Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama Picks Rahm Emanuel: What Does That Tell Us?

Now that Obama has made his second staff choice after Biden, we're starting to learn something about how he thinks, and the kind of cabinet he'll create.

According to Andrew Sullivan, Emanuel is a tough cookie who goes forcefully after political enemies. Emanuel was one of the key architects of the Democrats' 2006 resurgence in Congress. He's also something of a political moderate.

Some Republicans are worried, calling Emanuel partisan and this a betrayal of Obama's "bipartisanship" promise. Oh, come on. Are you telling me that Cheney was a Democrat? You're worried about Obama's Chief of Staff? Chief of Staff is the go-to guy who enforces your team, not the reach across the isle guy. Don't these Republicans watch Law and Order? Emanuel is Obama's "Bad Cop" who will let Obama himself play the more fun role of "Good Cop." Are these guys really expecting that a Democratic President is going to have a staff of 21 Republicans and 3 milquetoast Democrats? There will be Republican appointments - but come on, the Democrat won, guys. There will be Democrats on his team.

But Emanuel tells us something else. Yes, his style is almost dramatically 180 degrees different from Obama: direct, brash, forceful. But he's another Chicago pol that Obama obviously trusts. And his success in 2006 proves he knows how to get things done. AND he's Jewish, plus a stalwart supporter of Israel and pretty tough on Iran.

So here's what we learn, now that Obama has picked Biden, and then Emanuel:

1. Obama's not afraid to surround himself with people who supplements qualities that he personally lacks. For VP: someone with deep foreign policy and legislative experience. For Chief of Staff: someone who's a ball-breaker and far from subtle.

2. Obama is picking people who seem immensely suited for the task at hand. This Administration is going to have a lot on its plate. Hard to see it making headway WITHOUT a personality like Emanuel's.

3. Obama is not a Manchurian candidate bent on filling the government with terrorists. The Emanuel appointment -- a Jew who can get things done -- must be a clear refreshing signal to a nervous Israel that Obama really is the ecumenical practical politician with a long tradition of working with his many Jewish friends, not the radical caricature painted by McCain's campaign.

4. Obama is not going to take the kind of "appeasement" road to Iran that McCain accused him of. He's going to have a tough, smart foreign policy team. This will be a HUGE positive change from the last eight years.

5. Obama is going to work with people he trusts but who also are eminently capable and experienced. "Rewards" may be few, unless those people are suited for it. This is not the cronyism of the Bush administration, nor is it going to be an administration filled with Joe the Plumbers.

Here's another neat little fact abut Emanuel:

Emanuel also served as inspiration for the fictional character Joshua "Josh" Lyman, the deputy White House chief of staff, played by Bradley Whitford on the television drama "The West Wing."

Seems that isn't the only fictional character inspired by the Emanuel family. According to American Nonsense:

his brother, Ari, is a talent agent in Los Angeles and inspired Jeremy Piven’s character Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage.

What, is every fictional Jew on TV based on this family?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Emanuel is mad smart, he should've been running for a president, i would def voted for him =]