So when the Democrats were going down in flames Tuesday night, where was Obama’s chief political architect? Half a continent away, campaigning for himself.
And his old colleagues in Washington aren’t too happy about it. Some of them shake their heads in disbelief that Emanuel would bolt at precisely the juncture when the Democrats needed to shape their strategy and message during the homestretch of what everyone knew would be the toughest election cycle in years.
“It was Rahm who always said, ‘We’ve just got to put points on the board,’ and that’s why we have a transactional presidency,” said one former colleague. “The only problem is that Obama is not a transactional politician. It was Rahm’s strategy and then he leaves a month before the election for his own personal political career. It’s extraordinary.”
Of course the problem with their argument is that even a month ago it looked as if the Democrats were going to lose the House. This is just one more case of the White House in denial, looking for someone to blame. The only way for the Democrats to have stemmed their losses was to change the President’s policy. America hated the Obama agenda at the time Emanuel left Washington as much as they hate it today.
After a month of running for mayor of Chicago, Emanuel took the time on Tuesday to call some of the defeated candidates, whose political careers he helped launch as part of the Democratic takeover in 2006.
But the fact remains: four years later, his class of ’06 is decimated and Emanuel has left Washington politics altogether.
Several lower-level White House aides say they’re still surprised that Emanuel would so readily follow his personal ambition instead of staying beside the many Democrats he helped elect in the foxhole in the final weeks of the campaign.
Here’s the best part some aides are complaining that Emanuel left before he could be pressured to leave.
Some of Obama’s aides say that Emanuel’s departure did damage beyond the results on Election Day. They argue his exit deprived the president of the chance to orchestrate a dramatic staff shakeup in the wake of the poor election results. Instead, a new chief of staff—the low-key Pete Rouse—is already in place, while other aides have long held plans to leave at the two-year mark.
I am no big fan of Rahm Emanuel, his high pressure tactics and the fact that he can’t celebrate the holiday of Mother’s Day because he is too used to using a different term after the word Mother. But this is the typical White House blame game, find someone to deflect the attention onto. That’s why this administration is so out of touch with the American people, they can’t recognize their own faults.