Friday, February 12, 2010

WaPo's Ezra Klein Defends Rahm Emanuel; Says Growing Criticism Is "Weird"

Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein has defended Rahm Emanuel against a growing number of critics who insist that he is bad news for President Obama. Klein argues that "[i]t's a bit weird to see so much blame accruing to Rahm Emanuel for the administration's woes." More specifically, Klein contends that:

I'm not an Emanuel fan, as it happens. In most of my reporting, he was not particularly pleased with doing a big health-care reform bill in the first place, and at multiple steps along the way, he's argued for scaling it back dramatically. But his personal opinions aside, I'm not sure what else he could've done in shepherding the bill through the process. And if Martha Coakley hadn't insisted on mocking Red Sox fans, health-care reform might well have been signed by now and the White House would've pivoted to a more populist argument about jobs and banks while being able to brag about the largest legislative achievement since Lyndon Johnson.

Bad luck has left them in a very different place than that, and a lot of people want someone to blame. But given the precise contours of Emanuel's job -- keep the White House running smoothly and help craft its strategy with Congress -- I'm not convinced that he's the right guy. What's clearly the case is that his strategy stopped being suited for the circumstances the day Scott Brown won the election. But after a week of readjustment, the White House seems to be doing what it can to take control of the process, and I'd say it's too early to tell whether its new approach will work.
So, "bad luck" explains the series of problems -- not the administration's top political strategist. For contrary opinions, including my own, see: Democrats Offer Scathing Criticism of Obama's Senior Staff.

Earlier this year, Klein defended Obama against liberal critics who argued that by dropping the public plan option during Senate negotiations, President Obama betrayed a campaign promise. Klein made the utterly inaccurate assertion that the Senate bill and Obama's campaign proposals were "remarkably similar." See: Ezra Klein's "Pink=Blue=Colors" Logic Regarding Healthcare Reform.

See also on Dissenting Justice:

OK, We Get It: The Washington Post "Hearts" Rahm Emanuel!

Rahm Emanuel: Ghostwriter for Dana Milbank?


Anonymous said...

And if Martha Coakley hadn't insisted on mocking Red Sox fans

Now that's priceless. As in, un-freakin'-believable.

Really? So it's Coakley's mocking Red Sox fans that "explains" the incompetence (or worse) of the Rahm Emanuel's... oops, sorry, Obama's administration?

Seems everyone (i.e., every knee-jerk Obama apologist) is pointing fingers in all the wrong directions, assigning responsibility but where it really belongs: with Obama himself.

BTW, I avoid reading Klein on principle. He has an unpleasant effect on my liver. Among other organs.

cent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cent said...


Branch Rickey said it best..."Luck is the residue of design.".

Manufacturing "luck" is the Chief of Staffs job.

Supporters of Obama aren't so much pissed at Rahm because he is failing, but because of the way he is failing.

Nothing is more infuriating than indulging your leaders, against your better judgment, while they employ a dubious strategy in pursuit of an extremely important goal, only to watch it fail miserably, in exactly the manor your first instincts told you it would.

Rahm's management of Obama's "luck" is making this administration look like amateur hour.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Elizabeth: I get the point that the buck stops with Obama; I think some critics are being diplomatic launching a lot of criticism against Emanuel....But as we know, his boss is at fault too.

Cent: I cannot dispute your description: amateur hour.

JR Carrillo said...

I am curious to know how homophobic this guy is.

I am tired of extreme ... of politicians going to the extreme simply to get ahead.

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