The New York Times has this fascinating story (three pages worth of it) where they try as hard as possible to whitewash the all-encompassing role Rahm Emmanuel has in the Obama Administration. Yet they can’t quite get past the fact that (a) Rahm practices Chicago bare-knuckle politics (to put it mildly), and (b) nobody likes this guy; not even the President he (allegedly) works for.
Even more interesting is that Rahm appears to work from sunup to sundown with only 10-minute private meetings with the President bookending the days. So, essentially, Rahm runs around like a loose cannon unsupervised all day long.
WASHINGTON — As White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel was the one to bring the hammer down on Sidney Blumenthal. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wanted to hire Mr. Blumenthal, a loyal confidant who had helped her promote the idea of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” more than a decade ago. But President Obama’s campaign veterans still blamed him for spreading harsh attacks against their candidate in the primary showdown with Mrs. Clinton last year.
So Mr. Emanuel talked with Mrs. Clinton. 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, Emanuel is emerging as perhaps the most influential White House chief of staff in a generation. But with his prominence in almost everything important going on in Washington comes a high degree of risk.
As the principal author of Mr. Obama’s do-everything-at-once strategy, he stands to become a figure of consequence in his own right if the administration stabilizes the economy and financial markets, overhauls the health care system and winds down one war while successfully prosecuting another.
If things do not go well — and right now Mr. Obama’s political popularity is declining, his health care legislation is under conservative assault, the budget deficit is at an eye-popping level and Afghanistan remains volatile — it is Emanuel whose job will be on the line before Mr. Obama’s.
Although relentlessly deferential to the president, Emanuel is clearly more chief than staff. At times, it seems as if Emanuel is White House chief of staff, political director, legislative director and communications director all rolled into one. He has fingers in almost every decision, like who gets invited to social events at the White House and how to shape economic and foreign policy.
Where Mr. Obama is known for cool detachment, Mr. Emanuel presses until the breaking point, then presses some more. “The president has a zenlike quality,” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod. “Rahm is a pile driver.”
“Zenlike Quality.” As in, detached, uninterested, disengaged; uninvolved, maybe? The Tweet i saw that tipped me to this story said, “Yes, Rahm runs the show, takes orders directly from Soros.” While the article doesn’t address it for all the dancing around the issue, it certainly seems like Obama is not necessarily the one in charge.
Whom that “person in charge” might be is left to the imagination. But I’d put good money on Soros being somewhere in the mix.