When he was selected last year by President Obama to be his chief of staff, it was assumed Rahm Emanuel was chosen so he could be the new President’s muscle. His public reputation, earned during his years in the Clinton administration and in Congress, where he also for a time headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and publicly feuded with Howard Dean over electoral strategy, was one for being something of a head cracker. He was, after all, the basis for the character of Josh Lyman on the West Wing.
Nevertheless, as the national health care debate has unfolded, both in and outside the hallowed halls of Congress, the Democrats have too often allowed their opponents to hijack the agenda and the Democrat-controlled Senate Finance Committee recently voted down two amendments for a public health insurance option, which many Democrats believe is an essential piece of reform.
Whatever one thinks of the public option, this looks bad for the Democrats. With 60 votes in the Senate, a huge majority in the house and their guy ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania, how do you not get this done? Politically speaking.
Which brings me back to my original question. Where is Rahm Emanuel? Isn’t this precisely what he was hired for? To crack heads to get Democrats on the Hill in line with the President’s agenda.
For that matter, and this is what sparked my train of thought after reading George Will’s column on the President’s futile trip to Copenhagen this morning in the Herald, where was he when his boss decided to undertake that little adventure? If you’re as tough as Rahm Emanuel is reputed to be, don’t you close the Oval Office door and refuse to open it again until the President concedes it isn’t his role to lobby the IOC?