Friday, November 07, 2008

Change or Narrative?

One decision does not a Presidency make, but the choice of White House Chief of Staff is an important indicator. President elect Barack Obama promised change, something that resonated deeply. During his acceptance speech, he encouraged us to “resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”

How does Obama's new Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel measure up? Newsweek reported:

Rahm Emanuel has been described as a street fighter with a killer instinct—as explosive, profane, wired and ruthless—sometimes as a compliment, sometimes not.

Emanuel has relished raising his hacked-off middle figure at his foes. In conversation with almost anyone about anything, Emanuel uses the F word like a sergeant in a World War II motor pool.

As a Democratic Party official, he once sent a pollster who was late delivering polling results a dead fish in a box. Old Clinton hands still laugh about the night after Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election. In his book, “The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution,” Chicago Tribune deputy Washington bureau chief Naftali Bendavid writes that, as about a score of them sat around a picnic table mushily declaring their love for one another, Emanuel picked up a knife and called out the names of different politicians who had “f–––ed us.” After each name, Emanuel would cry out, “Dead man!”—and stab the knife into the table.

The American Prospect offered:

Emanuel is a brawler. He’s legendarily tough and effective and ruthless. He's the type of guy who makes enemies, then makes lists of his enemies, then makes lists of his enemies’ friends, then makes lists of how they’ll pay. If you thought the Obama administration would be all about bringing people together and would simply make sad faces when stubborn congressmen refused to come to the table, this is a clear sign otherwise. If good feelings don’t suffice, bareknuckle politics will happily be employed.

I found the McCain/Palin ticket all fiction and no substance. Don't tell me I fell for a more uplifting version. I badly hoped for one that wouldn't involve the middle finger or breaking of same.

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