Sunday, January 29, 2006



I'm investigating a number of races around the country so I can write about them for DWT and I keep stumbling across the same villain no matter where I go, someone who I would have to say looks very much like the Democrats' very own Tom DeLay. His name is Rahm Emanuel and he fancies himself an old-time political boss, obsessed with power and a delusionary "ends justify the means" mantra.

Emanuel is on a crusade to root idea-oriented progressives and local activists out of races in districts with endangered Republican incumbents. Half the time I find a solid citizen looking to challenge a corruption-tainted Republican or an extremist who is out-of-touch with his district, I am finding that Emanuel has moved in with a wad of cash (and with big name national Democrats, some of whom have actual credibility with progressives like Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi-- watch yer back, babe-- and John Kerry) on behalf of life-long Republicans who he convinces to switch parties to run as "Democrats."

I wasn't even looking into the race to replace Katherine Harris in Florida's 13th CD yet. But I stumbled on this fascinating article by Bullwinkle at, called "Helping Fight DCCC Interference in Florida Races". Read it because Emanuel is as much-- exactly as much-- a threat to democracy as Tom DeLay. And read Alexander Cockburn's story on Emanuel from December 9th's COUNTERPUNCH called "Only Millionaire Fence Straddler Need Apply". And one more on this creep: don't leave out "The Enforcer," a Hammer-like story, in ROLLING STONE. With ethicless scumbags like Rahm Emanuel and the crew of nitwits and scoundrels he's recruiting, the Republican vision will win even if the Republican Party loses.


At 8:57 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks for your comment, Kari. I appreciate you taking the time to put it together and post it. I have to tell you, though, that I don't agree with your conclusion that he "sounds like our kinda guy"-- at least not mine. The sleaze factor in DC should be a big winner for Democratic candidates in November. It's a wheeler-dealer like Emanuel that will make GOP talking points about bi-partisan corruption plausible to swing voters-- and possibly even to some non-motivated Dems who could stay away from the polls in disgust. One of Emanuel's closest cronies-- a lobbyist and money raiser-- was treasurer of the DCCC until 2 days ago when even Emanuel knew it looked too smarmy. The apology that he may be a crook but he's our crook, doesn't work for me-- and it won't work for the independents Democrats need to win in November.

That aside for a moment, my gripe with Emanuel is not philosophical. (I'm not on the warpath against him because he was one of the architects of the disastrous NAFTA legislation, for example); I'm on the warpath because he is systematically rooting out grassroots candidates in vulnerable Republican districts and replacing them with passionless and issueless nothings. He is even recruiting Republicans to run as Democrats. And he is enforcing more than just fund-raising call quotas. Notice, please, that the Emauel-candidates almost universally are issue-phobic.

Issues are our strongest suit and he is forcing challengers to downplay them and to water down our message to "We support the troops and the middle class and the Republicans are corrupt." He is counting on the Republicans to destroy themselves but that is a very risky, and cowardly, strategy-- especially with Rove still on the loose.

I'm happy to know he criticizes Bush-- and a lot less happy to know he doesn't give a hoot about "his own party's grass roots." Perhaps that's why his own party's grass roots has become increasingly disenchanted with him and the Inside-the-Beltway career pols-- of both parties. As far as your claim that he is supporting the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, well, that could also be interpreted as him supporting the most reactionary Democrats who are most likely to vote with Republicans on key issues. Congresswoman Julia Carson, a die-hard progressive in Indiana is as vulnerable as the right-of-center Dems he's behind but she's not on his Top 10 list.


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