Have some sympathy, and some taste

I’m not big Rahm Emanuel fan, but I thought this interview with him was quite good. On the GOP:

IC: How do you think the GOP has changed since you left Washington in 2011?

RE: It has been going downhill. Washington is not broken. The GOP is broken.

On local politics versus national politics:

IC: You don’t have a Congress that prohibits you from passing the smallest thing.

RE: We have fifty aldermen but we do have a … hmmm.

IC: A working majority?

RE: [Bursts into laughter.] We have a can-do spirit. Washington doesn’t think they have a lot on the line. We have a lot on the line.

That’s a very good description of what’s so screwed up about the GOP in Washington right now: they don’t give a fuck, they don’t think they have a lot on the line beyond their jobs.

And on Israel, vey candid:

IC: But why is there the will (for a peace deal) now?

RE: Hamas is as weak as it’s going to be. Abbas is ready to work with Israel. Israel has a security concern involving geography. But geography does not have the same value it did in 1967. And I want to say that there is nothing I just said that major figures in the national security apparatus of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and Israel haven’t said publicly. Nothing!

IC: Sometimes American politicians can’t say things that have already been said in Israel—

RE: You are not allowed to here! Because the American—well, for whatever reason, that is a whole different debate. I don’t want to talk about this. It is not my business. I don’t really care. But Israel’s national security apparatus has concluded what I have observed. [Laughs.]

I still think the guy’s an asshole, but it was an interesting interview.

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55 replies
  1. 1
    Chris says:

    That’s a very good description of what’s so screwed up about the GOP in Washington right now: they don’t give a fuck, they don’t think they have a lot on the line beyond their jobs.

    Yep, this is the root cause of all our problems. We are ruled by people who don’t give a fuck, and really have no reason to. The creation of the entire Wingnut Welfare Circuit provides their politicians with a club that’ll take care of them no matter how they do in office and even if they leave or are defeated, and they’re actually more scared of being kicked out of that club than they are of losing an election. The 1% whose money makes all that possible, in turn, also have no accountability – as we saw in the 2008 crisis, they can golden-parachute their way out of even their biggest fuckups, and as Bain Capital and others showed us, quite a few of them are now at the point where they’re intentionally ruining company after company for their own profit – IOW, fucking up is a feature not a bug.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    Why am I supposed to care if he’s an asshole? I don’t want all of the politicians on our side to be assholes, but we could use a few more.

  3. 3
    Digital Amish says:

    Sure, he’s an asshole. But he’s our asshole and everybody needs an asshole.

  4. 4
    Roger Moore says:

    We have a can-do spirit.

    As opposed to the GOP, who have a “won’t do while there’s a Democrat in the White House” spirit. I don’t think the GOP doesn’t give a fuck or think they don’t have a lot on the line. They care deeply about what goes on in Washington but have a fucked up agenda. They firmly believe that it’s better to wreck stuff now so they can get back in charge than to have a functioning country with the other party in power.

  5. 5
    MGB says:

    As a Chicagoan, I would like to extend to Mayor Emmanuel a hearty “Fuck You! I can’t wait to vote you out of office in 2015.”

    That is all.

  6. 6
    RSR says:

    They’re ‘can-doing’ all over the public education and pension systems of Chicago and the State of Illinois. The guy is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  7. 7
    EconWatcher says:

    @MGB:

    I left Chicago before Emanuel was elected, but will love the city forever. What in your view has he done wrong?

  8. 8
    srv says:

    At least Rahm wasn’t all milquetoast like the current CoS McDonough.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    I don’t want to talk about this.

    Then don’t.

    (Really, would the topic even have come up in an interview with a non-Jewish mayor?)

  10. 10
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Yeah, he’s an asshole. He’s also a a smart asshole. Personally, I’d prefer a few more smart assholes in our party.

  11. 11
    MGB says:

    @EconWatcher: Well, there’s the issues with CPS and the massive cutting and closing of schools. The battles with the teacher’s union, related to CPS funding. Snow plowing, and not doing it as well as Daley (you lived here, you know that’s an issue). The aftermath of the parking meter deal. Don’t think I can blame him for the Ventra debacle, but dammit he appointed Claypool to run CTA, and that whole thing was another sweetheart deal that’s just not worked well.

    Plus I never really thought he would be a good mayor, and voted for Del Valle in that election.

  12. 12
    reality-based says:

    @MikeJ:

    because he’s a really incompetent asshole, and he’s a self-serving one to boot.

    Read Charles’ Pierce on this – After Howard Dean rebuilt the Democratic party in the 2006 mid-terms, Emmanuel took all the credit for recapturing the house – which was actually due to Dean’s organizing.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....h-12386811

    to quote Pierce: “Perhaps the single most overrated political figure in the administration of two consecutive Democratic presidents,”

    Emmanuel just recruited a bunch of Blue Dogs; he threw money at his candidates, many of whom lost, and the rest of whom proceeded to vote with the GOP half the time. (cf: Schuler, Heath.

    also, Emmanuel supported Lieberman in Connecticut.

    Not to mention, as COS in the first Obama admin, turning the ACA over to Max Baucus to blow up in the Senate was Emmanuels idea. He also knee-capped the Public Option, and co-operated with a self-serving Washington Post piece, the gist of which that only Emmanuel was competent in the Obama White House.

    Nothing against assholes = just want them to be USEFUL assholes.

  13. 13
    greenergood says:

    ‘You are not allowed to here! Because the American—well, for whatever reason, that is a whole different debate. I don’t want to talk about this. It is not my business. I don’t really care. But Israel’s national security apparatus has concluded what I have observed. [Laughs.]’ Oh PLEASE – Rahm the dual passport Isreali-American, and his friends, are those who have made it impossible to ‘talk about it’ in any rational form. If you try to talk about Israel’s apartheid policies regarding the Palestinians, then you’re branded an anti-Semite. ‘You’re not allowed to here!’ Why Rahm? this is supposedly the country of free speech – so tell us Rahm, why aren’t we allowed to talk about ‘things that have already been talked about in Israel’? This is coming from a man who was only a few heartbeats away from two US presidents, but he ‘doesn’t want to talk about it’.

  14. 14
    Waynski says:

    He’s not an asshole. He’s a dick. And dicks f@ck assholes. South Park 101.

  15. 15
    DougJ says:

    @Digital Amish:

    Not totally sure he’s one of our assholes. I lean toward thinking he is, but I’m Rahm-agnostic at best.

  16. 16
    DougJ says:

    @NotMax:

    His father had just gone to Israel on some kind of trip or mission.

  17. 17
    EconWatcher says:

    @greenergood:

    When Emanuel said “you’re not allowed to talk about that here” he was stating a fact about the environment in the US, and it seemed pretty clear to me that he was saying that environment is wrong. It didn’t sound at all like he was saying you shouldn’t be able to talk about such things.

  18. 18
    DougJ says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Yes, that’s what he meant. I was impressed that he said this (though of course every sane person I know who’s spent time in Israel also says this).

  19. 19
    Cacti says:

    @greenergood:

    This is coming from a man who was only a few heartbeats away from two US presidents, but he ‘doesn’t want to talk about it’.

    Que?

    The President’s chief of staff is not in the constitutional line of succession.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    @DougJ

    And that is relevant how?

    If comment is needed on the topic, interview the father about it.

  21. 21
    chopper says:

    OT, but the union of concerned scientists have a report about the MSM’s accuracy in climate change reporting.

    FOX was accurate in its reporting…28% of the time. it’s like magic.

    (apparently, it’s up from 7% a year back so, huzzah)

  22. 22
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cacti: Maybe he was being literal- like physically Rahm could cover the distance that quickly

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    But Israel’s national security apparatus has concluded what I have observed.

    Military establishments tend (not always true, tend to) deal in actual reality. Israel’s has the same problem that ours has…honest military assessments of situations often conflict with political fantasy. In the US, it’s the neocons who have fantasies. In Israel, it’s the Likudniks. I realize that that the overlap between those two groups is substantial, but anyhoo….

  24. 24
    Eric U. says:

    R.E. has screwed with Democratic voters a little too much for my taste. However, this was a good interview, and Democrats should mention that the Republicans are broken more often. The fact that the Republicans would rather screw things up when a Dem is Prez should be repeated over and over. And too many Dems parrot the “both sides do it” bullshit

  25. 25
    dedc79 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The Gatekeepers is a recent documentary that gets into this exact issue. The whole movie is interviews with the last few heads of Israel’s Shin Beit (the equivalent of our FBI), each of whom favored a negotiated two-state peace agreement, and most of whom made quite clear they don’t think much of the Netanyahu government.

  26. 26
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Is there some reason the mayor of Chicago is opining about foreign policy involving Israel? (I mean other than being an AIPAC tool and having divided loyalties as a citizen of Israel.)

  27. 27
    dedc79 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Is there some reason you spouted off without reading the linked article, which made clear that he was asked about Israel after he had mentioned to the interviewer that his dad had recently made a trip there. It’s also a curious criticism on your part, given that what he was saying amounted to a pretty thinly veiled criticism of the current Israeli government.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dedc79: Yes, what you said.

    If anything Emmanuel is being critical of the current Israeli government’s position on this.

  29. 29
    Chyron HR says:

    @dedc79:

    Yes, good goyim. You can trust the dual passport Israeli-American.

  30. 30
    Eric U. says:

    @dedc79: you took the bait, hook, line and sinker. This is his schtick. I would say it’s trolling, but it’s all so ironic that it doesn’t seem to be an apt description

  31. 31
    bemused says:

    Republicans in Republican run states don’t give a rats ass either.

  32. 32
    Keith G says:

    Rahm Emanuel is a very smart guy. I do not always agree with the choices he has made, but his operating system is designed to interact with the real world

  33. 33
    dedc79 says:

    @Eric U.: So before I bother. Is it the same situation with Chyron HR too?

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chyron HR: Given that what he’s saying strongly implies criticism of the current Israeli government’s policy, I think you’d be wise to revise and extend your remarks and not be so kneejerk.

  35. 35
    dedc79 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I’m sure he draws similar conclusions about the loyalties of those americans who hold dual passports for countries other than Israel, and that he similarly draws those conclusions without even bothering to read what they said/wrote.

  36. 36
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Rahm Emanuel is the antichrist, fools.

  37. 37
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    I still think the guy’s an asshole, but it was an interesting interview.

    I believe that even Rahm Emmanuel’s friends think he’s asshole.

    .

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: I don’t care much for him either, and would never vote for him (well, OK, if the alternative were Rand Paul or Mitt Romney…) but at least on this once issue he’s got a valid point. That there are things that American politicians “can’t say” because AIPAC throws shitfits if they do, and pointing out that a two state solution might just be the best of a whole series of bad options is one of the things that AIPAC will throw a conniption over. See Christie’s use of the words “occupied territories” in front of Sheldon Adelson, for example.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OT but the racist douchecanoes at Noisemax are really letting their Confederate battle flag fly today:

    Ex-NY Cop Dietl: Sharpton Known as ‘Fat Rat’

    So Sharpton provides info on organized crime to the FBI and Noisemax objects to this, siding with the Mafia? What, is Ruddy bankrolled by Michael Corelone or something?

  40. 40
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Digital Amish:

    Sure, he’s an asshole. But he’s our asshole

    What do you mean “we,” Kemo Sabe?

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:

    Chris:

    Yep, this is the root cause of all our problems. We are ruled by people who don’t give a fuck, and really have no reason to. The creation of the entire Wingnut Welfare Circuit provides their politicians with a club that’ll take care of them no matter how they do in office and even if they leave or are defeated …

    Not to mention that most of the Republican Reps. don’t have to worry about re-election, because they’ve gerrymandered the House so successfully that more than 55% of the country can hate their guts and they’ll still maintain a House majority.

  42. 42
    Anne Laurie says:

    @JGabriel: Oh, c’mon. You think we’re going to believe that Rahm Emmaneul has friends?

  43. 43
    🍀 Martin says:

    @JGabriel: Rahm himself would be the first to admit it. There’s nothing wrong with being an asshole so long as good things come from it. If you piss off half the world but you cure cancer, then fuck half the world – they’ll get over the fact that you weren’t very nice solving the problem. But you sure as fuck better solve the problem if you expect them to get over it.

    That’s the difference between an asshole and a dick to my definition. A dick pisses people off for the sake of pissing them off – that’s the goal. An asshole usually has a larger goal, and pissing people off is just a side-effect. That goal might not be a positive one (Dick Cheney) or it might be a dubious one (Steve Jobs) or might be a noble one (Barack Obama) but everyone agrees they value some goal ahead of the feelings of the general public. And we don’t universally dislike assholes, because we recognize that it’s a symptom of someone with that kind of drive, but we need to support their goal in order to like them. Lots of musicians and movie stars are assholes, but we like their work, so they’re cool with us.

  44. 44

    My favorite quote about Rahm here at Balloon Juice. “Michelle started a vegetable garden so Rahm would have a place to hide the bodies”.

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Is there some reason the mayor of Chicago is opining about foreign policy involving Israel?

    Because they asked him?

  46. 46
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Noam Chomsky Emmanuel

  47. 47
    Eric U. says:

    @dedc79: I can only keep track of a few of these people at the same time, I forget who is a troll/joking and who is simply misguided.

  48. 48
    JGabriel says:

    Anne Laurie:

    You think we’re going to believe that Rahm Emmaneul has friends?

    Heh. I am reminded of the famous quote from Oscar Wilde on George Bernard Shaw:

    Mr. Bernard Shaw has no enemies, but he is intensely disliked by all of his friends.

  49. 49
    JGabriel says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    If you piss off half the world but you cure cancer, then fuck half the world – they’ll get over the fact that you weren’t very nice solving the problem.

    True. I’m not big on Democrats screwing with the teacher’s union or other unionized employees, so I pretty much lean towards anti-Rahm on a lot of issues. On the other hand, he doesn’t back down when he disagrees with Republicans or get all wishy-washy, which I respect.

    I’m not overly fond of the ACA (wanted single-payer or at least a public option), but it’s helped a lot of people and it’s potentially a stepping stone to even better coverage. We’ve been trying to improve healthcare in this country since Truman, and Emmanuel helped push it through Congress.

    So, for the meantime, I withhold judgement.

  50. 50
    TG Chicago says:

    @JGabriel:

    I’m not overly fond of the ACA (wanted single-payer or at least a public option), but it’s helped a lot of people and it’s potentially a stepping stone to even better coverage. We’ve been trying to improve healthcare in this country since Truman, and Emmanuel helped push it through Congress.

    Rahm wanted to give up on the ACA after the Dems lost Ted Kennedy’s seat to Scott Brown. FLOTUS convinced POTUS to keep at it, thankfully.

    And as others have said above, as mayor of Chicago, he has consistently taken the side of the Big Money Boyz over the interests of average Chicagoans.

    Fuck a Rahm.

  51. 51
    mclaren says:

    Between mailing people dead fish and stabbing his knife into the kitchen table while screaming out the names of his enemies and calling them “Dead!” this guy is your next president after Hillary Clinton.

    The sheer viciousness and sociopathy of Rahm Emanuel ensures him high office.

    Wait: it’s only a matter of time before we get President Emanuel.

  52. 52
    mclaren says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I don’t care much for him either, and would never vote for him (well, OK, if the alternative were Rand Paul or Mitt Romney…)

    Bingo.

    There you go.

    Nowadays, the alternative is always a Rand Paul or a Mitt Romney. The Republicans are so insane and so creepy that it gives the Democrats carte blanche to run the farthest-right plutocratic ass-kissing thugs they can, and this is exactly what’s gone wrong with the Democratic party.

    50 years ago Rahm Emanuel would have been considered a particularly savage and sociopathic Republican, judging by his policies. Today he qualifies as a leftist simply because he doesn’t publicly advocate biting the heads off live puppies.

    Today, every election is an emergency. Every electoral cycle is a do-or-die death struggle in which any Democrat put on the ballot (no matter how cruel and contemptuous of the bottom 80% of the population) must be elected or civilization will end, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! Basically, the worst parts of the Old Testament.

    This is not the way to run a country. Nothing good can come of this.

  53. 53
    Mandalay says:

    @mclaren:

    Wait: it’s only a matter of time before we get President Emanuel.

    Completely unpossible, thank goodness, since he is only 5′ 7” tall. Everything else becomes irrelevant next to that.

  54. 54
    Nathanael says:

    Emmanuel is a jerk, and he’s often wrong, but *he isn’t crazy* and *he isn’t an idiot*.

    Which unfortunately is better-than-average for our recent politicos. And far better than any high-level elected Republican since Charlie Crist changed parties.

  55. 55
    Nathanael says:

    @mclaren:

    Yeah. I have been calling the Republican Party of today an apocalyptic death cult, since that’s the classification which seems to fit. Not good when half the country is supporting apocalpytic death cultists. I think this *has* happened before, in ancient history… it never ended well.

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