Friday, December 18, 2009

Rahm Emanuel Tells Liberals To Kiss His Arse

According to the Wall Street Journal, Rahm Emanuel has "shrugged off" liberal opposition to the Senate healthcare bill. Although one liberal senator (Bernie Sanders of Vermont) says he will not vote for the measure, Emanuel says "[t]here are no liberals left to get."

Emanuel's comment indicates that the White House will not lobby for the reinsertion of favored liberal provisions like the public plan and Medicare buy-in. According to many published reports, Emanuel himself instructed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to remove the provisions from the bill under the guise of appeasing conservative Democrat Joe Lieberman. But as several commentators have argued, this position undoubtedly reflects the will of the White House, which could certainly explain why President Obama has remained stealth during most of the debates over healthcare reform.

Rahm's statement also declares "victory" against the political Left. He feels that he does not need to negotiate with liberals in Congress because they will not make the critical "mistake" of failing to support the healthcare bill. But Emanuel is forgetting one important thing about recent political events. Liberal members of Congress did not elect President Obama. Instead, liberal voters, along with a coalition of Independents, secured Obama's victory.

By reducing the struggle over healthcare reform to an internal Congressional battle, Emanuel ignores the very activists whose work was instrumental in Obama's election victory. If this behavior continues, Emanuel will probably have to dust off his resume in 2012. Arrogance is very ugly. Good luck!

For the record: I never trusted Emanel or Obama. I still do not.

Update: People have emailed me asking "what do you mean you did not trust Obama?" Here is what I mean.

I did not believe that hype that portrayed Obama as transcending politics. Instead, I viewed him as a politician. Rather than doing things calculated to achieve a liberal transformation of society, Obama would and has done things calculated to achieve his own reelection -- which means doing some things for his base, striving for the middle, and giving monetary prizes to corporate interests.

In the absence of sustained social movement and voter pressure, even liberal-leaning presidents will aim for the center or right. Obama is not different. So, I did not join the liberal mania that portrayed him as a folk hero of leftwing politics. I have written on this many times. See, e.g., here and here. That is what I meant about not trusting Obama.


Charles Harper said...

Hello Darren: I have never heard another brother breaking ranks (you do not trust Obama). You are departing from orthodoxy. Is there a post explaining your position? I would like to read it. I am from Chicago, and we only ever trusted Harold Washington. Every other politician was not to be trusted. That is my excuse. What is yours?

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Charles: In an "update" to this article, I linked two posts from the past on this issue. There are several others, but these two explain enough. Well, here's one more: If Obama Emulates Lincoln, Will Progressives Follow Abolitionists and Radical Republicans?

PS: Orthodoxy is for unthinking people!

Femmeflame said...

I think you are brilliant.

I'm from the Caribbean living in Canada. I have an international interest in how historically fledgling social justice movements inside or outside of power change over time. I've tried to pay attention to the gap between the ideals, the projections and what really happens/happened.

Everytime I asked liberals friends in the States what Obama's record of voting was before becoming president....they didn't know and they would bristle and intone "He will" to my question if he showed a past committment to the issues we were speaking about...

He will?

I wish I could say more but I have a prime minister up here in Canada bent on continuing to kill any support for change for the planet in Copenhagen that impacts his Bush buddies.

On the other side of the States... watching the IMF return to Jamaica and the old horrors of its adjustment demands made new again.


Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hi, FemmeFlame. Typically, all we hear in the US media is that everyone outside of the US was euphoric about Obama's election. I have always viewed the "euphori" as largely media driven. Clearly, the media made tons of money selling Obama; now they are making tons of money selling his sagging ratings. Argh.

Femmeflame said...

. I come from a place of complex race politics and tried to think about complex social politics. Sometimes my the `buildings in my head' that are the orthodoxies blind me like anyone else. I also stood thinking wow I got to see this in my lifetime when he won. However (and this is my quirk)I also have had to study the rise and fall of progressive politics internationally in countries `of colour' after the colonies were `given up' by colonizers(or shall we say `given over to corporate citizens'. In short: Someone considered of the underclass is given power through popular movement. They are unable to or unwilling to combat the forces there for profit for a few. They become that, or manifest that even more strongly.

From the outside - It was a surface skin deep victory for those of us who say we are interested in social justice.

America is still trapped in a black-white dichotomy. And it is that orthodoxy of one must be good and the other bad that plays out as well in this.

Obama is Black but first and foremost he is an American politician. I am a Black woman and if I've learned anything it is I must continually scan the horizon and put my ear to the ground to see who is not being served where I might be enjoying a benefit or a reprieve. I don't think a Black man in power was going to give a benefit... and he was very clear that he wasn't gonna go that `my people' route. He continues to serve the old regime. Whether that's a matter of being told that its impossible to stop the war and sign in healthcare for all. I don't know.

Beyond this insanity of continued warfare and this devaluation of healthcare which means to me a continued unhealthy and frightened population who cannot stand up and fight for its own survival domestically or internationally (Noble prize? Really? I was in Austin, Texas that day- people should have been out in the streets demanding that he earn that prize by calling home the troops)

What I see is fear that calling Obama to (campaign) task(s) is to be called a traitor or a racist.

I see the old 80s and 90s dialogue about race unable to pull itself out of stagnation... At its easiest will people just say well -"He's only half that explains it" ? Really?

At the end of the day...the only promises I wish to hold him to that affect me personally are these two ( I won't even bother on the queer marriage thing because he was atleast clear about that)

1) Guantanamo Bay - shut it down.

2) Honour the trust given to you when you dared to politic in Indigenous communities.

I'll be in Jamaica in a few days. I'll check in on the street where folks are at on this tip.

Done blathering for now....

Aspasia said...

@FemmeFlame: Odd that you talk about America being stuck in a black-white dichotomy, then turn around and call Obama "Black" when he has a white mother. Part of ending that dichotomy you spoke of is not continuing to apply the noxious, silly, pseudoscience of "hypodescent" aka "the one-drop rule" to any of us who are mixed "racially".

Obama is moving Guantanamo north to my backyard and from what I've been reading the flaws that were in the Guantanamo system aren't going to be eliminated just because the prisoners are in Illinois.

As far as Obama and gay marriage... he also promised ending things like ENDA, DADT, which DOES effect you. Let me explain so there's no confusion. ENDA is the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. This effects everyone in the work force regardless of their sexual orientation or what they feel about gay rights because any tool of discrimination automatically disrupts production flow. So, say, your office needs some genius computer programmer, who happens to be, oh, a transwoman. So she's discriminated against because of her trans status and your office loses out on a valuable asset- her genius. If there is a case that goes to trial, that costs the company time/money, its reputation and standing- which also translates to wasted time and money (rebuilding rep via PR people...which need to be paid). Doesn't benefit anyone, not even the person bringing the suit who would undoubtedly prefer to be working rather than sitting in court fighting for a basic right.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell ends up discharging valuable soldiers and from what I hear from lesbians in the armed forces disproportionately affects women. Regardless of which sex is more affected, the fact remains is that the US armed forces are discharging men and women who provided much needed services in areas such as, oh, Arabic, Korean and Farsi translation and communication. This has widespread consequences and as such affects us all.

But no, those of us in the LGBTQ community and supporters are being told "be patient", it'll come "soon enough"... as though civil rights should only be given on the non-affected's timetable.

One doesn't need to be a member of a community to be affected by the injustices done to those people in the community. You are affected by more injustices than you realize in ways that seem minute but occasionally make themselves known while you wonder, "Gee, why did THAT happen?" An injustice to one anywhere is an injustice to all everywhere.

FLRN said...

Darren - Looks like you (we) have been right all along. You have such a gracious way of telling fellow progressives "I told you so!" In order to fix healthcare you have to understand what is broken and it appears most in the WH just don't want to see it! What a shame as this reform is going to be just more of thesame.

The disappointment for liberals is becoming like the disappointment felt at the break up of a love relationship.

I fear this reform is going to be simple milktoast.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hi, FLRN. It's like the end of a love relationship where one partner idealized the other.

Let's talk!

libhom said...

Emanuel should be fired ASAP. He is destroying the Obama administration.

Femmeflame said...

@ Apasia: I'm calling him as he calls himself. The stunted dialogue on race in America is too large a conversation for short hand ie we're on the internet. Clearly there is a difference between colour blindness due to the proven fallacy that diversity based on visuals are proof of different `races'. I'm clear about the difference between a scientific reality with little difference from human to human and a social construction for justifying serious hierarchy.

What I find interesting: How is it that folks can leap to science to descredit a genetic fallacy when what someone is talking about is a social construction of power. Both are in action. One does not cancel out the other.

I personally am more interested in what historic and current power relations are between identities captured under the term "POC" with strong attention to race and class.That's what I mean when I say I don't care about the narrow Black-White dichotomy.

Just so you know where I stand.

Guantanamo: I'd love to see it closed down completely but considering America has done a NIMBY for most of its stuff. Would it moving closer as in IN your backyard cause Americans to get busy shutting down the various organizations born on its soil that's done a great job stimulating the `need' for such camps? If so, hope so.

You've assumed my status actually in terms of orientation. I passed over challenging him on things he's been clear about not supporting to talk about the 2 he has been clear about defining change on. I'm not straight, however thanks for enlightening the rest who may be straight and don't know about the lack of protections that might be highlighted if he was more willing to look at not only sexual orientation but gender orientation.

Glad those are on your Xmas list for the President. I stated my own list.

As for Don't Ask, Don't Tell: You don't have to tell me about it. My last ex is about to be deployed in March. Perhaps you'd have to talk to her to discuss what her hesitation is about it.
Really tho' I am not quite sure what coming out has to do with what a critical goal - which for me is ending war.

An injustice to one is an injustice to all? I agree and I'll say for me- it starts in rectifying some of the original problems that built America.

My Xmas list continues to include Indigenous issues.


Femmeflame said...

@ Apasia: Correction re POC relations: I meant strong attention to gender and class.

Femmeflame said...


Back to the original topic: This came up. I am not sure who funds this online newssource but I saw it yesterday. When you take care of the most vulnerable you are more able to take care of everyone. I'm not getting into a fight about illegal vs legal residents.

If this is indeed the case: Fire Emanual and get Sims and Duterte in the front ranks for their methodology for providing to the uninsured.

Aspasia said...

@FemmeFlame: Aspasia

1. Not going to argue anymore about race and genetic expression and social construction. Agree to disagree.

2. I didn't assume anything about your orientation. I made my post based on the assumption that you think those issues don't affect you. That has nothing to do with your orientation. Beyond that, there are plenty of people within several communities who think the problems affecting that community don't have anything to do with them.

For example, a gay friend of mine said, "My job knows I'm gay, so I don't have to worry about ENDA, it's not the military so DADT doesn't apply to me and my boyfriend and I don't want to get married. Why should I care?" You'd be right to assume that he's a selfish little brat.

3. In my backyard as in, 45 minutes away from my house. Clear enough? As far as Guantanamo, it's not WHERE the prisoners are held that is the problem with me (if you re-read my post) but HOW the prisoners are being treated. But I think we agree on that point.

4. Native Americans and the injustices done against them, unfortunately, don't get looked at twice outside of a throw away line around Columbus Day. Unfortunately, since they aren't a politically powerful minority, they're always ignored.

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