It now seems certain that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanul will be departing Washington for Chicago where he is set to run for mayor.
Let’s hope he doesn’t let the door hit him on the way out.
Mayor Richard Daley has done Obama a great service by removing a dead hand on his presidency if Emanuel decides to run to replace him.
On a number of levels Emanuel was a grave disappointment.
He was particularly so on issues such as immigration where his overly cautious approach meant that no bill was every formulated to bring about immigration reform and Obama was never out front on the issue.
He misled the Hispanic and indeed Irish lobby continuously on that issue causing a very irate Congressman Luis Gutierrez to proclaim Emanuel to be the biggest snake he had encountered around Washington in his time there—and that is saying something.
Even on health care, Obama’s signature issue, he was the one ready to settle for far less than what Obama eventually succeeded in winning.
As a creature of the House and backroom deals, Emanuel had forgotten what pure committed advocacy looked like.
Mario Cuomo once remarked that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Emanuel took all the rhetoric that got Obama elected, that had inspired millions of our young voters especially and helped turn it into mush.
Now Obama is realizing that his greatest gift to America, his idealism and inspiring message to young people has become mired in a presidency that too often offered only clichés and tired rhetoric while Americans suffered.
George Bush Senior named it the vision thing, that indefinable quality that great presidents like Reagan and Kennedy seem to be able to summon effortlessly.
Rahm Emanuel was the block on that vision thing for Obama, never allowing him the sweeping rhetoric and grand vision that drove him to the presidency in the first place..
He will not be missed.