August 16, 2009

OKAY, WE ALL GET HOW WASHINGTON WORKS...:

Emanuel Wields Power Freely, and Faces the Risks (PETER BAKER and JEFF ZELENY, 8/15/09, NY Times)

[M]r. Emanuel talked with Mrs. Clinton, said Democrats informed about the situation, and explained that bringing Mr. Blumenthal on board was a no-go. The bad blood among his colleagues was too deep, and the last thing the administration needed, he concluded, was dissension and drama in the ranks. In short, Mr. Blumenthal was out.

Perhaps nothing illustrates how far Mr. Emanuel has come than that conversation last month. Sixteen years ago, it was Mrs. Clinton, then first lady, who helped have Mr. Emanuel demoted as a senior official in Bill Clinton’s White House after he ruffled feathers with his aggressive style. Now all these years later, it is Mr. Emanuel telling Mrs. Clinton what she cannot do as a member of the cabinet.

Seven months after moving into his office in the West Wing, Mr. Emanuel is emerging as perhaps the most influential White House chief of staff in a generation.


...in exchange for leaking like a New Orleans levy, Mr. Emanuel is given these sorts of toast-buttering profiles by those who depend on him. But W brought in a strong executive as his chief of staff and, despite Florida and BDS, Congressional Quarterly did a report on his legislative record for 2001 that showed the Congress had adopted his position on legislation over 70% of the time, a record of accomplishment that they compared to LBJ at the height of the Great Society. President Obama brought in a legislator as his chief and can't get any meaningful legislation through a Democratic Congress: can't cut taxes; can't restore the assault weapons ban; can't pass immigration reform; can't pass the unintended pregnancies bill; can't close Gitmo; can't get out of Iraq; can't pass cap & trade; can't pass health reform; etc...etc...etc... We're perfectly willing to see Mr. Emanuel get the blame for this singular lack of achievement, but it does suggest he's more powerless than powerful, unless power only refers to bureaucratic squabbles within the Executive.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 16, 2009 9:48 AM
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