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The Problem in the White House

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Those of you who read these essays regularly know that I have been very displeased with the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff. He's no Leo McGary, that's for sure. He is not even a Dick Cheney, whose work for Gerald Ford was bent toward the accretion of power to a fumbling President. Rahm is a hot head and a profane ... not just profane, but actively and forcefully profane ... person. The smooth functioning of the Obama White House is his responsibility. Now you tell me: is the Obama White House functioning ... let alone smoothly?

Now comes the Washington Post with a long article about how perhaps the problems with this inglorious adminstration are that Rahm Emanuel is not listened to by Barack Obama. Horsefeathers! First, even if it were true that Emanuel is being ignored by the President (and believe me there are lots of reasons a hothead loses credibility), why would Obama keep him around at all? Rahm is an insult to the rest of the Executive staff, a martinet, a verbal abuser, and not smart enough to realize that he is at the pinnacle of power on this planet and due for a vocabulary and attitude make-over!

I think the article is the first in a developing story that Rahm Emanuel is on his way out. In other words, I read this article as a negative, not as a print. The people who think Rahm is being ignored are precisely the people who we do not want to lead. They are claiming that Obama is missing the art of the possible by being too wedded to his illusions. Well, bipartisanship is the only place where I see Obama completely deluded ... and listen! ... Rahm Emanuel was brought in to facilitate that process precisely because of his reputation as Majority Whip in bringing votes in the House to closure. Rahm has been stunningly inept at this with both the House and Senate from his perch in the West Wing. Not just stunningly inept. He has failed every test!

Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part. Maybe Rahm does have something to say besides "F*** YOU" to the denizens of D.C., but if he is not smart enough to have gotten the ear and the imagination of his boss, nor has he accomplished simple tasks like getting holds on appointments out of the pockets of Republican pranksters and ideologues, he does not deserve the job. You name it, Rahm has failed. The article has to be the overture to his swan song.

Obama will treat him well, I am sure. Perhaps he should be Ambassador to Israel.



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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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