Turns out hyperpartisan White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was in the meeting when the language allowing for the AIG bonuses about which Democrats have been grandstanding overmuch in recent days was inserted into the “stimulus” bill”
“Right now, you get the feeling this is all about protecting [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel,” says a former Treasury Department lawyer, who worked in that department’s counsel’s office on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) before joining a D.C.-based law firm in February. “At the time, we were led to believe there were basically three or four people from the Administration at the table when the final deals were cut and one of them was Emanuel.”
“Emanuel isn’t talking” as White House officials try to pass the buck. Doesn’t sound like the Administration is doing much to follow through on the president’s recent pledge to break “a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.”
If the president wants to live up to his campaign pledge of post-partisanship, his commitment “new kind of politics,” he needs to fire Rahm Emanuel, a man who embodies the worst excesses of that old kind of politics against which Mr. Obama ran such an effective campaign.
Not just that, as I’ve said before, given the president’s particular strengths*, he need a Chief of Staff with a different skill set, a man who can serve a kind of prime minister, effectively running the government while the president sets the broad agenda. A master of scripted eloquence, Obama needs a detail man as his right-hand man. Not a partisan gunslinger with an axe to grind.
*UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin suggests Obama might see his new job as preferring to “campaign and hold summits, leaving the governing to others.” It would then follow that he should entrust that govering to competent and dispassionate indiviuals.