Thursday, May 23, 2019

I'm Sure There Are Also Good Obama Alumni Too, Right?


After Tuesday's post on the Rahm Emanuel column in The Atlantic, one of the cynics who comment at DWT got the point and wrote "Rahm laments that nobody ever was held responsible. He indicts himself here. It was his influence that was quite significant in writing and passing GLBA and CFMA (the latter to juice the Chicago mercantile exchange). And those became the foundation of the fraud schemes that blew up in 2008. If we did a true post mortem on 2008, Rahm should be first among equals who should have their heads mounted on pikes. Rahm is no idiot. He knows he's pure evil. Yet he also knows that his audience for this is sooooo fuuuuucking stuuuuuupid that they'll never connect anything back to him. He's golden. Skip Kaltenheuser also read the post and and noted that "despite Emanuel’s startling come-to-Jesus epiphany in The Atlantic, looks like CNN or MSNBC is looking to hire him to do hits on Bernie, perhaps The Atlantic article is an effort to establish himself with plausible deniability as he puts his icepicks in Bernie, Omar and AOC. And likely any other progressive with the temerity to criticize oppression of the Palestinians."

Curtis Black, did a little historical analysis at The Intercept as Chicago finally got rid of Rahm this week: The Definitive Guide For Cable Hosts, Bookers And Editors To The Fraud And Failure That Was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. His brother Ari's talent agency has been trying to find him a suitable tigon TV. I wish they'd ignore cable news and go for a role on one of the many Game Of Throne prequels being planned, perhaps as an early white walker in The Long Night. Not likely. As Black said, he's already advising party leaders "to 'drive what I call a triangulation'-- using the term for the discredited strategy under which the Clinton administration (and a younger Rahm Emanuel) pursued punitive welfare reform and mandatory minimum sentences in order to win over Republican voters. He also famously advised grassroots party activists to 'take a chill pill' following Trump’s election, while Emanuel unsuccessfully tried to find common ground with the new administration on infrastructure spending and on limiting police oversight in Chicago. Emanuel appears to be 'developing a new side gig: warning Democrats about the dangers of 21st Century progressivism,' criticizing newly-elected U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and 'hoping there’s a demand for one last defender of the neoliberalism that defined his career-- a voice to warn his party against the perils of socialism,' according to Chicago Magazine. This, despite the fact that six socialists were elected to the City Council in Chicago’s recent election."
Emanuel has a set of talking points to claim a variety of accomplishments for his mayoralty, and he’s even writing a book on “why mayors rule the world”-- though one local pundit says the book “sounds more like a revisionist memoir about an egomaniac’s eight years in office building his personal brand and the fancy part of town while letting down struggling Chicagoans.”

Long known for his skill at attracting favorable media coverage, Emanuel seems to be doing quite well on that count. East and West Coast TV hosts from Fareed Zakaria to Bill Maher fawn over his tough-guy image and supposed strategic brilliance, but they never offer any reality checks.

So let’s do one. A national audience deserves to know what those of us in Chicago have already figured out: Emanuel’s mayoral administration is littered with failures and false claims, and the recent elections in Chicago represents a complete repudiation of the Emanuel years. The new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was one of Emanuel’s foremost critics on police reform. Alderman Patrick O’Connor, Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, a 40-year incumbent, was one of several top mayoral allies who were defeated-- in O’Connor’s case, by a young Latino Democratic socialist. Meanwhile, Emanuel’s finance committee chair is now facing federal corruption charges, and his zoning committee chair disappeared in December when word leaked that he wore a wire for the feds after coming under investigation himself.

And on a significant range of issues, Chicagoans are turning away from Emanuel’s initiatives.
Black then goes into some depth about how Emanuel completely botched the 6 great crises that plagued Chicago while he was in city hall:
The Mental Health Crisis
The Environmental Crisis
The Education Crisis
The Housing Crisis
The Infrastructure Crisis
The Policing Crisis
Rahm, though, is hardly the only stinking pile of crap left over from the Obama years. About a month ago, we looked at Jim Messina in light of his backing for McKinsey Pete.

Yesterday, Judd Legum at Popular Information revealed the corporate conflicts of Obama's former campaign manager, now a prominent Democratic pundit. "On national television, Messina is harshly criticizing candidates like Elizabeth Warren, who has vowed to reign in corporate power. But Messina does not disclose that he is paid to advocate for some of the same companies that Warren wants to break up." Messina is a truly disgusting artifact left over from the Obama years-- every bit as malignant and toxic as Rahm Emanuel. And he very much wants you to know that "he thinks Elizabeth Warren is a hypocrite. In a Monday appearance on MSNBC, Messina blasted Warren for calling for the breakup of Facebook and other large tech companies but still buying campaign ads on the Facebook platform.'She's out there spending millions of dollars on Facebook, which she wants to break up,' Messina said, 'that logic doesn't make sense to me… stop playing games.' Messina also criticized Warren and Kamala Harris for refusing to participate in a Fox News townhall. Watch:

Messina's criticism of Warren was enthusiastically amplified by right-wing media outlets."

What Messina did not talk about is his day job as a "strategic consultant" for corporations. Among Messina's clients is Google, a company that Warren has advocated splitting up. He serves on the board of PillPack, a company owned by Amazon, which also has been targeted by Warren. According to Messina's website, he also represents "Uber, Airbnb, and Delta Air Lines."

But most of Messina's corporate clients -- he says he has more than 70-- are undisclosed. Messina says the mission of his consulting work is to be an "ally" to these corporations and give "businesses an edge."

In his pitch to potential corporate clients, Messina touts himself as the "mastermind behind President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign."

According to one client, Messina has a knack for stimulating public support for corporate agendas. "We have hired Messina to work on grassroots initiatives. Online gaming is one of those. Jim is as politically astute as they come and he will be a great resource for us," Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, said.

Messina never disclosed his corporate work on the MSNBC segment and was introduced only as Obama's former campaign manager.

Messina's work across the pond

It's unclear why people should value Messina's views on the 2020 Democratic primary field. Messina's recent political work has been in support of right-wing candidates. In 2017, Messina worked for Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May.

During the campaign, May whipped up anti-immigrant sentiment and vowed to slash immigration, sounding very much like Donald Trump. “When immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society,” May said. May claimed that immigration drove down wages, strained public services, and created “close to zero” economic benefit.

May promoted withdrawal from the EU, known as "Brexit," as a way to limit legal immigration from unskilled Europeans. This vision for the UK's immigration system matches a new immigration plan unveiled by Trump last week.

During her tenure as home secretary, the UK government detained and deported "longstanding Caribbean immigrants who had every right to live in the UK."

Messina played a similar role for May's Conservative predecessor, David Cameron, in 2015. In that election, Messina was "credited with playing a critical role for the Conservatives by targeting messages at specific voters who could be persuaded to switch from the Liberal Democrats." Cameron campaigned on a platform that would have virtually eliminated the ability of unions to strike.

Messina's work for Cameron put him at odds with another former Obama advisor, David Axelrod, who worked for the liberal candidate, the Labour Party's Ed Miliband.

The most homophobic ad of modern political history

Messina's willingness to leverage bigotry for political gain did not start in the UK. As the campaign manager for former Senator Max Baucus in 2002, Messina released "one of the more homophobic ads of modern political times." The ad, set to a soundtrack from a pornographic movie, "featured footage from a 20-year-old TV ad for a hair salon run by Baucus’s opponent, Mike Taylor...who was seen massaging a man’s face while wearing an open-front shirt, and hence was obviously supposed to be gay."

"Mike Taylor: Not the way we do business in Montana," the narrator says ominously.

In 2010, President Obama reportedly wanted to announce his support for same-sex marriage. But Messina allegedly warned him that speaking publicly could "cost you a couple of battleground states; North Carolina, for one."

But Messina continues to hold sway over powerful people in the Democratic party. According to the Washington Post, Messina appeared at a gathering of "107 of the Democratic Party's biggest bundlers" in March.

Hey! How about some equal time for a progressive viewpoint?

Messina plays favorites

The media regularly asks Messina for his views on the 2020 Democratic primary field. And Messina, under the banner of "Obama's former campaign manager," consistently trashes candidates seeking to reduce corporate power.

"He's an old, angry guy running against Donald Trump, who's an old, angry guy. That's not a contrast," Messina said of Senator Bernie Sanders in the Washington Post.

Messina told ABC News that Sanders, who is calling for single-payer health care and increased corporate taxes, couldn't beat Trump because he couldn't compete with Trump's economic message. "I think if you look at swing voters in this country they are incredibly focused on the economy... I think today you look at it and say that Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues," Messina said. Those comments were highlighted by Fox News.

Messina also criticized Warren's decision not to hold high-dollar fundraisers where wealthy people get access to her in exchange for large donations. "Here's the problem: The new map of having California and Texas so early means money is going to be even more important in the Democratic primary, unfortunately... And Senator Warren just decided to get rid of half of her fund-raising ability," Messina told the Washington Post.

After Warren and other candidates advocated for the elimination of the electoral college, which enabled Trump to win despite losing the popular vote, Messina spoke out against the idea, saying it would mean presidential candidates wouldn't visit small states.

Messina has had kinder words for Beto O'Rourke, who doesn't emphasize critiques of corporate America and is popular with the large tech companies that Messina represents. Messina said O'Rourke had a rare combination of "inspiration, aspiration, and authenticity" and praised him for playing the air drums. "He is authentic, and luckily, authentically cool. For him to play air drums to the Who or skateboard is both authentic and cool. People want to hang out with him."
See? Biden isn't the only garbage left over from the Obama years that threaten a progressive America. Just be careful.

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At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhetorical question up top. I cannot think of a single "good" obamanation alumnus. Some are less horrible than rahm, but some are his equal (messina for sure; but biden, holder and susan rice et al). elect biden king for a term and you'll see who the worst of them all is.

Yes, I got the point. I wonder, though, why you did not articulate that paragraph yourself. I mean, what is a hit piece on rahm without mentioning his pivotal role in the 2008 crash? That omission was glaring.

"the recent elections in Chicago represents a complete repudiation of the Emanuel years."

yep. and 2016 was a complete repudiation of the obamanation years. both represent the cyclical massive anti-red followed by massiver anti-blue followed by massive anti-red followed by... waves elections in this shithole. (guess which one 2020 will be)

The reason is there are never any really excellent candidates puked up by our two pure shit parties... and our dumber-than-shit voters still vote for them.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So obamanation isn't done destroying this nation? That useless Kochsucker got paid $65 million for a book which isn't even out yet in trade for ensuring that corporatism didn't suffer any reverses as a consequence of the Great Recession. But I guess that isn't enough for him, is it?

At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to post on another supposedly lefty site. When obamanation had become the presumptive nom in 2008 and flipped from almost all small donors to whoring for the big money, chiefly on wall street, I noted that unless he became a 21st-century FDR (or even teddy r.) he would go down in objective history as our worst ever president.

He needed to undo evils from as far back as Reagan as well as promote altruism that had been oppressed by the money and hate.

Between his choice of advisors (rahm, goldman-sachs, etc) and of his own accord, he REFUSED to do any of those things. He and the democraps created the vacuum that became trump.

worst president (and congress) in our history. trump has not yet surpassed how horrid obamanation was.

that other site banned me for telling that truth.

do truly left sites even exist in this shithole?


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