Skip to main content

There is a diary currently on the rec list that essentially blames Rahm Emanuel for all of President Obama's supposed problems and missteps, due to his lack of embrace of George Lakoff's ideas on messaging. I don't really know and I'm not disputing the diarist's evidence that Rahm doesn't embrace Lakoff. However, what I find to be total horseshit (and the reason for this rebuttal diary) are comments like this:

When Obama was campaigning he was a brilliant and inspiring speaker, but when he got to the White House, something changed, almost instantly.  Yes I was still supporting Obama (still do), but somehow he seemed different, less bold, not the same inspiring man he was on the campaign.

Well I think I know what caused the change.  Rahm.  Rahm was not part of the campaign, he wasn't there when Obama was on top of his game.  The time when Rahm started giving Obama advice is exactly the time when Obama's star began to fall.

And as soon as Rahm, the man who doesn't believe in framing started to give advice, Obama's approval started to drop and has so far not recovered.

Really? The reason President Obama isn't as inspiring in governing as he was in campaigning? The reason his approval rating has went down over the course of the year? Rahm Emanuel? Really? Rahm Emanuel is not the reason for all of this. The real reason why President Obama hasn't seemed to live up to his inspirational self out on the campaign trail is because governing is not campaigning.

Campaigning is easy, especially for a man with Obama's oratorical gifts. Obama gave wonderful speeches saying he was going to give all Americans affordable health care, stop global warming with a strong energy bill, end the Iraq War, close Gitmo, and put new regulations on Wall St, basically all at the same time. Hell, with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, listening to Obama made you feel like all of this could be accomplished in his first year alone (I have to admit, on election night I had visions of Obama signing a global warming/energy bill on Earth Day 2009).

Out on the campaign trail you don't have to deal with the Blue Dogs and Joe Liebermans of the political world. You don't have to deal with a weak Senate Majority Leader. You don't have to deal with the minute details of policy. You don't have to deal with a Republican Party that refuses to give you a single vote on most of the bills coming out of Congress.

But reality is, governing is really fucking hard. You have to contend with and rely on 535 other individuals, each one with their own political agenda that is almost solely driven by their desire to get reelected. You have to try to pass legislation with a media that is abysmal at explaining policy and is only interested in the easy-to-cover pissing contests between the parties. You have to compromise and beg and plea and threaten to get legislation through Congress, and even then it's usually a shell of the legislation you promised when you were campaigning.

Yes the White House has screwed up many things this past year, and the President and his administration (including Rahm) are to blame for some of their mistakes. But all White Houses do that in their first year. The reason why Obama's poll numbers have dropped is because all presidents' poll numbers drop in their first year. No president ever keeps his approval ratings from his inauguration, especially when Obama has had to do some unpopular things to save the economy, like the auto industry bailout. Clinton's first year was horrible. Reagan's numbers fell dramatically after his inauguration. W's approval rating would have been mediocre if not for 9/11. This is the nature of our political system. Solely blaming Rahm Emanuel for something that historically has happened to basically every other modern president is pretty absurd, in my opinion. If I had been  president in 2009, I would have done many things differently. But I have no doubt that I would have made just as many mistakes as the Obama administration, with or without Rahm Emanuel as my chief of staff.

President Obama seems less inspirational now because he actually has to try to accomplish what he promised to do, rather than just talking about it. The "Obama campaign" was the promise of an ideal presidency for many of us. But as we have seen, there is no such thing as an ideal presidency. When our leaders have to get into the real issues of the world and the nuts and bolts of governing, there is bound to be disappointment and disillusionment among those who voted for them. That is the nature of the beast that is American democracy.

But blaming one man, Rahm Emanuel, for President Obama not living up to the grand vision of his presidency out on the campaign trail? That's just not reality.

Originally posted to DemBrock on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 02:54 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

    by DemBrock on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 02:54:14 PM PST

  •  I find it comforting to blame Rahm, (6+ / 0-)

    so I will continue to do so.

    Why don't you try reading the rules, Shankopotamus?

    by bugscuffle on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 02:56:02 PM PST

  •  It fell off the list (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, Situational Lefty

    possibly even before you got this one up.  And it was passed by another rebuttal to it even then.

    I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:05:09 PM PST

  •  Rahm should get the credit as well as the blame (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lungfish, Viceroy, dhfsfc, second gen

    it's only fair right? If Rahm is behind everything and is accused of going over the president and controlling the president, doesn't it makes sense to credit him when things go right?

  •  Blue Dog, status quo corporate centrism (8+ / 0-)

    in general is targeted for blame (cuz it's HARDLY "change," and smells a lot like what we fought so hard not to have with Hillary).

    Rahm just puts a face on it because he's belied Obama's "I want to hear input from everyone" claim by totally and rudely shutting out voices like Dean's and Krugman's, while giving tons of airtime, table-space and respect to conservatives in both parties who perpetually jerk Obama around.

    Also, with statements like "we don't need to worry about the left" and saying progressive backlash against Blue Dog obstructionism is "f**kin' retarded," and because he gets caught saying shit like "give Lieberman whatever he wants," it makes him a likely focus of peoples' discontent, especially those that aren't comfortable blaming Obama directly.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:17:00 PM PST

  •  The political team needs a makeover. (4+ / 0-)

    I think Obama and Emanuel both share some of the blame for the lousy political climate but this bit of malpractice stuns me:

    The White House had no contingency plan for health care reform if Democrat Martha Coakley lost the special election in Massachusetts, and officials did not discuss the possibility a Democratic loss would dramatically imperil their legislative efforts, a top adviser said today.


    Who should take the blame for this?
    Coakley, certainly, but who else?

    Ordell Robbie: Is that what I think it is? Jackie Brown: What do you think it is?

    by dclawyer06 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:24:19 PM PST

    •  the political team (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radical def

      Who's to blame? I'll tell you - but you won't like it - we're all to blame for not keeping up the momentum and the pressure on Congress - both  houses - to get the job done. We, the people, need to get on the phone to our Congressperson's offices and tell them, on a daily basis, if need be, what we want them to do. Yes, campaigns are more exciting than governing. But we, the people, let down and we have to pick up the ball and get moving with it.

      I call and call and call. Most of us have phone service which includes long distance at no charge and, if not, there is the 800 network and if not that there are letters and emails. I'll betcha that a blast of hand-written letters in envelopes, addressed by hand and with a stamp (remember mail and stamps??? they're still out there) would act like a strong electrical charge to the tender parts of this administration. But what do we do? We complain to each other, write diaries in DKOS and other like-minded blogs and cluck about ain't it awful. That will get us NOWHERE!!!

      Call, leave your name, phone number and zip code. Ask to speak to a staffer (you may or may not get one but whoever answers the phone will realize you're serious). Tell them it is very important that the person you are calling gets your message and be sure they spell your name correctly and get your zip code so they will know the calls are coming from everywhere!!!

      We complain that Obama campaigned vigorously and now seems to have let up - which I don't think, not after hearing him at the Republican retreat!!!!!!! I'll tell you who let up the pressure - we, the people did! So, it's shame on us!

      •  I agree with some of what you say... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm a big fan of putting pressure on elected officials and agree that letter writing is effective. I've been doing it for months.

        I do notice, however, that you want people to contact Congress but don't mention the advantages of contacting the WH. I hope that's just on oversight b/c they need just as much pressure as the House and Senate.

        Ordell Robbie: Is that what I think it is? Jackie Brown: What do you think it is?

        by dclawyer06 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:45:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry! I'm not buying this. (2+ / 0-)

        I have a full-time job. More than a full-time job. It keeps me very busy. Until a couple of months ago I was also involved as an elected official in our local government.

        I, and many like me, took time out of our schedules to work for the election of Democrats. They wanted the job of governing. They were given a mandate, a huge mandate, and thus far they have squandered it.

        I'm not taking the hit because these guys are performing like the Keystone Kops. If they can't handle the job, then they need to step aside.

        Excess ain't rebellion. You're drinking what they're selling. - Cake

        by slatsg on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:54:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry! (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sorry, too, that you think elections are the beginning - and the end. They're not! I'm glad you have a job - lots of people don't! You need to protect your job and the best way to do it is by remaining engaged in the legislative process. It starts with elections - it doesn't end there!!

          •  I'm not worried about employment (0+ / 0-)

            But I am concerned about my town where unemployment greatly exceeds the national average.

            I also remained engaged between elections. I'm belong to the ACLU, AI and a couple of political organizations. I write and phone my congresscritters.

            But the reality is I don't wield the same power those folks do. They campaigned and said they wanted the job of governing. They received their mandate. Now it's time for them to produce. If they don't then they have to accept the consequences, just the same as I must if I don't produce in my chosen field.

            Excess ain't rebellion. You're drinking what they're selling. - Cake

            by slatsg on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:22:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Good question, dclawyer06. (0+ / 0-)

      That was a major stunner. Asleep at the wheel. I wonder where Kaine is/has been in all this. How can he keep totally on top of things and be Governor of Virginia? Seems like a tall order to me. Has Plouffe been tapped to monitor the gaps in messaging and politics?

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say. If you please, don't back up the track, this train's got to run today.

      by kafkananda on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:25:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  who supported lieberman? (0+ / 0-)

    obama or emmanuel?

    strong leadership means not letting traitors win.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:32:21 PM PST

  •  Good diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, vc2, SoCalSal

    tip'd rec'd.  Don't listen to those here drinking the hatorade, apparently in their opinion if you don't trash Rahm you aren't a true believer.

    •  Haterade. How very clever. I like that. (0+ / 0-)

      Haterade. A play on words, right? A combination of Gatorade and hate ... Haterade. How witty.

      Yes ... if you disagree with with a DLC neo-liberal centrist, you must have been drinking some concoction that alters your thinking. After all no right thinking person could possibly disagree with the Rahm Emanuel or the DLC without being under the influence of some mind-altering substance.

      Excess ain't rebellion. You're drinking what they're selling. - Cake

      by slatsg on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 04:11:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here we go again. Hyperbole-R-Us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    richmonds, Situational Lefty

    No one said that it was all Rahm's fault.

    Mr. Emanuel is a DLC neo-liberal. Some are good with that. Others aren't.

    You like his politics? Wonderful. You like Geithner and Summers? Bravo. Gates? Good for you.

    Me? I think the President can do better.

    As for reality, these guys wanted the power. They got it. If they can't take the heat ...

    Excess ain't rebellion. You're drinking what they're selling. - Cake

    by slatsg on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:39:22 PM PST

    •  That's not what I said, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second gen

      now is it? Nowhere in my diary does it say I like Rahm or Geithner or any of the others' politics.

      And yes, the diary that I am responding to did in fact say it was all Rahm's fault. The diarist put all of Obama's supposed problems/missteps of the past year squarely at Rahm's feet.

      "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

      by DemBrock on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 04:24:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rahm Is Not A Progressive (3+ / 0-)

    and he is not well liked.  Defendng him is your perogative, but I don't like him, and I believe he is a loser, and President Obama would do well to replace him soon.

  •  The blame lies with those of us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen

    (sometimes including myself) spreading the meme that we must have 60 votes in the Senate to push through any meaningful legislation, and anything short of that makes us politically powerless.

    Obama and his gang should just submit a bill to Congress, or one from the Progressive Caucus should submit it. And they should dare the Repugs and Joke Loserman to filibuster it. Use that against them.

    Did you see Cheney, Bush and their minions pissing themselves out of fear of the opposition? They took the attitude "we're the majority. We'll do what we want. Deal with it." We need to take the same attitude.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:47:27 PM PST

    •  It would have been fun to see (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second gen

      Them embarras themselves with a fillibuster. See Joe stagger around spouting his rubbish. Keep the old goat there for a week without shaving or would have been great tv.

      the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

      by Salo on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 03:55:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sighs. again, there is no longer a filibuster (0+ / 0-)

        that works like that. Any filibuster now simply tables the legislation until there are enough votes. No one reads phone books, or sleeps on cots. canadian and know this. why do so few americans.

        Barack Obama: "Dr. King said, "We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope." Jan17, 2010

        by vc2 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 05:20:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sighs. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't like Rahm Emmanuel - but I don't think he has the kind of power people on this list attribute to him. I, too, would be happy if he went - but he doesn't work for me so I don't get to decide. What I do get to do - excuse me for sounding like a broken record - is express my opinions to congresspersons and to the White House - and I do that - loudly and often. I just wish more of y'all would join me!!!

        •  Even with that being said (0+ / 0-)

          GWB's administration never took the stance of "Oh shit! We don't have a filibuster-proof Senate, so we can just forget about doing anything other than pissant, meaningless legislation that won't affect a damn thing".

          They did a lot of their ruinous shit with a significantly smaller majority than we have now. So my point stands.

          liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

          by RockyMtnLib on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:26:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is because democrats are responsible (0+ / 0-)

            and actually did their job to try and get legislation passed with as many of their points in it as possible but did not think that shutting down the government was the right thing. And it wasn't

            It had nothing to do with Bush being more of a leader of having more power, it has everything to do with democrats respecting democracy while republicans don't.

            Barack Obama: "Dr. King said, "We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope." Jan17, 2010

            by vc2 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:35:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not a yank... (0+ / 0-)

          ... However it would be good TV.

          the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

          by Salo on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 06:56:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  They seem to alternate between.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rahm and Geihtner.  I guess it's Rahm on odd weeks or Geihtner on even weeks.  Haven't quite figure out what their calendar system is.

    In other words....yawwwnnnn.....nothing to see here but a bunch of whiners that don't deserve the sweat off my balls.

    Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. --George Orwell

    by thestupiditburns on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 05:52:13 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site