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Rahm sticking around


There's been some talk lately that Rahm Emanuel might be on his way out. "Talk" may be too strong a word, actually. Rumors? Interest? Speculation? It's been loud enough, in any case, that Emanuel was asked to clarify his plans on MSNBC this morning:

GUTHRIE: Rahm, let's dispense with one other piece of business. You may be aware, there are a lot of rumors around town about your future plans. Will you commit to stay at the White House through 2010? A lot of chiefs of staff makes this a two-year gig.


GUTHRIE: Yes, you're staying for 2010? So, you're not going to run for mayor of Chicago?

EMANUEL: No.[...]

GUTHRIE: Okay. No running for your old seat then, huh?

EMANUEL: No running for my old seat.

So there you have it. I've actually been confused by these rumors all along: Emanuel's congressionalist strategy is looking pretty successful. Health-care reform is likely to pass. The stimulus actually did pass. The White House appears to function relatively smoothly. Given the dysfunctions of the legislature and the records of their immediate successors, the administration has been uncommonly successful at delivering on some of their tougher campaign promises. Rahm has done well, it seems.

On the other hand, if you think that the measure of the president is whether he looks likely to pick up seats in the midterms (which virtually never happens, by the way), then maybe Emanuel isn't doing so well. And since the Washington media is dominated by people who report on campaigns and politics rather than Congress and policy, that's probably the dominant perception.

Photo credit: Pete Souza/The White House.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 11, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Rahm Emanuel would get eaten alive running for mayor of Chicago.

What's his support base? Liberals are annoyed about healthcare & financial reform. Government reform types are not going to get behind "Rahmbo." Minorities are annoyed b/c there's been no consequence for predatory lending (in fact our taxes just bailed out many of those lenders), and the stimulus barely touched their communities. The conservative white ethnics think he's a "Socialist."

Rahm won his Congressional seat largely b/c he had a lot of large Democratic donors behind him, as well as Daley's machine, behind him. He may still have the big money behind him (although Daley's been very good at tending to his corporate donors), but the machine won't turn out for him. And it's unclear who else would.

Posted by: NS12345 | January 11, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Christina Romer gave the White House the real number needed for a stimulus and Rahm's 'congressionalist strategy' bid it down and we ended up with sustained unemployment at 10%.

A new Executive emphasizing good relations with Congress isn't exactly some kind of genius move, it's just STUPID to do it otherwise. President Obama could have picked any of a dozen Speaker Pelosi loyalists and gotten the same relations with Congress and had a better handle on the economy.

President Obama used to be, you know, IN THE SENATE, so he doesn't need Rahm's special brand of hardass to understand that body. Lincoln Chafee could do Rahm's job better and that guy is so meek he'd choke on a Certs.

Posted by: jamusco | January 11, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Cleverly framed questions to disguise the possibility that Emmanuel may leave for ... 1. A health insurance CEO position ... 2. A lobbyists position ... 3. A bank CEO position ... 4. A private equity position.

Given how nice he has been to corporate special interests any of the above are possible.

Posted by: Citizen0 | January 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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