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June 21st, 2010 6:24 pm
This Was Obama Being Pragmatic?
Posted by Print

The press is abuzz today with rumors that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will be leaving his West Wing post in the near future, likely after the midterm elections. While the White House denies the allegations, the UK Telegraph lays out the following rationale:

It is well known in Washington that arguments have developed between pragmatic Mr Emanuel, a veteran in Congress where he was known for driving through compromises, and the idealistic inner circle who followed Mr Obama to the White House.

And it’s equally well known that Rahmbo has consistently lost. As Jonathan Alter relates in his new book “The Promise” (which, in its lust for Obama, would be better titled “The Gospel According to Jon”), Emanuel vigorously fought the Administration’s plan for a comprehensive transformation of health care in favor of smaller, more incremental victories. For all of his bravado, Emanuel — who, along with Chuck Schumer, engineered his party’s takeover of Congress by embracing moderate and conservative Democrats — is indeed a pragmatist, not a liberal True Believer unable to brook compromise.

This staff shakeup, should it happen, will put the White House on a dangerous trajectory. Emanuel’s incrementalist views have been steamrolled during most of his tenure in the administration. If, even in that position of weakened power, he can’t be accomodated in the halls of the West Wing, then we can expect the “idealists” to be running the show in the second half of Obama’s term. That means that in the aftermath of what will likely be at least a partial Republican takeover of Congress, Obama will be moving further and further towards liberal purity.

If you think the administration is out of touch now, wait until they banish even internal dissent.

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