"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." --Attributed to Mark Twain
I have never been a great fan of Rahm Emanuel. In his clips, he seems to relish his image as a foul-mouthed, vengeful pit viper. He looks like one, too. Don't get me wrong. At least he's a vertebrate. Karl Rove is one of those poisonous Australian jellyfish. He sleeps in a jar of seawater at night.
I know that even Democrats need people like that, but as Barack Obama morphed into Hopey McChange, I found myself surrendering my Buddhist principles of compassion for human folly. I devolved into reptilian animosity toward Rahm Emanuel, who came to represent for me all the failings of the Obama White House. I wrote letters to my influential media contacts, begging them to expose him. They didn't even respond to say no. This inflamed my anger even more.
When Coakley conceded, I had a raving fit and told my wife that Rahm Emanuel was a creepy Israeli [unprintable string of utterly noxious ad hominem epithets that only a Jew like me can apply to another Jew] who should be exiled to his father's basement in Tel Aviv. Anita said, "Well, he may very well be an unsavory character, but I don't think you should say things like that. Are you sure his father lives in Tel Aviv?"
The Massachusetts result was foreordained when Rahm Emanuel drove Howard Dean out of the party power structure. Dean would have been on top of the situation long before the primary. He would have been in touch with the younger people and known why she was so widely disliked by the Massachusetts party insiders. Coakley might have been nominated anyway but funds and resources would have been deployed much earlier.
Rahm purged the man who invented a new form of political campaign and in the process gave Democrats the massive victories of 2006 and 2008. He then substituted Beltway centralism for Dean's grassroots (and/or netroots, if you will) approach to operational politics. Instead of embracing Dean's followers as a counter balance to the corporate whoremasters, Rahm went out of his way to trash them.
"There are no liberals left to get," Rahm Emmanuel said during the health insurance reform scheme-athon. Yep. Well, you just changed that, tough guy.
- President Obama is surrounded by enemies, a prisoner in the White House with various guns -- literally and figuratively -- pointed at his head. He needs a Chicago-style political gangster as a bodyguard who is 100% loyal to him and no one else. I doubt that he would be inclined to make any changes.
Recommendation:Rahm must make an accommodation with Dean. Otherwise, 2010 is going to be a repeat of Massachusetts, and Barack Hussein Obama will probably be a one-term president. The most troubling aspect of Massachusetts is that the GOP now has a viable presidential candidate and his name is Scott Brown. This is not Sarah Palin. This is a very astute politician who looks like an action figure and can talk like a sane person when he wants to.
- Joe Biden was right about Afghanistan. He knows how things work, and he knows what it is to be a Democrat. He hasn't enriched himself in office. He has the best security credentials in Washington, if unfortunately on the side of repression. He's no Dennis Kucinich, but he can add and subtract, an uncommon skill among high-ranking politicians.
Recommendation: The President should use Biden as a counterweight to Rahm. The Vice-President can probably broker a deal with Dean and act as a political center to unify the party for 2010.
- I would speculate that if 51 votes ruled in the Senate, the Democratic Party would be able to give the nation a record of accomplishment that would merit its favor in 2010. Joe Biden has observed, "This is the first time every single solitary decision has required 60 senators. No democracy has survived needing a supermajority."
Recommendation:The filibuster has to go. Its modern use was established to protect the rights of the Dixiecrats, who have evolved into today's Republicans. The red states are an exact match for the slave states and territories. The results are exactly what you would expect. We are paralyzed by their venom. And we have begun not merely to rot, but to stink.
Jules Siegel is a long-time writer, photograph and graphic artist, reporting now from Cancun, Mexico.