Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama names Rahm Emanuel his chief of staff. So what does it mean?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Clintonite and Congressman Rahm Emanuel has accepted Obama's offer to be his chief of staff.

Like David Corn and Ezra Klein, I'm ambivalent about it. On the one hand, Emanuel hasn't exactly been an ally of the liberal-progressive elements in the Democratic Party. On the other hand, he's a tough, hard-nosed insider and aggressive partisan with White House experience. So what does his appointment mean? What does it signal with respect to the Obama presidency?

-- Is Obama signalling that he prefers centrist Clintonism to progressivism, that he'll govern from the center and twist arms as required?

-- Is Obama signalling that he'll be aggressively partisan with respect to Congress, that he's tough and ready to do battle?

-- Is he signalling anything at all?

Here's how I put it on Wednesday: "I'm not sure this signifies much. It's too early to conclude that Obama will govern from the 'center,' or that he will align himself with the less progressive side of the party. What is essential is that Obama have a chief of staff in whom he has full confidence and can place his full trust. Emanuel, in that regard, may be right for the job."

In other words, this is about the very close relationship that a president has with his chief of staff. The president must like and trust his chief of staff. That was certainly the case with Bush and Card and it also seems to be the case with Obama and Emanuel. Emanuel will likely be more of a hands-on, policy-oriented chief of staff, but, in the end, his job will be to run the West Wing and manage Obama's internal and external relationships. If Obama thinks that Emanuel is the right man for the job, then so be it. End of discussion. I trust Obama's judgment.

Then again, as Corn puts it: "Emanuel might make a good CoS for Obama. He knows how the White House operates. He knows how Congress works. He's fierce; he's smart. And Obama needs someone with experience and brains for this tough job. But should the White House of a president seeking change be run by a fellow who has done so well in the conventional and monied ways of Washington?"

For now, I'll give the president-elect the benefit of the doubt.

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9 Comments:

  • What’s fascinating about Obama's victory is the dynamic of who voted, how they voted, and what drove them to vote. Obama’s campaign created a wave of energy that grew bigger and bigger as his campaign moved forward, engulfing (in a good way) each supporter and supercharging them. How did they do this? It all started with a vision. Obama’s vision, planted deep within his mind, began to take root almost 2 years ago today. The power of his vision can teach every American citizen about how to accomplish goals using the powers of visualization and intention.

    I looked into this vision questing further and found that many super-successful people have been using vision boards to help focus their mind and accomplish their dreams. A vision board is a collage of images pasted on a board that represent your desired outcomes, your goals, and dreams. By studying your vision board, your brain gains clarity on what is important to your success, the things you MUST accomplish. I found a site www.TheVisionBoardKit.com that allows you to download a free 8-step power plan to creating vision boards. I’d highly recommend downloading it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:33 PM  

  • sadly Vanessa's blog is just typical of how the American mind works at this fragile jucture in world stabilisation GREED!!! She is highlighting a download at a cost to people who will grasp at anything to change there lives, When right in front of your yes is the man who will change your lives for you. Obama is a morph of several great world leaders, kennedy, luther king, Ghandi to name a few, he is a visionary and when I was watching thersults flood in on a stop over in Philly My heart leapt and I feel that there is a positive Karma flowing from this man. As a proud Irish man who has served in the defence forces for 24 years I have seen the effect of War, poverty , greed, despots and self indulgence and our world is spiralling out of control, its time for unity, humility, peace, respect love an peace a Obama is the catalyst for this and with Emanual at his righthand side this to me , personally is the second coming of whatever God you believe in...GIVE HIM A CHANCE

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:47 PM  

  • Rahm Emmanuel did such a good job with Freddie Mac when he was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2000. That really worked out well.

    Thank God Obama rushed this Bill Clinton Cronie into the White House.

    Change, you should have counted on!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 PM  

  • Just to Correct my over zealous typing Dave O'Shea is the name and apologies for my typing

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:50 PM  

  • This guy is mean! He's been their, so were is the change?? Nothing new, nothing different. Not a good sign.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:06 PM  

  • Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king's horses and all the king's men
    Couldn't put Humpty together again.

    http://nomedals.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Jason, at 4:05 PM  

  • What Obama seems to be doing is getting his agenda set for the new White House. Choosing Emanuel as his Chief of Staff was agood move. And bringing on Larry summers would be another. It's all about who's going to get the things done that need to be done.

    By Blogger TheHypeAround..., at 4:57 PM  

  • Does anyone know if Emanuel is a neo con? I know he has strong ties to israel, being an orthodox jew and working on a kibbutz. But, I'm curious to what his views are on the new american project.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:32 AM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:26 AM  

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