Monday, February 23, 2009

Ryan Lizza "Hearts" Rahm Emanuel: Glenn Greenwald Dissects The New Yorker's "Love Letter" to Rahm

Glenn Greenwald of Salon.Com has released another irreverent essay, which ensures that he will forever remain an edgy blogger, rather than becoming a writer for a mainstream media conglomerate. In his latest essay, Greenwald dissects a "love letter" (also known as an "article") on Rahm Emmanuel that appears in The New Yorker.

Here's a clip (from a very lengthy essay):

[]The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza has written a very lengthy profile of Emanuel -- almost 5,300 words -- that is so reverent, one-sided, and glorifying that it is hard to believe it wasn't written by Emanuel himself. In fact, much of the piece consists of Emanuel praising himself and Lizza writing it all down uncritically. It's almost impossible to walk on the streets of Washington, DC, without bumping into a vehement critic of Emanuel, but Lizza doesn't manage to include any comments from any of them.

Instead -- like a writer from People Magazine wanting to ensure continued access -- he confines himself to quoting only Rahm's best-est friends: David Axelrod ("one of Emanuel’s best friends"); Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen ("a friend of manuel’s"); and Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg ("an old friend" whose DC house Emanuel lives in). Other than Lizza's inclusion of some light mockery by Fidel Castro of Emanuel's name, those are the only people who are allowed to speak about Emanuel in Lizza's piece (other than Emanuel himself).

We thus "learn" from Lizza's story that Emanuel really loves his kids ("I’m going to finally get to see my kids after a month. So that’s all I give a fuck about," and at the end of the interview, "he seemed more cheerful, knowing that he was that much closer to seeing his family"); he's "one of the more colorful Beltway celebrities . . . known for both his mercurial temperament and his tactical brilliance" and for "intimidating opponents and referees alike but never quite losing himself in the midst of battle"; his first-grade teacher praised him for "being larger than life"; Emanuel was key to the "historic" stimulus victory ("The last President to preside over a legislative victory of this magnitude so early in his Administration was Franklin Roosevelt"); he has been dealing with Congress "politely and with due deference"; when he spoke about his grandpa ("Gramp"), "his eyes welled up with tears"; Obama's selection of Emanuel "shows that [Obama] is honest enough about what he doesn’t know to try to fill in the gaps in his own experience" and reflects "an emphasis not on ideology but on details and problem-solving."

Rahm, you see, is -- as his good friend Stan put it -- "not an ideological Democrat. He’s not ideologically liberal. He comes out of Chicago politics, which is more transactional." He gets things done. Every political slogan of the Obama White House -- pragmatism over ideology; we're problem-solvers not partisans -- magically weaves its way into Lizza's narrative paean to Rahm. The only thing missing is Rahm's favorite color and recipes (though we do learn one of his winter get-away spots: Park City, Utah).

Check out the rest here: Ryan Lizza's People Magazine love letter to Rahm Emanuel.

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