The evidence is mounting that Rahm Emanuel's short tenure at the White House as President Obama's chief-of-staff was to say the least "stormy." This is bad news for Emanuel as he begins his campaign to run for Mayor of Chicago. The latest missive fired is from a respected member of the Obama cabinet, Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General, who interviewed with Wil S. Hylton of GQ magazine. There is no love lost between the two men.
As reported by Mr. Hylton, the President himself intervened on behalf of Holder.
Inside Obama's West Wing, Emanuel's hostility toward Holder has become so pitched at times that the president has had to intervene. "Occasionally, Rahm would cross the line about Eric," says a source with access to White House deliberations, "and the president would tell him, 'Rahm, knock it off.' "
And the column goes on about Emanuel, quoting his brother Billy:
"And when I asked Holder's brother, Billy, about Emanuel, he sighed deeply and shook his head. "Man, that guy..." he sputtered. "That guy's an animal. He's a beast."
The article brings a fundamental question about Emanuel: was he driving policy or reflecting policy.
If anything, Emanuel's departure brings into focus the more elusive question that has surrounded the Obama White House since day one: how much Emanuel actually drove administration policy, and how much he only reflected it.
Only time will tell, but I believe he was a loose cannon who got carried away with himself.
I recently wrote a review of the Bob Woodward book that quoted White House of National Security Advisor General James L. Jones.
Rahm Emanuel comes off badly in this account by Woodward. Jones calls Emanuel a "water bug" and says there are too many senior aides around the President.
"They’re like water bugs. They flit around. Rahm gets an idea at 10 a.m. and wants a briefing by 4 p.m. and I will say no because the work cannot be done in a day. The water bugs do not understand war or foreign relations, Jones felt, and all they cared about was the short-term political impact of the president’s decisions."
Emanuel states that the war was "political flypaper:" Once you are stuck you cannot get unstuck. Emanuel fails to persuade the military and civilian people and President Obama of the best way to withdraw from this war. The politicos want out of the war to focus on the domestic agenda but fail to persuade President Obama.
These are just a couple examples of the atmosphere created by the erratic Emanuel.
Rahm Emanuel has thus far refused to discuss these issues in his campaign for mayor of Chicago, but the issues will not go away. This dictatorial style of leadership will not play with the voters of Chicago.
In many ways, Rahm Emanuel is running as the "incumbent."
He is not.
You can only run as the "incumbent" if you are the "incumbent."
And this strategy, I believe, will not work.
Full disclosure: I am a volunteer supporter of Chicago Mayoral candidate Gery Chico. More about him in future posts. I do encourage a healthy debate of the issues as to the future direction of the city I love.
John is the author of an award-winning book published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books.