Friday, November 07, 2008

More Emanuel Speculation

One thing is certain: Rahm Emanuel is a controversial pick:

Rick Moran - Emanuel Posting Could Mean War with GOP
You could probably write a book using all the stories and myths about Emanuel’s ferociousness, but some who know him best say he has mellowed a bit on the Hill and that he is an excellent choice for Obama’s chief of staff. For all his partisanship, he has successfully worked with Republicans when he was in the Clinton White House, most notably on the North American Free Trade Agreement. One Democrat said of him, “He’s got a deeply held set of views, but he also understands to get things done you have to compromise.”

Glenn Reynolds, however, thinks Emanuel is more to shield Obama from his own party:
Emanuel will serve as Obama's hatchet-man and Dr. No, but the main targets will be Congressional Democrats and Democratic interest groups. Obama realizes that he's promised a lot more than he can deliver, and Emanuel's job will be to stave off all the claimants who -- as they realize that too -- will try to get to him before it's too late. Obama can stay the good cop, while Emanuel will be the bad. Republicans flatter themselves if they think they'll be the focus of Emanuel's attentions; they'll be an afterthought.

Timothy P. Carney is concerned with Emanuel's ties to Wall Street:
Four elections later, after getting rich in a brief stint in finance, Emanuel is the favorite congressman of Wall Street, measuring by campaign contributions. In the midst of a financial crisis that President-elect Barack Obama blames on Wall Street’s greed and excessive influence in Washington, Emanuel is once again headed to a perch of power in a Democratic White House, this time as chief of staff.

As for me, perhaps I don't know enough about what the Chief of Staff does, but it seems to me that he controls more how the White House runs, not what it works on. And for that I suppose Obama should have whomever he wants. They're supposedly good friends, and Obama trusts him. And in Washington it probably doesn't hurt to have a strong, trusted fighter watching your back.

Hopefully this doesn't indicate the start of a trend, though.

Update: Over on HuffingtonPost, Emanuel is essentially getting the nod from former chiefs of staff on both sides.
"He was just very well organized," said Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton's former chief of staff and Emanuel's ex-boss. "He knows the White House inside and out and now, obviously knows Capitol Hill. So he has all the qualities you basically need to be a great chief of staff. Part of the job description is you have to be an SOB to be a chief of staff, you have to have somebody who makes the tough decisions... There are decisions the president ought not to make that the chief of staff has to. My sense is Rahm will do that."
Fellow speaker Ken Duberstein, who served as chief of staff for Ronald Reagan, echoed many of Panetta's points. ..."He will run a White House staff that is very disciplined," said Duberstein, "but his challenge will be with the president's outreach and building coalitions on the Hill, saying no to the president elect's most important constituencies and keeping the White House on a schedule."

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