I don’t think I have ever seen such an infatuation with a President’s Chief of Staff, ever. It really is insane.
This time in the Hill:
Democrats in Congress are holding White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel accountable for his part in the collapse of healthcare reform.
The emerging consensus among critics in both chambers is that Emanuel’s lack of Senate experience slowed President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.
The share of the blame comes as cracks are beginning to show in Emanuel’s once-impregnable political armor. Last week he had to apologize after a report surfaced that he called liberal groups “retarded” in a private meeting.
No one, of course, is on the record. That doesn’t slow down Americblog:
Emanuel has presented himself as the all-powerful. He’s led Obama’s presidency into a tailspin (and Obama let him). While Emanuel hasn’t worked in the Senate, his Deputy Chief of Staff, Jim Messina, is a long-time former Senate staffer. How Emanuel and his crew destroyed the Obama brand so quickly will be the subject of debate for years to come.
Meanwhile, back at the Hill, this portion of the story that will get overlooked:
“I like Rahm; he’s always been a straight shooter with me,” said a Democratic centrist senator who was closely involved in the healthcare debate.
The lawmaker said Emanuel misjudged the Senate by focusing on only a few Republicans, citing Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins as too narrow a pool.
“In the Senate, you have to anchor in the middle and build out,” said the lawmaker.
“They just wanted to win,” the source said of Emanuel and other White House strategists. “Their plan was to keep all the Democrats together and work like hell to get Snowe and Collins. The Senate doesn’t work that way. You need a radius of 10 to 12 from the other side if you’re going to have a shot.”
Anyone want to take a wild guess how Americablog and others in the progressive blogosphere would have reacted if Obama and Rahm had passed a bill in the Senate that appealed to 12 Republicans? I can hear the screams. There would be ActBlue accounts by the dozens to primary Obama.
It just never stops. And if Rahm steps down, they’ll just find someone else to act as the bogeyman.
Starting to look like Ted Kennedy’s seat is up in the air, and may very well go to a Republican. Be nice if someone in the liberal blogosphere would notice and efforts would be made to provide some support, whether it be volunteering or matching the Brown moneybombs. Likewise, it would seem to some that some concern should be shown about the fact that the New York race is shaping up to be a fight between a moderate Democrat and a very conservative DINO. Shoring up the left flank there might also be a worthy endeavor.
On the other hand, I do understand that the high crimes and misdemeanors of Rahm and Gruber are probably bigger priorities and more important uses of progressive energy. Good thing progressive icon Chuck Grassley is riding to the rescue. No doubt Grover Norquist has some thoughts on these issues, as well.
But don’t worry- once Democrats are in the minority, then we’ll see the change we were promised.
The firebaggers are at it again:
Dear John –
For almost the entirety of the health care debate, the Obama Administration has relied on economist Jonathan Gruber to make the public case for its idea of reform – even the most unpopular parts. But as Firedoglake revealed on Friday, the Obama Administration has failed to disclose that it paid the same economist more than $780,000.
Jonathan Gruber’s work has been cited by the White House, Members of Congress, and countless media outlets, but not once did the Obama Administration disclose it was paying him more than $780,000 in tax dollars. This is a huge ethical violation that undermines the entirety of health care reform.***
The Obama Administation’s $780,000 “buy-an-economist” scandal threatens to shake the foundation of health care reform. We need to get to the bottom of this.
The truth is that this is no big deal. Gruber’s grant is from HHS, not the West Wing; it’s basically the same kind of thing as, say, an epidemiologist receiving a grant from the National Institutes of Health. You wouldn’t ordinarily say that this tarnishes the epidemiologist’s credentials as an independent analyst on infectious diseases, unless you want to say that nobody receiving a research grant can be considered independent.
The only reasons you might see this differently would be if Gruber were either receiving a sweetheart deal, or seemed to have changed his views to accommodate his sponsors. Neither is remotely true. Gruber is very much the go-to guy on modeling reform: it’s hard to think of who else could be doing the work better. And his position on reform has been entirely consistent.***
What the folks at Firedoglake should ask themselves is this: do you really want to become just like the right-wingers with their endless supply of fake scandals?
The bottom line is this: Jon Gruber is a technical expert, some of whose research has been supported — entirely properly — by government agencies. And we need his input into policy.
Actually, yes. They do thrive on an endless supply of fake scandals. Once we bring down the Obama administration and bring to power the vaunted teabagger progressive alliance, we are gonna party like it is 1994.
And that was noted O-bot Paul Krugman, whose open contempt for Obama and Obama’s health care plan were clear for all to see during the primaries last year, debunking the BS.