When I hear talk of a "honeymoon" for the President-elect — to last as long as six months, by some accounts — I think: "Fine. You lay off, and I’ll do the same." But oh no, it doesn’t work that way. Obama has already started in on us, and he hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet. I’m talking about his appointments, starting with Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.
Hey, I thought we were gong to be treated to a bipartisan approach by the Obama administration, that he was going to "reach across the aisle" — what happened to that? Señor Emanuel is known as a street-fightin’ Democrat, and that’s understating it. A Rolling Stone profile of Emanuel had this to say:
"There’s the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president’s enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting ‘Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!’ and plunging the knife into the table after every name. ‘When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape,’ one campaign veteran recalls. ‘It was like something out of The Godfather.’"
He’s mean, he’s ultra-partisan, and he’s a fully-paid up member in good standing of the War Party: during the Democratic primaries in 2006, when Emanuel headed up the Dems’ congressional operation, he backed pro-war candidates over antiwar Democrats every time. As Bill Safire put it on "Meet the Press" just before Tim Russert died:
"What about Rahm Emanuel [for Vice President], the most powerful voice in the House of Representatives that agrees with Hillary Clinton on foreign affairs? He’s a hawk. And although he’s a rootin’ tootin’ liberal on domestic affairs, he is a hawk on foreign affairs. I was at the — a roast for him for Epilepsy Association, and Hillary Clinton was there, and I said, quite frankly, here you have the hawkish side of the Democratic Party. If they get together, the bumper sticker will read ‘Invade and bomb with Hillary and Rahm.’"
When the House Democratic majority passed a military appropriations bill slated for Iraq, a clause that would have prohibited an attack on Iran without a vote in Congress was deleted at the instigation of Emanuel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When Rep. John Murtha presaged the popular rebellion against the Iraq war by coming out against it in no uncertain terms, Emanuel urged Pelosi to refrain from endorsing his call for withdrawal, arguing that it would hurt the Democrats politically.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.