpetbagger" after it became clear that he had not lived in his home for the past two years. His house was in possession of one Rob Halpin, who refused to leave. It was the gesture of a patriot. Critics have hardly questioned my Chicago residency. His friendship with Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced former governor, has been raised. Anyone who has looked into the matter knows I am clean as a hound's tooth. Yet Rahm and I do have the nagging question of our residency. Two judicial panels have taken it up, and this week the second, an appeals court, rejected him. Now his fate is with the Illinois Supreme Court. The courts have not dealt with me yet.
On Tuesday's John King USA, CNN's John King issued a prompt on-air apology minutes after a guest on his program used the term "crosshairs" during a segment: "We're trying to get away from using that kind of language" (audio available here). This action stands in stark contrast to an incident over a year earlier where former anchor Rick Sanchez took four days to apologize for using a unconfirmed quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh.
The firearms term appeared during a panel discussion about the race for Chicago mayor with CNN contributor Roland Martin and former journalist Andy Shaw, who is currently the executive director of the Better Government Association, a watchdog group involved in Illinois politics. Twenty-four minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour, King asked Shaw about former Senator and mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun's claim that she was the most qualified candidate in the race: "Can she make the case- you can say Rahm Emanuel- you don't want him as mayor, but he's been a congressman. He's been a White House chief of staff. He's been a White House aide. Carol Moseley Braun- have more experience, more credentials?"
Shaw underlined his point that the Braun and the other mayoral candidates were going after Emanuel by using the sniping term:
No matter how you rearrange President Obama's inner circle, it still looks, smells and tastes like a rotten Chicago deep-dish pizza.
Ready for the latest topping on this moldy old pie? It's a possible chief of staff slot for Wall Street banker/lawyer/wheeler-dealer William Daley, brother of outgoing Chicago mayor/machine politics mastermind Richard M. Daley (also the former boss of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and first lady Michelle Obama), whose retirement paved the way for former Obama chief of staff and Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel. Phew.
The White House is reportedly looking to manufacture a "pro-business" aura with Bill Daley, who holds a "corporate responsibility" executive office at J.P. Morgan and once headed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the latter, a left-wing hate object and Obama punching bag leading up to the midterms.
On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel declared his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Instantaneously, he had problems with his campaign, not the least of which is that he is as much a resident of Chicago as I am. So on Monday, I declared my candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Why not? I did it on the national television show of the estimable Sean Hannity, who immediately threw his support behind me. I was born in Chicago, come from a long line of Chicagoans and, like Rahm, am occasionally in town. The place is a gastronomic paradise, a cultural delight with great museums and a fine orchestra, plus opera; surprisingly, Rahm and I never have crossed paths while in town. Supposedly, he attends rock concerts. He could attend the Chicago Symphony, but he opts for Bruce Springsteen.
My candidacy already had the national endorsement of The New York Sun, which tapped me the day before I declared. I have a new book out, "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery," to provide Chicagoans — and Americans generally — with a blueprint for getting out of our present political and economic fix. The blogs are alive with support (and occasional rudeness), and more newspaper support is rumored to be on the way. All Rahm has are a few big names and our mutually held residency problem. Rahm still is seeking newspaper support, and his "listening tour," begun Monday, has gotten off to a rocky start. A lot of Chicagoans do not like him. He has a reputation for yelling at underlings and for profanity.
As for me, I am free of any hint of Chicago corruption, certainly no hint of a connection to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Frankly, I could not pick him out of a police lineup — at least a police lineup of gaudily dressed gigolos. Rahm is recorded on the telephone with Blagojevich suggesting deals shortly after President Barack Obama's election. All of this and any other questionable dealings will be rehashed over and again during the run-up to the February election. When it comes to political connections with the Chicago machine or, for that matter, almost any connection at all — my family lives in the suburbs — I am clean as a hound's tooth.
As Barack Obama's poll numbers collapse along with the fate of Democrats in November, more of the President's fans are calling for heads to roll at the White House.
Just four days after Chris "Tingle Up The Leg" Matthews called for both Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be given their walking papers, the Washington Post's Richard Cohen warned that if Obama doesn't fire some key people, Americans are going to fire him.
Chris Matthews must really be getting tired of watching the man that used to give him tingles up his leg continue to get crushed in the polls, for on Friday he recommended a serious shakeup in the Obama administration.
First, he want's Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be replaced by Hillary Clinton.
"With her at the Pentagon, he would forge confidence in Middle East policy," said the "Hardball" host.
But the real surprise was Matthews calling for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to either replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner or Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After nearly three months, the results show far more Democrats and liberals earning a "False" rating, with most of the "True" ratings going to Republicans and conservatives. The discrepency remains even if you take into account that about two-thirds of the evaluated statements came from Democrats in the first place.
From April 11 through June 20, PolitiFact has handed out seven "False" statements -- six to Democrats/liberals, one to a Republican. During that same time, seven "True" labels were handed out -- four for Republicans/conservatives, just two for Democrats (one, ironically, going to former President Bill Clinton).
Retired General Colin Powell also picked up a "True" for a statement about the number of troops President Obama has deployed to Afghanistan, but it's hard to say which side Powell represents these days.
The BP oil spill - millions of gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, coastal businesses from Houston to Tampa shuttered, the potential for higher energy costs across the country and untold ecological damage. But according to Mother Jones magazine's David Corn, there is a silver-lining in all of this - that is, if you're a Democrat.
MSNBC's June 21 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" deviated from its usual efforts to blame the previous administration for the oil spill and instead gave thanks that the spill led to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
"I think it's every single Democrat in America - they're saying, ‘Joe Barton, you go for it,'" Corn said. "You keep that ranking member position. Don't - you know, stick to your guns. I mean, after all, I mean, you made this point, I've written about this, others have made this point - It wasn't a gaffe. Joe Barton said what he believed."
Usually when you see something on the Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog, you ignore it (or at best take it with a grain of salt) because you know its fundamental objective is to score some inane point against conservatives or the Republican Party.
Sources say the White House chief of staff is tired of the administraiton's "idealism." He is expected to resign within 6 to 8 months.
It is well known in Washington that arguments have developed between pragmatic Mr Emanuel, a veteran in Congress where he was known for driving through compromises, and the idealistic inner circle who followed Mr Obama to the White House.
His abrasive style has rubbed some people the wrong way, while there has been frustration among Mr Obama's closest advisers that he failed to deliver a smooth ride for the president's legislative programme that his background promised.
"It might not be his fault, but the perception is there," said the consultant, who asked not to be named. "Every vote has been tough, from health care to energy to financial reform.
"Democrats have not stood behind the president in the way Republicans did for George W Bush, and that was meant to be Rahm's job."
Can the Obama administration's inability to smoothly implement its agenda really be due to an excess of pragmatism? How will this change the makeup, perception, and workings of the White House?
Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, is expected to leave his job later this year after growing tired of the "idealism" of Barack Obama's inner circle. Washington insiders say he will quit within six to eight months in frustration at their unwillingness to "bang heads together" to get policy pushed through. Mr Emanuel, 50, enjoys a good working relationship with Mr Obama but they are understood to have reached an understanding that differences over style mean he will serve only half the full four-year term.
Has it dawned on the MSM that the only thing that would have carried any weight today would have been Joe Sestak unequivocally stating that he wasn't offered the Sec. of the Navy job? He didn't. Sure, Pres. Obama's mouthpiece issued a denial.But if there was any way under heaven that the White House could have strong-armed Sestak into flatly stating that no one offered him the Navy post, it would have happened. It didn't.
Instead, all Sestak says is that Pres. Clinton offered him some measly advisory board position, which he rejected. And indeed, Sestak tells a reporter that Clinton told him that "Rahm Emanuel" had mentioned the possibility of an advisory board position. So we know Emanuel was in the mix. Sestak is quoted as saying that he only had "one phone call" with Pres. Clinton. But he never said he didn't subsequently hear from Emanuel or some other senior Obama aide.
Just how desperately does the MSM want to bury the Sestak job-bribe story? Yesterday we reported Time editor Rick Stengel's risibly feigned ignorance of the matter.
On Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough broke off a colorful metaphor to describe the liberal media's see-no-evil approach to the subject, saying the MSM wouldn't cover the story "if Rahm Emanuel announced it in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue wearing nothing but a Speedo."
Mika Brzezinski broached the subject by mentioning that she had gotten "hammered" by her husband and friends for her criticism of the MSM's failure to ask the tough questions on the matter.
Imagine if, in 2004, Karl Rove had offered then-Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) a cushy administration post if only he dropped his primary challenge of then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, whom the Bush White House was backing for reelection.
Surely the media would merely smell "stupid politics" rather then the stench of corruption and complain that Democrats making hay of the matter were cynically making a federal case out of something that happens in Washington all the time.
Of course both you and I know that's the exact opposite of what would happen. But when it comes to Joe Sestak's alleged job offer by the Obama White House, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald is peeved at Republicans, practically telling them in his May 27 "Viewpoint" post at Time.com to move along:
"If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website."
So said President Barack Obama in his commencement address to the University of Michigan 2010 graduates Saturday.
"If we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we will become more polarized, more set in our ways," ironically said the President.
"But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and our beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from."
Obama then gave some examples to the audience (video follows - courtesy The Right Scoop - with transcript and commentary, h/t our old friend Ian Schwartz, photo courtesy AP):
President Obama has extensive ties to Goldman Sachs. Yet even given record-breaking financial contributions and sketchy relationships between Goldman executives and Obama officials at the highest level, the mainstream media will not afford Obama the same scrutiny it gave to George W. Bush during the collapse of Enron.
Obama's inflation-adjusted $1,007,370.85 in contributions from Goldman employees is almost seven times as much as the $151,722.42 (also inflation-adjusted) that Bush received from Enron. Goldman was one of the chief beneficiaries of the TARP bailout package -- supported by then-Senator Obama -- and has been a force for -- not against -- Democratic financial "reform" proposals currently under Senate consideration.
Despite the extensive connections between President Obama and Goldman Sachs, the same media that vaguely alleged unseemly connections between the Bush administration and Enron after its 2001 collapse have barely noticed the Obama administration's prominent ties to Goldman (h/t J.P. Freire).
In a clear sign liberal media elites are growing weary of the White House, comedian David Letterman went after President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Tuesday evening.
During the "Top Ten" segment of the "Late Show," Letterman counted down the signs that Emanuel is nuts.
Before beginning the list, Letterman explained with shocking detail that this was precipitated by Rep. Eric Massa's (D-N.Y.) assertion that Emanuel once cornered him in the Congressional shower room wearing nothing but an evil grimace.
Maybe most surprising, Letterman managed to lampoon the COS without once referencing to Sarah Palin (video embedded below the fold with transcribed list, h/t Story Balloon):
When Rep. Eric Massa resigned Monday and conservative talk radio blazed over a radio interview Massa gave harshly attacking House Democratic leaders and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the Washington Post suggested Massa’s remarks weren’t really newsworthy on their own. Their headline was "Conservatives point to claim by Massa."
The Post website went even further, with the snotty headline "An unlikely hero for the right." (Update: they may have borrowed from Politico, which also ran a headline "Eric Massa as a conservative media hero.")
If the parties were reversed, and a resigning member lit into the Republican majority leader and the Republicans’ top White House aide, the headline wouldn’t be "Liberals point to claim by Republican." Because the Washington Post are those liberals.
It's no surprise that elitism and a pretentious point of view have a place on The Washington Post editorial page, but even this is a little much.
Pseudo-conservative columnist Kathleen Parker asserted that Trig Palin, the Down syndrome son of the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin might one day find his mother's abortion comments "hurtful." A Feb 14 column published in the Post focused on the delicate art of criticizing Palin's recent political and personal defense of the special-needs community, stemming from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's controversial comments involving the word "retarded."
Parker recounted Palin's brief mention that she understands how women entertain the thought of abortion when learning about the special needs of an unborn child. Instead of praise for Palin's honesty and candor, Parker seized the opportunity to criticize Palin's outspokenness and attempted to speak on behalf of her son.
The media's hate parade against the former governor of Alaska hit a disgraceful peak Monday night when comedian Stephen Colbert said on national television, "Sarah Palin is a f**king retard."
In a five minute segment bashing the former vice presidential candidate for her remarks at Saturday's National Tea Party convention, as well as her use of crib notes -- surprise! -- the Comedy Central star ended with the controversy surrounding White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's "retard" comment.
After playing a clip of Palin telling Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" that Rush Limbaugh's use of the word was acceptable because it was satire, Colbert concluded, "It is okay to call someone a retard if like Rush you clearly don't mean it" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, vulgarity alert):
In potentially a new broadcast television low, "Saturday Night Live's" Andy Samberg, playing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, went into an f-bomb laden attack on former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin last night.
In what was sarcastically billed as "an even-tempered apology" by Emanuel for his highly-publicized comments concerning some liberal Democrats being "retards," Samberg began by going after these "stupid f**king babies who can't keep their mouths shut."
But the real venom was saved for Palin who Samberg referred to as a "f**king harpy" and a "half a f**king politician."
Samberg concluded by threatening the former governor Facebook style, "Poke me again, and I will write s**t on your wall so obscene your computer will cry" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, vulgarity alert):
Both ABC’s Diane Sawyer and CBS’s Katie Couric interviewed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as part of their networks’ run-up to tonight’s State of the Union address, but the contrast was stark. While Sawyer attempted to feel Emanuel’s pain over the setbacks for health care legislation (“Two times you have rolled the health care rock up the hill....and two times you have seen it crash back down”), a much feistier Couric interrogated Emanuel over the White House’s political failings.
“As you know, people were pretty disgusted by deals that were made up on Capitol Hill like the one given to Ben Nelson to win his support. If the White House was so involved, was this done with your blessing?” Couric demanded. Moments later, she hit Emanuel with this zinger: “You are considered a master political operative, you were the guy four years ago, of course, who orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the House. Where were you when Massachusetts was going down in flames for the Democrats?”
Barack Obama certainly didn't expect to receive as an anniversary gift a previously little-known Republican stealing Ted Kennedy's vacated Senate seat along with the President's precious filibuster-proof majority.
But with Scott Brown's surprising victory in Massachusetts Tuesday night, that's exactly what the chief executive got 364 days after putting his hand on the Bible swearing to protect and defend this great land.
As the Administration and its Party lick their wounds, the recriminations and finger-pointing have become almost as fun to watch as the returns were election night; the excuses for shoo-in Democrat Martha Coakley's colossal collapse comically traverse the political spectrum from the predictable to the theater of the absurd.
Take for example MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who actually smelled a touch of racism in the Massachusetts air Tuesday (videos embedded below the fold with partial transcripts):
UPDATE (below the fold): Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity referenced the video from this post on his January 20th show.
The Word of the Day is: Context.
First, as to the video at right. Its context is the May 9, 2009 White House Correspondents Association Dinner. At which White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel uttered the following:
"When you think about the First Amendment...you think it's highly overrated."
Emanuel said this to an unidentified entertainment reporter (I did not toil too strenuously to ascertain his identity). But said scribe seemed a little bewildered by Emanuel's assertion, despite the obvious mirth in Rahm's face as he delivers the line - at the Correspondents' Dinner. The irony appears to escape the man with the microphone.
But given how the Administration has gone on to handle all things First Amendment, perhaps this journalist is not humor-addled, but prescient. Let us now place Emanuel's remark into the proper Administrative context.
What politicians say to get elected can come back to haunt them and vilifying the lobbyist profession to score campaign points is going to do that to President Barack Obama, according to MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-anchor Joe Scarborough.
"Listen, the Obama administration is in trouble right now," Scarborough said. "We got a lot of friends in the Obama administration right now and they're in trouble because Barack Obama made promises during the 2008 campaign that he would not allow lobbyists to work in his White House. Well sometimes you want lobbyists working in your White House. You want lobbyists working in Congress. You want lobbyists working for the city of Houston, Texas, because you don't get that job as lobbyist because you got a good smile. You get the job as lobbyist because you understand an issue better than everybody else."
Slam dunk, or nothing-but-net three-pointer? Either way, with a line he got off today, Chuck Todd has surely scored some points in the battle over Pres. Obama's all-male White House basketball games.
The NBC News political director/chief WH correspondent took his shot while discussing the issue with Andrea Mitchell—whose sympathies were clearly with the distaff side—during the 1PM hour slot on MSNBC today.
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Jack Kennedy, advised the White House to abandon their attacks on Fox News today. She attributed the administration's visceral reaction to the cable outlet to a naive sense of invincibility generally held by new presidents (video embedded below the fold).
Asked by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' what "we want our president to know and do," in reference to the title of her new book, Thomas immediately replied "stay out of these fights... They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger."
Thomas's coauthor, CQ reporter Craig Crawford, added that "presidents are better off, Joe, when they punch up and not down."
Last fall, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel remarked, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
That quote has become part of a rallying cry for conservatives, that those currently in power are trying to create the perception of a crisis to force things through the legislative process that couldn't be done otherwise. That has been dismissed by those on the left as fear-mongering and the party in power is acting in good faith based on what their constituents want.
But on MSNBC's Oct. 14 "Countdown," Newsweek senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman found fault with President Barack Obama's administration for not living up to Emanuel's expectations. On Oct. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee toyed with the idea of stripping health insurance providers of their antitrust exemption and "Countdown" Keith Olbermann suggested members of Congress hold that exemption over insurance companies' heads to force them to go along with the Senate's idea of health insurance reform.
The progressive mindset is a curious one, as evidenced by New York Times columnist and Nobel Economics Prize recipient Paul Krugman.
Krugman appeared on MSNBC's Sept. 23 "The Rachel Maddow Show" and lamented that the Obama Administration missed the opportunity the recent financial crisis offered to fundamentally change how the American economy operates. Host Rachel Maddow asked Krugman what the Great Depression taught economists when it comes to avoiding a repeat.
"It taught us a lot about how to avoid one, which is that you really have to, have to put some constraints. I mean, it sort of roughly, banking is very useful but extremely dangerous and banks have to have all kinds of - you know, fencing put around them as a protection. They have to have some guarantees so that we don't have bank runs, so people know their money is safe. But then, we also have some regulation so that bankers don't take huge risks with other people's money on a ‘heads I win, tails you lose' basis."