This WaPO piece is another in a series of recent articles about how Rahm Emanuel is the only voice of practicality, incremental change, and reason in the Obama White House (I wrote about an earlier piece here).
I’m not at all sure why this particular meme is being pushed right now. Anger of the press at the other members of Obama’s Gang of Four (Gibbs, Jarrett, and Axelrod)? I doubt it’s love for Emanuel, who seems universally disliked for abrasiveness. But whatever the reason—and I invite you all to do the requisite Machiavellian speculation—I happen to think that the gist of it is the truth—although probably not the whole truth and nothing but.
Consdier that Emanuel has by far the most national and legislative experience of anyone in Obama’s inner circle, and that includes the president himself. Say what you will about Rahm, but he was actually a member of the House of Representatives from 2003-2009. He also served as a strategist in the Bill Clinton White House from 1993-1998, an administration ultimately known for a more incremental, poll-driven approach to policy and governing. Later, as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he helped craft the Democrats’ congressional comeback of 2006. After that he was even considered for the post of Majority Whip.
Compare this experience to that of David Axelrod, whose entire background is in journalism, media, and campaign communication and organization. Or to Robert Gibbs, likewise, and Valerie Jarrett, a lawyer whose previous experience was limited to local Chicago politics as an aide to Mayors Washington and then Daley, and Chicago business.
These three are not just Obama’s consultants on campaigning; they appear to be his main advisors on nearly everything. I’m not surprised that they have given Obama poor advice, and that his agenda has been hampered as a result, or that he failed to listen to the cannier Emanuel. I have come to see Obama as a committed “progressive” socialist ideologue as well as a man who only listens to his inner Chicago circle of old and trusted advisers, to which Emanuel is a relative newcomer.
[ADDENDUM: Here’s more.]