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Blame Rahm?

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It's a bit weird to see so much blame accruing to Rahm Emanuel for the administration's woes. Emanuel wasn't part of the campaign team. He was brought in to help govern. In that capacity, his primary job was shepherding the administration's agenda through the legislative process. Ugly as that process was, Emanuel -- and more to the point, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- did a fairly masterful job at it. In the Senate, Democrats got all 60 of their members to sign onto the same large, controversial bill. That's a legislative achievement unheralded in modern times. Bill Clinton didn't manage it on any bills of this size and scope, and neither did George W. Bush.

Then the game changed, and unexpectedly. Ted Kennedy's death wasn't unpredictable, but the loss of his seat was certainly a surprise. It wasn't, however, a surprise that's easy to track back to Emanuel.

If the administration has failed at anything, it's been holding public support for its bills. But that's not really Emanuel's job. That's where David Axelrod and the rest of the political team come into play. But it's not obvious that much can be done on this front. The best thing that could've happened to health-care reform was that Congress stuck to the timetable that Emanuel and the White House originally set. Once they decided not to do that -- and no Jedi mind tricks from the White House chief of staff were going to dissuade them -- the ugly and endless process was certain to erode support for the bill.

In this way, the lure of 60 votes was probably a curse for the Democrats. It meant they had enough support to build their first-year around major legislative accomplishments rather than adroit political positioning. That might've worked, too, but an unexpected outcome in an unexpected election pulled the rug out from under that strategy.

I'm not an Emanuel fan, as it happens. In most of my reporting, he was not particularly pleased with doing a big health-care reform bill in the first place, and at multiple steps along the way, he's argued for scaling it back dramatically. But his personal opinions aside, I'm not sure what else he could've done in shepherding the bill through the process. And if Martha Coakley hadn't insisted on mocking Red Sox fans, health-care reform might well have been signed by now and the White House would've pivoted to a more populist argument about jobs and banks while being able to brag about the largest legislative achievement since Lyndon Johnson.

Bad luck has left them in a very different place than that, and a lot of people want someone to blame. But given the precise contours of Emanuel's job -- keep the White House running smoothly and help craft its strategy with Congress -- I'm not convinced that he's the right guy. What's clearly the case is that his strategy stopped being suited for the circumstances the day Scott Brown won the election. But after a week of readjustment, the White House seems to be doing what it can to take control of the process, and I'd say it's too early to tell whether its new approach will work.

Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

By Ezra Klein  |  February 11, 2010; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Comments

I don't think it is entirely outside of Rahm's job to do PR. In general, I've been shocked by the white house losing the support of the base on this bill. That can be laid, in no small part, at Howard Dean's feet. And losing Howard Dean's support can, in no small part, be laid at the personal animus between him and the current white house, particularly Emmanuel.

Rove had a lot of problems, but he managed to hold the base together. No one in the white house is managing to do the same. A big part of that is not legislative failures and successes, but feeling part of the process. I had the chance to meet Falwell before his death through policy debate. Whatever he felt about the Bush's policies, he felt part of the process. It is just as clear that the left's opinion makers don't feel part of the process. And they blame, somewhat correctly, Emmanuel for that.

That's my only problem with him.

Posted by: thescuspeaks | February 11, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The Martha Coakley-Red Sox comment was funny the first time you posted it, annoying the second time, and offensive every time since. If I was a Massachusetts voter, I'd be pretty upset that you're suggesting that with health care clearly in the balance, voters chose Brown because she screwed up the Red Sox stuff. You may actually believe the Red Sox thing, but that would really make me question your support of democracy generally. Maybe they should just let a couple of bloggers make all the decisions instead, huh?

Enough already, its childish. Your side lost, move on.

Posted by: wisewon | February 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

You mean besides cutting back the stimulus s Obama wouldn't have to say the scary "trillion" word forcing millions more to suffer unemployment and put Mass in play to begin with? You mean besides being behind the whole idea of the Gang of Six causing months of delay?

Obama was handed huge Congressional majorities and has done squat with them. The idea that it was a surprise that Republicans would filibuster everything is naive. And if it was a surprise even more reason Rahm shouldn't have a job.

Posted by: endaround | February 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Reagan & bush43 understood one very important aspect of wielding power and holding on to leadership. That being, you NEVER attack your base.

Rahm, in his capacity of CoS, has never missed an opportunity to attack progressives or to portray progressives as 'the problem'. And he does this publicly, which is worse. I suspect it's from his legislative years when splitting the difference got bills through. But he should realize two things....1) He's never attacked the right wingers. He always goes out of his way to appease them to get them to join him. 2) The current GOP will NEVER EVER vote for anything this Administration wants. They've shown it over and over and over. These two things combine to make a media narrative that 1) portrays Obama as a weak head of state and unable to lead, and 2) lead to a media narrative of the progressives as being from Pluto.

I can't believe that at this point in the game, the Obama Administration doesn't understand this yet. Standing true to your values, your adult composure, your reasoned and responsible image and never getting the job done does one thing. It almost guarantees a one term presidency.

Posted by: kindness1 | February 11, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

As a actual Mass voter, I really didn't care about the gaffe. I voted for Brown for 1 reason, to stop HCR. As for Rahm, who cut all the backroom deals with Pharma and the insurance compaines? I'd bet it was him.

Posted by: obrier2 | February 11, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The headline I remember is "Rahm to Reid: Give Lieberman What He Wants".

Then there's this from the Financial Times: "At a meeting of Democratic groups last August, Mr Emanuel described liberals as 'f***ing retards' after one suggested they mobilise resources on health care reform. 'We are treated as though we are children,' says the head of a large organization that raised millions of dollars for Mr Obama’s campaign. 'Our advice is never sought. We are only told: ‘This is the message, please get it out.’ I am not sure whether the president fully realizes that when the chief of staff speaks, people assume he is speaking for the president.'"

They should have passed health care reform with reconciliation in May. The failure to do that is Emanuel's for pushing the Baucus solution. Everything else stems from that. To use your sports analogies, Emanuel is like a quarterback who runs up the middle every time and is afraid to ever throw a pass. Even the Republicans had no trouble beating that game plan.

Posted by: akmakm | February 11, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"In the Senate, Democrats got all 60 of their members to sign onto the same large, controversial bill. That's a legislative achievement unheralded in modern times. Bill Clinton didn't manage it on any bills of this size and scope, and neither did George W. Bush."

Let us not forget that the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 won 62 votes on final passage, in a Senate that had only 50 Republican votes. I would say that was a pretty large bipartisan achievement, in both size and scope.

Posted by: JackIL08 | February 11, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Blind arrogance, even is small quantities is toxic; Rahm is loaded with it! I think he is learning that Chicago-style politics doesn't work with the broad spectrum of Americans. Emanuel, Axelrod, & Pelosi have set the Progressive movement back because of their total disregard of the will of the people. They seem to think they can govern for 35%; when they need to pay attention to the 65%. Their arrogant, condesending attitude has been too much for the public to bear.

visit: http:eclecticramblings.wordpress.com

Posted by: my4653 | February 11, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't disagree more with the statement that Alexrod's political shop could not have done much more.

When it is Ezra Klein--and not the White House communications shop--who manages to succinctly explain the bill in terms that any reasonably intelligent voter can understand AND SUPPORT ("Romneycare with cost controls"), something is SERIOUSLY wrong.

Plus, I won't even start to discuss how my.barackobama.com, and the whole web enthusiasm has been p*ssed away--I get too mad.

Posted by: wendellbell | February 11, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Seems like you're presenting a one-sided view here, as there's been reams upon reams of reporting that reveal Rahm's central role in crafting the policy positions and political strategies that have led the administration to its current woes. Maybe Axelrod deserves some blame, maybe Messina and Jarrett and others, but Rahm has made active disdain for the base the centerpiece of the White House's strategy to keep independents in its column. Very Clintonian, but not well-suited to the demographics and crises of 2010. Or as Andrew Sullivan has observed, "if it smells like 1993, it's Rahm."

Also, it should be noted that even if Ted Kennedy hadn't died the GOP would have targeted something other vulnerability to wreck the 60-vote math, whether it was Ben Nelson's Medicaid deal or abortion language or holding off a final vote until Byrd was hospitalized. When the Republicans argued they would make healthcare reform Obama's Waterloo -- back in *July* -- they meant what they said and they said what they meant, even if Rahm and you and other Beltway types ignored them.

Posted by: scarlota | February 11, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

I think there's plenty of blame to go around for the predicament Democrats are in right now. Truth be told, the health care reform bill should have been passed long before I voted for Martha Coakley in the general election. That Democrats couldn't get the job done is another reason -- besides the many flaws of Martha Coakley's campaign -- that Martha Coakley lost.

And there's plenty of blame for where we are right now. Max Baucus certainly deserves his share of the blame for, as you say, "playing footsie with the Gang of Six" when it became manifestly clear to the public that Mike Enzi, Olympia Snowe, and the Grasser weren't gonna cooperate. But House members and progressives aren't exactly blameless, either: by exercising their self-righteousness over the public option and by rejecting right out two very good candidates for raising revenue -- capping itemized deductions for wealthier taxpayers (the President's proposal) and capping the employer tax exclusion (the Baucus proposal), House members delayed passage of the bill several months. Had the all House committees passed its bill in early June or even mid-July (Energy & Commerce was July 31), Baucus wouldn't have taken until October to pass a bill. If Baucus wanted to cap the employer exclusion, the House, in order to deal with some of the unfair age, occupational, etc. effects of capping the employer tax exclusion, could have forced Baucus to accept a much stronger community rating and minimum benefits package applied to all markets -- including the self-insured -- and a stronger individual mandate. On the public option, the House could have forced a stronger employer mandate, a higher minimum level of coverage requirement, and higher subsidies. So there's plenty of blame to go around.

Now that's all water under a bridge right now. We can talk about the woulda, coulda, shouldas all we want. But at the end of the day, Democrats are going to have to come to terms that only they have the power right now to ease the pain and suffering of countless American lives. As Spiderman learned, with such power comes responsibility. It's up to them.

As a child, I listened to my grandmother tell me about how she almost lost her job as a teacher nearly 45 years ago because of her views on integration. I find it unthinkable that there was a time in this country's history where we would allow different schools for different races.

I am 30 years old. I know I will be worse off financially with this health care reform bill. But 30-40 years from now, I want my grandchildren to find it unthinkable that we would allow Americans to go broke -- let alone die -- just because they or their child got sick.

Posted by: moronjim | February 11, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I see the president out in front single handedly it seems taking on the party-of-NO while his entire cabinet and congressional leadership sit on their hands. Haven't heard a word from any of them. Healthcare reform is not a one man leadership test so why is the president's team still sitting on the bench? Where is the web campaign, media advocacy, Joe Bidden on the stump, even president Clinton? something screwy going on here.

Posted by: halsey49 | February 11, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

You spend too much time pointing to Ted, Martha and Scott. Focus more on what you said Rahm's job was: move legislation. Obama's centerpiece legislation, and it didn't get voted on until December 2009, and that wasn't even the final vote. The reason Ted, Martha and Scott even came into play is because Rahm *didn't* move this legislation.

In the House, the thing barely passed and only then because Progressives believed that the Senate Bill would knock out the Stupak Amendment. We can fluff the pom poms all we want about getting 60 votes in the Senate and a threadbare majority in the House, but it didn't pass the bill. In fact, even barring Ted, Martha and Scott, it wasn't a lock that something wouldn't come up to kill the final vote of it as the far end of the margins in both the House and Senate were made up of people who really didn't want to vote for the bill.

Who in the White House led the charge to cut the deals with Pharma, Ezra? Who in the White House took single payer off even the negotiating table at the start? Who in the White House back in *early* 2009 was already throwing the Public Option under the bus? Who twisted arms of Progressives, but let Blue Dogs run wild in watering down the process both in Committee and when it came to full vote?

Come on, Ezra. You're soft selling Rahm's role. His fingers were on this all the way, right down to trying to game the process so that the Hourse would be forced to eat all or most of the Senate Bill, which in turn was gamed to eat nearly all of the Baucus Bill, which was the Wellpoint Bill. Last I checked, wasn't the Worst Aspect Of The Bill as you called it still in there, with very little moved to get it *out*? And wasn't that straight out of the Wellpoint/Baucus Bill that the White House pushed all along?

Lordy... for your next trick you're going to tell us that folks overrated the role of Rove in the first six years of the Bush Admin.

John

Posted by: toshiaki | February 11, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Are you interested in issues facing the African American community? If so, tune into the PBS show Basic Black, the longest running show addressing people of color on television. Watch TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m EST LIVE at www.basicblack.org or on channel 2 in Boston. You can also participate in a live chat at basicblack.org starting at 4 pm.

Posted by: MardeniWGBH | February 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Whoever believed Mike Enzi and Chuck Grassley were negotiating in good faith deserve the blame.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | February 11, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course we can blame Rahm. And Obama. We all face an uncertain and unwritten future. We make our best plans and execute on them. Course corrections encouraged.

It's one thing to admit your plan didn't work, own up to the responsibility and move on. It's a far different thing to blame everything on the difficult situation we faced.

The difficult situation we're in is the purported reason we elected Obama. He chose Rahm as his right hand dude. Hear these guys adopt the "poor, poor pitiful me" is like a slap in the face.

Apologizing for them adopting this excuse should be considered equally objectionable.

Posted by: halhildebrand | February 11, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It seems that every right-winger has memorized and has learned to repeat the phrase "Chicago style politics." Apparently it's a talking point without actually an understanding of what went on.

I think Ezra is short-changing the role Rahm played in actively trying to alienate the base and pursuing a "beg for Snowe's support" strategy. Rahm's role was to take some good ideas in HCR and bargain away what he thought were the "liberal" ideas and hope that this would attract Republicans. And this was combined with a complete lack of any PR/messaging strategy in which the white house staff would have hit the airwaves every week pushing the White House's agenda.

Posted by: tyromania | February 11, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That's such an interesting take that it actually almost explains to me why certain people are rushing to Emanuel's defense, and in that sense is genuinely useful.

Let me try to illustrate how it's wrong, according to the other view:

"Emanuel wasn't part of the campaign"

-- Exactly. The campaign in which the candidate was in favor of a public option (and, years earlier, of single payer), became the Presidency that was willing to throw away that campaign promise, and then claim that it was never a promise. So Emanuel's being who took control of things just as it all went wrong is actually precisely the point, not beside the point.

"In this way, the lure of 60 votes was probably a curse for the Democrats"

---Exactly. So how can you see that, yet fail to see that Rahm Emanuel epitomizes and no doubt led the approach that insisted on giving Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson anything they wanted (these were Reid's exact words, he was told by Rahm Emanuel to "give Lieberman whatever he wanted") all in order to get the magic 60 votes, which was the wrong approach to begin with-- which you admit right here, while exonerating Emanuel?

It goes on from there.

I knew, the moment that Obama picked Emanuel, that any thoughts of the administration being progressive, or liberal, or even really Democratic actually, were gone. It would be "centrist", pro-corporation to a fault, and would value reaching out to Republicans far too much, especially since I knew that any reaching out would get ones hand bitten off.

Then, months later, I read that Harry Reid is telling me exactly the same thing, "it was a waste of time courting Olympia Snowe, it wasted months"...

..and slapping ones forehead in amazement and frustration is all you can do in response.

Yes, who could have possibly forseen that? Except of course those of us who did.

Message to President Obama: Your "attack dog" is biting all of the dinner guests and licking the hands of the burglars. It's time to notice.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | February 11, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord, Ezra. Fish rot from the head.
Obama never got out front and LED. Obama picked Rahm. For heaven's sake, put the blame where it belongs. Our nuanced, parsing president is one epic fail. And judging from past performance, the situation is unlikely to improve.

I say this as someone who voted for him. Ugh!

Posted by: kmblue | February 11, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@moronjim: "As Spiderman learned, with such power comes responsibility. It's up to them."

I don't think there's any politician in Washington D.C. remotely as cool as Spiderman. None of them can climb walls. None of them can spin webs, any size, and thus catch thieves just like flies.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The responses in this thread are depressing me. Let's see. We have one that insists it is indeed the Chief of Staff's job to do PR, citing Rove (whose job was equivalent to Axelrod's). Then we have someone that claims they didn't vote for Brown based on Coakley's Red Sox comment. They did it to kill health care reform! That's special. Then we have someone quoting the Financial Times on the "retard" story--a British paper that gets it laughably wrong. We also have the conspiracists, who are convinced Rahm's "fingerprints" are all over everything. Forensic evidence is coming.
No wonder everything is so screwed up. Rahm Emanuel is no angel, but really, this idea that a single individual is responsible for all that is wrong both with the administration and the Democrats in general is far too "explanatory." It's also insulting to the president and to individual members of Congress, who, according to this theory, must be "controlled" by him. They are perfectly capable of making mistakes and gumming up the works themselves. Emanuel has lost lots of battles in this administration, most notably (if you believe Jane Mayer this week), the argument of where to try the Christmas bomber. There is indeed plenty of blame (and some praise) to go around.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | February 11, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Please cut Ezra some slack. This kid is only about 25 years old.

Posted by: Roark_ | February 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

To JJenkins2:

"Conspiracy theories, evidence to come?"

Here's an article which has the following headline:

"Rahm To Reid: Give Lieberman What He Wants"

And starts with the following text:

"Obama administration officials were not pleased when word leaked out earlier today that the White House was leaning on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to cut a deal with Joe Lieberman on a public option alternative--and they gave their counterparts on the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. an earful about it. But in the end, sources are unanimous: The White House wants Reid to hand Joe Lieberman the farm."

You notice that the White House sources were "unanimous" about this.

Now, you're claiming that this article, the reporter, all of the sources at the White House, and the editor of TPM who has a stellar reputation as a journalist in DC, are all lying here, or inventing things in any case, somehow, all in concert.

And you're calling others "conspiracy theorists"?


http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/rahm-to-reid-give-lieberman-what-he-wants.php

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | February 11, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"Emanuel was brought in to help govern. In that capacity, his primary job was shepherding the administration's agenda through the legislative process."

Exactly. And how has that process gone? It looks stuck in the mud, to me.

of course, as Jim above said, there is plenty of blame to go around. But we can't fire the president, can we?

Posted by: toweypat | February 11, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

We castigated bush43 because they strong armed their own people as well as the Democrats in Congress. Well, I guess this just points out that as much as we had good reason to resent the strong arm tactics, it's exactly what is needed by the primadonnas in Congress (and particularly in the Senate).

With that in mind, President Obama needs to take charge & start kicking butts on both sides of the aisle. Rahm....well, he needs to keep any problems within the delegation private, and he needs to focus on the opposition more than cratering the base. I want Obama to have two terms.

Posted by: kindness1 | February 11, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, keep telling yourself that the problem was Martha Coakley's perverse hate for Red Socks fans, not the fact that the Dems' bills were "progressively" less popular the more they learned of them or the fact that the Dems were consumed with health care reform while the economy was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs month after month.

Posted by: tbass1 | February 11, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Sometimes I think you're smart and sometimes I think you're kinda dumb. This post makes me think you're kinda dumb. This was such a superficial look at the role and political tendencies of Emanuel that it kind of boggles the mind.

The only reasonable "exoneration" of Emanuel is that he is taking the fall for Obama's corporate welfarist tendencies. But he is undoubted a vigorous, vigorous proponent of inside the beltway, anti-populist right of center DLC politics. Your essay here fails to mention his role as "seasoned hand" upon which the newbie to the WH, BO, relied for strategy advice.

Posted by: michaelterra | February 11, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

It is rare to witness a person so obviously sell-out. I am sad for you, Mr. Klein, that your life is such that you felt you needed to write this column -- it was truly embarrassing.

Posted by: numediaman | February 11, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on. You last 2 commenters are way off base. Ezra isn't "dumb" because he disagrees with you. And he sure as heck isn't a sell-out, either--no one has advocated harder or better for health care reform.

Posted by: toweypat | February 11, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Klein is highly misguided if he thinks Brown won the Massachusetts election because some voters were alienated from Ms. Coakley because of her comments about baseball. His opinion reflects denial of the reality of disillusionment with Obama, as well as possible sexism, and definite scapegoating.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 11, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

toweypat,
I don't think he's kinda dumb because I disagree with him. I think he's kind of dumb here because his construal of Rahm's role is as though he is reading an official formal job description. There is no consideration of Rahm having roles that are not within his job description. It is too credulous.

Posted by: michaelterra | February 12, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Rahm, but really, let's put the blame right where it belongs, on the Republican Party. They've done a masterful job of using the oldest tactic in the book - divide and conquer. This thread is the perfect demonstration of that.

Posted by: stlyrface | February 12, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh for God's sake, Ezra.

Rahm was right in there amongst em while negotiating the Nebraska and Louisiana and Florida "special" deals, to get those votes, which deeply offended the very independents you needed to support passage.

Rahm was also deeply involved in "negotiating" with the pharmaceuticals and healthcare corporations ---in private---for free advertising to support the damm thing.

Gimme a break, Ezra. Your readers are much more informed than you think they are.

Sheesh

Posted by: auntmo9990 | February 12, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah the White House's legislative strategy here has just been MASTERFUL. I mean handing the ball to Max Baucus for months in the hopes that Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi would see the light? That was just brilliant. Taking reconciliation off the table early on (and thereby shifting all power first to the Finance committee then to Joe Lieberman)? Strategic genius.

Comparisons with Clinton and Bush are simply off-base. Bush never enjoyed this kind of partisan majority, and Clinton had inherited a party still in the process of its post-Civil Rights splintering.

Advocates of healthcare reform were very optimistic at the start of this process for a reason -- it's disingenuous to suddenly start comparing Obama's situation to Clinton's. The whole reason anyone was hopeful last year was because the situation is materially different.

Posted by: NS12345 | February 12, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"Please cut Ezra some slack. This kid is only about 25 years old."

You see that picture of him? I thought he was 14.

I kid, I kid. I'm a kidder!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 12, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The Financial Times has been running anti-Obama screeds practically from the moment he took office, and the Luce article is no exception. It's very obvious Luce only sought comments from those who support his thesis He even dredges up the Emanuel-wants-to-leave-to-be-mayor-of-Chicago rumour that never had any credibility to begin with to make his case. Weak sauce all around.

Based on everything I've read, from the major papers to the bloggers, there is ample evidence that Emanuel has his feet firmly rooted in reality while "the Democratic base" and the obstructionists in both parties pillory him because he's not saying want they want to hear.

Work with what you have to pass bills in a timely manner and build on your successes seems to be Emanuel's operating model. But the do-nothing obstructionists argue it's too much too soon, "the base" thinks it's not enough, and you have what we have now: gridlock.

Posted by: goldie81 | February 12, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, think about what you sayin':

Born under a bad sign
I been down since I begin to crawl
If it wasn't for bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck at all

quote Albert King, RIP

Posted by: mickster1 | February 13, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

what an amazing take on poor pitiful Rahm, either the fool or the incompetent. i gather Rahm is neither.

to watch people suck up to and excuse the lack of any leadership on this or any issue from the White House. HELLO!!! anybody home???

no wondering here, when the Republicans said they wanted to Waterloo Obama, they didn't just talk about. the Republican walk the walk. And Obama talks like a corporate Republican Lite spokesperson.

now what do those facts show. no doubts who is in charge, no matter who says what. simple things are simply seen.

wish i had a penny for all the times the Republicans say they are going to stop Obama, no matter what. I'd be as rich as Goldman Sachs

Posted by: BernardEckholdt | February 13, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Luck? You are kidding, right Ezra?

Branch Rickey said it best: "Luck is the residue of design.".

Many objected to Obama's choice of Rahm as COS as a horrible mistake from the very beginning, for precisely the reasons his management of Obama's "luck" is failing right now.

Considering the way Obama has been manufacturing his "luck", something tells me this is not the last time he will hear the left say "WE TOLD YOU SO!".

Garbage in, garbage out...Luck...pfft.

Posted by: centerista | February 13, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it:
THE THIRD RAIL OF U.S. POLITICS
By Dick Thompson/Washington (Time Magazine) Monday, Feb. 27, 1995
As Newt Gingrich tries to buzz saw more than $1 trillion out of federal budgets in the next seven years, Republicans are pressed to go where the money is. And there's big money in Medicare. Last year it weighed in at $162.5 billion and is expected to grow to $286 billion by the year 2000. However, previous attempts to tinker with the health insurance enjoyed by 36.3 million aging voters have earned Medicare the title of ``the third rail of American politics.'' Touch it and you're dead.

It is a tantalizing--but daunting--target. According to recent estimates, the Republicans can achieve their promised reductions if they hold back the projected growth of Medicare by 18% to 31%. ``Some days I think this is too much change to try to get through,'' says Gail Wilensky, the Bush Administration's Medicare chief and now a top adviser to congressional Republicans. Nevertheless, everyone agrees that reform must be carried out soon. One of Medicare's two divisions--the one that pays for hospital visits-- is running 23% ahead of revenues and is projected to go bankrupt in six years.
Read more:
www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,982587,00.html#ixzz0fXfcADbb

When you can afford to make multi-billion dollar loans to wealthy bankers in trouble, the retirees know that Medicare costs are not a problem...just a mean-spirited position. But Obama and Congress touched Medicare...duh!

denim39

Posted by: denim39 | February 14, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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