First Two Appointments Show Exceptional Judgment

Rahm Emmanuel is a bulldog being put in a position where he is solely responsible for executing an agenda as quickly as possible by any means necessary. He is uniquely qualified to produce instant kinetic energy. Not to mention that he has the respect of members of both parties.

Robert Gibbs has consistently been Obama's best surrogate for the last few months. For a long time Obama seemed to struggle to get his message and talking points across (remember when Kerry was a top surrogate?). That changed when Gibbs started showing up more often. He stays on message, he knows when to shut up, he knows how to needle members of the press and he knows how to strike the correct tone at any given moment.

Both these men are not only highly qualified for their spots, but those spots are tailored to maximize their strengths. Furthermore, these are both men of action, men who are the polar opposite of Obama in temperament in positions that require just that. It reminds me to an extent of The Godfather. I remember thinking while reading the book how differently things would have turned out had Luca Brasi not been taken out. Great minds need ruthless people to back them up, and I look forward to a little hardball. If this is how Obama will be approaching his staff, I have confidence in his ability to govern and execute his plan.

Update [2008-11-6 12:40:36 by vcalzone]: Thinking about it, I realized something else. Obama got the toughest Democrat in Congress to do what he wanted, even though it may not be in his self-interest. That, in and of itself, is highly impressive. That took balls.

One question I have, though, for Jerome if he's watching. I know you've had serious problems with Robert Gibbs in the past. Do you still? And even if you do, do you think Gibbs will excel in this post the same way Ari Fleischer did?

Tags: Barack Obama, cabinet, rahm emanuel, Robert Gibbs, transition (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Gibbs is spot-on

I hope Plouffe gets a good position, too, because that guy knows how to organize like nobody's business.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-06 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Gibbs is spot-on

Maybe Plouffe for DNC chair, if Dean doesn't want another term or Obama wants to shake things up.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-11-06 09:56AM | 0 recs
Dean should stay chair if he wants it

I don't want to mess with a good thing there.  

by Dracomicron 2008-11-06 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments Show Exceptional

I dont care for Rahm. But he will be suitable for that Chief of Staff position. So I got no problems with it.

by Pravin 2008-11-06 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments Show Exceptional

Exactly. I'm with you. I still resent the hell out of Rahm for taking credit for an election won by the 50 state strategy. I think that the DLC is something that we should be running away from. But for this role, he's optimal.

by vcalzone 2008-11-06 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments Show Exceptional

Not to mention that it took tremendous balls for Obama to ask him to do this job. But he knew Rahm was the best choice for what he had in mind, and I think Rahm ultimately realized that Obama (or whoever made this call) was right.

But seriously, if Rahm is a bulldog, what does it say about Obama that he pulled him on board?

by vcalzone 2008-11-06 07:37AM | 0 recs
Very mixed emotions about Rahm here. n/t

He's the veritable poster-boy for the DLC.

His pitbull-like mentality is legendary.

Personally, I've seen him screw over some of the best progressives in our party over the last 2-3 years. And, he's probably the one person who's done more, practically-speaking, to drive the Democratic brand more to the center (and, in some cases, even to the right) than perhaps anyone else on the planet.

His appointment sends a somewhat convoluted message out to many however. On the one hand, you've got Obama, the guy who likes to hear all dissenting opinions. On the other hand, you have Emanuel, someone known--in legendary terms--for threatening to all but incinerate those who disagree with him or who may even SLIGHTLY disagree with his agenda.

And, ultimately, most will have to go through Rahm just get to Obama if Rahm's Obama's Chief-of-Staff.

By definition, Rahm's been a lightning rod. And, stylistically (at least) that runs counter to many of the "selling points" of "brand Obama."

Summing it up, there are many reasons why I can empathize/understand how Obama couldn't think of anyone better to be watching his back than Rahm Emanuel. I get that. On the other hand, I've seen Emanuel in action and he takes no prisoners. He's as ruthless as they come. While that may be perceived as a necessary evil for a POTUS, it's also the diametric opposite of why many voted for Obama in the first place.

Change? Not so much--in fact exactly the opposite--if Rahm's indicative of appointments to come. Emanuel's as much a shining example of everything that was wrong with our party as Obama exemplifies everthing that's right about it.

And, all you have to do is hear war stories--from many folks considered to be great Democrats--of people being on the business-end of his notorious phone rants to know what I'm saying is true.

In 2006, Rahm disregarded (yes, he downright undermined the entire concept of open primaries in our Party) public opinion to shove centrist and moderate Dems in many districts where the more liberal/progressive choices were both better-organized and better supported.

Current progressive Democratic members of Congress, including Jerry McNerney (CA-11), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-02), and John Hall (NY-19) would not be in office today if Rahm Emanuel had his way.

They, certainly, despite anything they might say in public, must have mixed emotions about this pending appointment now, as well...no matter what public comments they might make which would undermine what I'm saying here.

On the other hand, there's the "survivalist political animal" in me that says if I was POTUS I'd want someone just like Rahm watching the front door and my back 24/7, too.

This is a very interesting first appointment...and a very controversial one in some quarters of the Party, as well.

Like I said at the top of this comment...mixed emotions here.

by bobswern 2008-11-06 08:34AM | 0 recs
Think of it this way

Obama just got Rahm out of being in the position to do all that nasty stuff in the future.  Obama just ensured that Rahm's agenda will be his agenda for the forseeable future.

A bulldog running loose is dangerous.  A bulldog on a leash is an asset.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-06 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Very mixed emotions about Rahm here. n/t

"This is a very interesting first appointment...and a very controversial one in some quarters of the Party, as well."

At least there will be no need for lipstick in this administration...

by bobzaguy 2008-11-06 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments...

I'm a man but I hope Obama is wise enough to employ some women in his senior staff and cabinet.

by wblynch 2008-11-06 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments...

I'd be surprised if Govs. Napolitano and Sebelius didn't get top jobs after Sen. Clinton got her pick (assuming she decides to leave the Senate).

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-11-06 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments...

I'd rather not those two, actually. We need them to run for Senate in 2010.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-11-06 09:57AM | 0 recs
You can bet Sam Power will be in there

Obama will have women in his cabinet.  His foreign policy is based heavily on Samantha Power's works.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-06 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments Show Exceptional Judgme

Talk quietly and carry a big stick.  Rahm is Obama's big stick.

Trivia note:  Matt Santos from The West Wing is based (in part) on Obama; Josh Lyman (played by Bradley Whitford) is based on Rahm Emmanuel (and Ari from Entourage is based on his brother).

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-11-06 09:10AM | 0 recs
No, this is incorrect

Rahm is a pitbull, but he's also using that for a specific position.

Chief of Staff is an administrative position. Not legislative.

Rahm's job is +not+ to set policy or get involved in any of the progressive agendas, but rather to make sure the White House staff are vetted, and the team is working.

And frankly, you can sometimes bank more out of a stronger - less flexible leader than you can a person who wants consensus  - for that position.

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-06 09:14AM | 0 recs
I like Gibbs..

...I remember that take down he had of Hannity and his cadre of Fox Fools - it was a thing of beauty.

by grannyhelen 2008-11-06 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: First Two Appointments

I kinda like the Rahm appointment.  I think Obama needs someone to keep him from getting too naive and idealistic about post-partisanship.  

by TheUnknown285 2008-11-06 01:53PM | 0 recs

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