"Rahmbo" Has An Agenda
Jonathan Alter, has a new Newsweek piece out profiling Rahm Emanuel and his efforts on behalf of Congressional candidates around the country.
[Emanuel] thrives as an inside player, in touch with old-style operatives and the party's Internet vanguard. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "Rahmbo" is essentially managing 40 House races from a war room a few blocks from the Capitol, helping with candidate recruitment, fund-raising and "rapid response." One minute he's ordering a colleague to plant an editorial trashing a Republican front runner in his hometown paper ("Write this down!"); the next, he's telling one of his hand-picked candidates that the guy's stump speech lacks passion ("If you think that's inspiring, get out now").
Okay, we know all too well that Emanuel has an assertive, hands-on approach to his leadership role in the DCCC. So, of course, we should expect that he’s going to have a strong opinion on the unified message that his candidates should be trumpeting.
Everyone agrees that the Democrats have to establish a positive agenda to win. Emanuel will weigh in with one in August in a book tentatively titled "The Plan: Big Ideas for America," coauthored with Bruce Reed, who ran domestic policy for Clinton.
The strategy for getting swing-district voters to fire their incumbents is already taking shape. Just as Harry Truman ran against the "Do-Nothing Congress," Democrats will run against the "Rubber-Stamp Congress," which pimped for K Street, took a dive on its critical oversight duties (particularly on Iraq) and helped the president bankrupt the country by shoveling money toward the rich.
By now, I’m sure everyone is familiar with the process through which Ellen Tauscher plucked Steve Filson from an obscure career as a commercial airline pilot and introduced him to Rahm Emanuel and her pals in Washington, who then interjected him into the Congressional race against Richard Pombo in CD-11. Filson, in turn, has been deferential to Tauscher and her positions, carefully attempting to package himself as a “moderate/centrist” candidate in her mold.
And that’s the problem I see with Steve Filson trying to follow Emanuel’s strategy to lure voters in the swing district of CD-11: How do you effectively run against a Congress “which pimped for K Street” when you’ve been feeding at the K Street trough? How do you criticize a Congress that “took a dive on its critical oversight duties (particularly on Iraq)” when your Democratic mentor (the one you want to be just like) voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq? And how do you run against a Congress that “helped the president bankrupt the country by shoveling money toward the rich” when, once again, the Democratic patron upon whom you are modeling yourself voted in support of Bush’s tax cuts?
Now, truly, I appreciate irony as much as the next person. And perhaps I'm missing something here. But can anyone out there explain to me how this plan is supposed to inspire voters to turn out Richard Pombo? If this is really the campaign strategy that Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC’s “chosen” candidates plan to implement, doesn't it seem like they’ll merely be running against, er, themselves?
Is this the best that Democrats can do? No wonder most Americans are tuned out and turned off.