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Does Rahm Emanuel feel ignored?

I know every president has to deal with stories about how his predicament wouldn't be so bad if he'd just listened to [fill in omniscient White House staffer here]. But does anyone else get that squirmy uncomfortable feeling about the Rahm-is-God stories that have run in The Post about White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel? The pieces brim with frustration on behalf of the man tasked with guiding President Obama's agenda. Which makes me wonder why that man continues to hang around.

Dana Milbank got the ball rolling last month when he wrote, "Obama's first year fell apart in large part because he didn't follow his chief of staff's advice on crucial matters. Arguably, Emanuel is the only person keeping Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter." Then came this from today's profile by Jason Horowitz, who writes that a new view of Emanuel is taking hold that is contrary to his rough-and-tumble image: "Emanuel is a force of political reason within the White House and could have helped the administration avoid its current bind if the president had heeded his advice on some of the most sensitive subjects of the year: health-care reform, jobs and trying alleged terrorists in civilian courts."

Let me point out that both reporters note that Emanuel did not talk to them about their pieces. Still, this can't be going over well in the West Wing, particularly in the Oval Office. Emanuel was ambivalent about taking the job. And it's unclear whether his job is really in any danger. But Milbank posed a relevant query during a Feb. 22 online Q&A about his column. "A better question is why [Emanuel would] want to stay on the job if his advice isn't being followed." That's a question President Obama ought to put to Emanuel. And what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall to hear the answer.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 2, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: What Obama 'left out' about the uninsured


This is a fun story. I hope the Post columnists stay with it.

If Rahm didn't talk to Dana do we know where the latter got his version of the events in question?

If Dana's version is indeed correct I think, through medium of Rahm's position on the issues, we get a peek at how Hillary would have governed. Frankly, better than this president, in my humble view.

Posted by: Roytex | March 2, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Emanuel didnt talk to them but his staff probably did ....ask Charlie Rangel...the staff is always the problem...never him...he walks on water...with Pelosi and Obama !!!! The only thing that is confusing about Rahm is that he is supposedly Jewish yet he backs Obamas policies --which are strictly anti-Israel..
I guess Poers, Mitchell,Susstein, Jarrett and allthose other pro-Palestinians have more sway with Obama on that matter.. Rahm start looking for another position...your current one will be occupied by someone else in 2012 because this Administration will be kicked to the curb -countdown begins this November.. and Chrissy "Tingles" Countdown - Matthews wont be too happy... or Olbermann or Maddow or Dowd or Collins or Rich or Huffington or MSNBC and all of their koolaid drinkers.The list is endless- better get some stock in Kleenex folks.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | March 2, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Yeah! WTF!

Normally, you're an idiot Mr. Capeheart - but you've hit the nail on the head this time.

WaPo! Quit humping Rahmbo's leg! He still won't answer your calls unless he wants to talk to you!

Posted by: DonRitchie | March 2, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan, Rahm Emanuel's advice has been heard loud and clear. It's been taken and it has utterly failed. And you should report on that fact instead of acting like President Obama never listened to him.

Obama and Emanuel dumped the public option which was the most popular part of the health-care bill; they struck back-door deals with big pharma and big insurance which turned what was left of the "reform" bill into a giveaway to them; they have increased the penalty that a person faces under the forced mandate; they have fought off attempts to pass drug-re-importation laws to preserve those very same deals they struck with corporations; and they have mandated that every single American be forced to buy insurance from merciless, corrupt, and profit-driven insurance companies without giving us a choice of a public option. If that is not an example of the Emanuel strategy to go right and go corporate then I don't know what is.

What Emanuel is arguing in all of these pieces is that President Obama should have gone small, even though he was elected with a sweeping mandate. AND that he should go even more Republican in the hopes of maybe someday attracting Republicans. Rahm Emanuel thinks Obama should adopt Republican policies to get Republicans to vote with him. What a brilliant strategy!! I mean all those things Obama campaigned on, those policies he ran on, those REASONS the voters voted for him in the first place....forget about them. And this whole notion that Rahm Emanuel is a hapless little nobody who is barely listened to is a little rich considering the NYTimes was writing about how he was more "chief" than "staff" and how he is the second most powerful man in America only behind the President. As an early Obama supporter and as a close observer of this health-care bill seeing Rahm Emanuel waltz into this White House after the brutal struggle to get Obama elected and begin a push for Obama to adopt even more rightward corporatist policies has enraged me.

President Obama needs to fire Rahm Emanuel because, as he put it himself, he only wants to tinker along the edges of reform; adopt Republican policies on civil liberties like indefinite detention-which Dick Cheney loves btw; water-down bills to the point that they become another corporate giveaway; and alienate the Democratic base-which he has impossibly done.

This new Emanuel dictated article reads like a desperate attempt to cling on to his job. I guess it's another brilliant Rahm Emanuel strategy to publicly disparage his boss to keep on to his job. The day he gets fired can't come soon enough.

Posted by: magnus_terra | March 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs only to listen to himself and what he campaigned on and he would be fine.

Posted by: Lincoln74 | March 2, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

1. Ezra Klein has the best take on this: that the defenders of Rahm are people who believe nothing matters but poll numbers and re-election, but not actually accomplishing anything while clinging to power.

2. Jonathan misses the point in asking why Rahm stays. The relevant question is why hasn't Rahm BEEN FIRED for deliberately orchestrating this media defense of himself at the President's expense. What it tells me, regrettably, is that the President really is as weak as I have come to fear that he is.

Posted by: uh_huhh | March 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

not after the attention this very publication has been showering on him, he doesn't feel ignored. He's taken this paper for quite a ride, even dictating a column through a surrogate. why would you ask?

Posted by: daphne5 | March 3, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Compared with the likes of DeParle, Gibbs,Axelrod, and Jarrett, Emanuel is shining star. It doesn't take much in this failed administration.

Posted by: suegbic1 | March 3, 2010 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Actually, no, "every president" doesn't have to deal with leaks against him by a particular, named staffer. Especially leaks by the Chief of Staff and his allies against the boss. This shows Obama's ship is taking on water after, what, 14 months? Amazing.

Posted by: ringo2 | March 3, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Rahm Emmanuel is the Karl Rove of the Obama administration. He needs to go. He's managed to destroy a good chunk of Obama's strategies, and alienated the base that worked tirelessly to elect Obama by treating it with contempt once it was no longer needed.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | March 3, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

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