November 6, 2008

"He's got this big old pair of brass balls, and you can just hear 'em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress."

I'm just reading a Rolling Stone article from 2005 about Rahm Emanuel, who's going to be Obama's chief of staff. The quote is from Paul Begala. [There should be quote marks in the post title, but for some insane reason they were screwing up the format of the whole blog. Who knew Rahm Emanuel's balls were so powerful!]
Friends and enemies agree that the key to Emanuel's success is his legendary intensity. There's the story about the time he sent a rotting fish to a pollster who had angered him. There's the story about how his right middle finger was blown off by a Syrian tank when he was in the Israeli army. ..."
A finger? Hey, watch this. [Embedded video replaced by link.]

Back to the old Rolling Stone piece:
And 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. But that's Rahm for you."

The stories are all true, except that the finger was lost in a meat slicer and he wasn't in the Israeli army. (But he is the son of an Israeli immigrant.)
His younger brother, Ari, is a Hollywood talent agent who served as the inspiration for Ari Gold, the fast-talking agent played by Jeremy Piven on HBO's hit series Entourage....

"After about the sixth episode, I finally caught it," says Rahm... "I called Ari the next day and said, 'Hey, I finally saw the show, and you know what? I like that guy better than I like you.'"
Ha ha.

ADDED: Here's today's NYT piece about Emanuel:
Mr. Obama has been close to Mr. Emanuel since arriving on Capitol Hill; Mr. Emanuel considers David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, to be one of his closest friends. The three share a common policy view and would make a formidable triumvirate in the White House....

... Mr. Emanuel’s stint in high finance and his experience in the banking world opens him to some criticism of being too allied with Wall Street... Since he is part of the Daley circle, Mr. Emanuel’s appointment as chief of staff could also create the appearance of a White House that is too Chicago heavy. His manner can also create enemies, and Mr. Emanuel has ruffled the feathers of many on Capitol Hill, particularly black and Hispanic lawmakers.

23 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

I rewrote this post to try to solve a coding glitch, so here are the comments from the original one:


Hoosier Daddy said...
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.

Yep, sounds just like the kind of guy BHO needs to bring us all together.

9:39 AM
AntonK said...
Barack Obama has served notice that he does not consider himself bound by anything he said during the campaign. The day after winning on a theme of "postpartisanship," he has chosen as his White House Chief of Staff a person who is arguably the most extreme partisan in the entire City of Washington, Rahm Emanuel. I fully expected the moderate, postpartisan mask to come off after the election, but didn't think it would come off this quickly.

9:45 AM
1jpb said...
Good pick out of the gate. Make sure folks around DC know that rolling the White House is going to be tougher than they may have hoped.

But, maybe not a full term pick. Once things are settled in and relative power positions are sorted--after a couple years and a midterm election--it may be prudent to move down a notch or two, or it may not--full throttle brashness for the whole term could work.

Time will tell.

P.S.

And of course, there's the already cliche "good cop, bad cop" dynamic w/ BHO and Rahm.

9:45 AM
MadisonMan said...
I appreciate the picking of someone with a completely different temperment to play devil's advocate -- or whatever -- against Obama's more measured outlook. Has Rahm Emanuel cooled off a little since the Clinton years? The answer to that question will be interesting.

9:49 AM
MadisonMan said...
Hey! The sitemeter passed 17 million!

9:49 AM
Justin said...
1jpb said...

And of course, there's the already cliche "good cop, bad cop" dynamic w/ BHO and Rahm.

If Michael was awake right now, he'd tell you that was racist.

9:51 AM
Justin said...
Then he'd tell you to blow him.

9:52 AM
carly said...
Well, that didn't take long.

This appointment is the first bit of evidence that Barry will (continue to) say one thing and do another.

9:55 AM
al said...
Another political thug from Chicago. Just what America needs.


Americans grew tired of being thought to be dumb by the rest of the world, so they went to the polls on 11/04/2008 and removed all doubt.

10:03 AM
rhhardin said...
Sidney Blumenthal is needed for balance.

10:03 AM
MayBee said...
Mr. Emanuel considers David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, to be one of his closest friends.

Don't you feel like: Now they tell us.

10:07 AM
Palladian said...
Just what we need to bring us all together!

America will be longing for the calm, measured, balanced, nuanced approach of Karl Rove in a few months.

Can we appoint every filthy, nasty Chicago hack to a high level position? Yes! We! Can!

10:07 AM
1jpb said...
The conservatives here (e.g. Palladian) may like that Rahm has been a force for NAFTA, wellfare reform, recruiting conservative Ds (and pushing the D party to not make them vote against their conservative districts), and he has strong personal relationships with Rs (i.e. he's not a D DeLay.)

I think BHO is doing well, so far. His huge transition team, that has been working for months, is also a good sign.

10:09 AM
Palladian said...
"He's got this big old pair of brass balls, and you can just hear 'em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress."

Yeah! Clanking balls! Balls! That's what we need! Glad we ended up with a government full of BIG CLANKING BALLS rather than a government full of nasty fucking twats like Hillary or Sarah Palin! Relax, everyone! We saved you from government by the weaker sex. The White House, thank God, will continue to be full of balls. BIG, NOISY METALLIC ONES.

10:11 AM
Palladian said...
"The conservatives here (e.g. Palladian) may like that Rahm has been a force for NAFTA, wellfare reform, recruiting conservative Ds (and pushing the D party to not make them vote against their conservative districts), and he has strong personal relationships with Rs (i.e. he's not a D DeLay.)"

Yes, but he's still evil. I didn't like Rove and I don't like this guy. These goons are one of the reasons I'm allergic to politics.

10:13 AM
rhhardin said...
Brass balls would not clank. That's what you get from getting the cliches mixed up.

For one an entire monkey is brass and the weather cold.

The the other the Caine Mutiny guy had steel balls and they actually were steel balls, that is where the clanking came in.

10:16 AM
knox said...
It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you."

Shouldn't this read: "It was like something Sarah Palin would do..." ?

Oh wait, Ii forgot... when it's Sarah Palin it's not demonstrative of "big balls" or passion, it's just a hissy fit.

10:21 AM
Kadmiel said...
they will always do one thing and say another.. just make sure your right hand knows what the left hand is getting into.. or it could be messy

10:23 AM
Charles said...
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

More like John Belushi in Animal House.

10:28 AM
SteveR said...
soon enough the MSM will be objectively calling for him to be frog marched out of the White House.

10:45 AM
AJ Lynch said...
Any Obama supporters keeping track of how much change Obama is bringing to Washington?

So far my scoresheet says ZERO when I tabulate Biden and Rahm Emanuel. How many "change" points should I give Obama for the family dog? Heh.

11:16 AM
Donn said...
HD:
Yep, sounds just like the kind of guy BHO needs to bring us all together.

Exactly my thoughts when I heard the name Rahm Emanuel.

11:47 AM
TitusLoves Dogs said...
I am so horny thinking about Rahm right now.

He is hot.

I want to do him.

I read about where he was in the locker room in the house of representatives and he told Christopher Shays the dems are going to spend 3 million dollars to get him the fuck out of the house.

I guess it worked.

Those type of stories get me very excited.

Rahm has a hot laugh too.

He has great eyes.

He is thin.

I want him.

11:53 AM
LarsPorsena said...
"...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,.."

Sounds like Toni Soprano working late at Satriale's.

12:11 PM
Robert R. said...
"...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,.."

The movie reference I would go for is STRIPES. And "Lighten up, Frances."

12:20 PM
AlphaLiberal said...
I'm not at all pleased by the Rahm pick. He's too conservative and too Clintonian.

12:26 PM
Donn said...
AL:
He's too conservative and too Clintonian.

It's a good sign if BO pisses off the rabid left.

Ann Althouse said...

Can anyone tell me if the coding problem is solved?

AJ Lynch said...

Not solved on my desktop.

It is all f'ed up.

Mary said...

Can anyone tell me if the coding problem is solved?

Nope, large print and in all orange everything following the Rahm post...

Newer posts are ok.

MadisonMan said...

I'm on firefox on a linux box, and have had no problems at all with this post, ever.

Freeman Hunt said...

Has Rahm Emanuel cooled off a little since the Clinton years?

No, not at all. Since he's such a vindictive ass, I can't give any indication as to where I got this information, but from what I heard months ago, he is just as much the angry, screaming, caustic jerk as he always was.

miller said...

as far as I know, it's working fine. I'm using Firefox 3.x on Windows XP with scripting turned off.

Donn said...

FH:
Since he's such a vindictive ass, I can't give any indication as to where I got this information, but from what I heard months ago, he is just as much the angry, screaming, caustic jerk as he always was.

Maybe BO needs this type of person to protect him from his "softer" side?

dick said...

Working fine on Firefox 3.x on Linux as well. NO problems.

. said...

sounds like a real douchebag.. who's he think he is: alec baldwin?

. said...

sounds like a huge dramatic douchebag to me.. who's he think he is, alec baldwin??

BJM said...

Here's a charming example Emanuel's temperment:

On the night after the Clinton election, "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."

Hmmm...me smells a rat, me does.

Given Pelosi's recent low expectation remarks and Congress's all-time low approval ratings;
Emanuel's appointment could indicate that Madame Speaker will soon be spending more time with her family.

BJM said...

crap, sorry about double posting Hoosier Daddy's quote, the Blogger interface is going south.

veni vidi vici said...

"And of course, there's the already cliche "good cop, bad cop" dynamic w/ BHO and Rahm."

I think those two are probably closer than Barry and his VP; perhaps this signals Biden's future role as purely sidelines?

Emanuel will have Barry's back against the lefty idiots in the Congress that lack perspective, and will know how to get what Barry needs from the opposition when pushing through legislation. He also knows how to play the media like a Stradivarius.

The partisanship is what it is; personally I'm encouraged by the choice because Emanuel is anything but a raving ideologue. Look for him to recommend moving the Columbian (and perhaps additional) free trade treaties forward to score some early and encouraging-to-business points in BHO's term.

I'm hoping for the best, here!

Trevor Jackson said...

Lindsay Graham praised the pick. So now I'm not so sure . . .

Seriously, anyone who's legitimately worried that this is a sign that Obama's just going to be Clinton II, think of Emanuel as the best tool in the toolbox (natch, Titus). The Chief of Staff is less about shaping policy than he is about getting results. It's a good sign that Obama won't make the same mistakes Clinton made in his first two years, forgetting the role Congress actually plays.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

I want Rahm really bad.

I sense he is good in bed and is a real dominant and bossy top.

dbp said...

This may be a good choice and indicates, at least to me, that Obama may go the moderate route.

Emanuel is a tough vindictive partisan, but Republicans don't control Congress, so he won't be leaning on them. He is the guy who can prevent, or at least have a shot at preventing, the big powerful liberals in Congress from derailing Obama's priorities.

Like by sending him a bill repealing the DMA for instance.

Revenant said...

The amusing thing to me is that the press is writing all these puff pieces praising what a rough and tough butt-kicker Rahm Emmanuel is. The response to the equally rough and tough butt-kicking Karl Rove was, shall we say, somewhat less enthusiastic.

Gahrie said...

How soon until he announces Ayers for Sec of Education, Wright as head of the EEOC, and Daley as the Attorney General?

1jpb said...

Gahrie,

Well, looking at his schedule for next week:

Monday: meet W

Tuesday: tea w/ Ahmedinejade

Wednesday: appoint nuts

Looks like Wednesday.

walter neff said...

Does that mean he is going to grab Putin in a firm embrace and say:

"Let's hug it out bitch."

walter neff said...

So if Obama is Vince and Rahm is Ari, he can get Jesse Jackson to be Drama, Robert Reich to be Eric and Madiline Albright to be Turtle.

Now that's casting.

Duscany said...

"The amusing thing to me is that the press is writing all these puff pieces praising what a rough and tough butt-kicker Rahm Emmanuel is."

Emanual's dad was an Irgun terrorist. But the press apparently is perfectly fine with that too.