Jan 21, 2010
Barack Obama should fire Rahm Emanuel today.
He has not served the President well as chief of staff.
One year ago, Obama took the oath of office riding a wave of
goodwill. In the next six weeks, his popularity continued to soar. But
now it's hit bottom, and so have the Democratic prospects, after the
debacle in Massachusetts.
Rahm Emanuel is responsible for a lot of this free fall.
Emanuel is a DLC Democrat, and he's advised Obama to go in a DLC
direction time and time again-and to disregard the progressive base.
On health care, Emanuel kept insisting that the public option was
not very important. He helped engineer the under-the-table deal with
the drug companies. He let Max Baucus dillydally, rather than push hard
for a vote before last summer. And then he and Obama bent over
backwards to placate Senators Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman rather than
force a vote, via the reconciliation process, on a decent progressive
health care bill.
"The only non-negotiable principle is success," Emanuel likes to
say. But that's the very definition of being unprincipled. And by being
unprincipled, he's delivered defeat.
On the economy, the all-important issue, Emanuel urged Obama to
disregard the advice of Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, two Nobel
Prize-winning liberal economists, who publicly predicted that we'd have
10 percent unemployment by now if Obama didn't propose a bigger
stimulus package last spring. Emanuel and Obama's other political
advisers said the pricetag was too high.
Now Obama is paying for it.
Of course, Obama chose Emanuel for the job, and Emanuel may only be guilty of carrying out his boss's wishes.
But Obama can't fire himself. And he needs a chief of staff with the
wisdom to help point him down a bold, progressive path. The Emanuel
path is a dead end.
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