I call a time out

In the exact same way that the choice of Sarah Palin reflected on John McCain's judgment, so will Obama's cabinet and staff choices reflect on his judgment. So far, I don't see change so much as the revolving door getting unjammed.

I'll get to Rahm Emanuel in a second. But look at some of these other names.
Paul Volcker, a key economic advisor, who was federal reserve chairman under Ronald Reagan and broke the back of an inflation crisis in the early 1980s, could return briefly to his old post to try and stabilize the economy.

Investor Warren Buffett and Robert Rubin, a former Clinton treasury secretary, could also assume economic posts in an Obama White House.

Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois representative who served in the Clinton White House, is said to have been approached to be Mr. Obama’s chief of staff. Another possibility is Tom Daschle, the former U.S. senator for South Dakota.

Bill Richardson, the New Mexico Governor, and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts have been tipped for secretary of state, while Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Republican, is being touted for defence.

Mr. Obama is said to want to keep on Robert Gates, the current Defence Secretary, so he can supervise a troop withdrawal from Iraq, but Mr. Gates has apparently said he wants to retire.
Reagan people, Clinton people, Bush people, former presidential candidates, blah blah blah. Where's the creative thinking in this list? I'm so sorry, but these people have already had a turn (or two or three or thirty or forty). Is it so hard to find experienced, intelligent, non-compromised people to help run this country, that we must keep going back to the same polluted well over and over again? If so, we need to fix that problem, too. You know, this is exactly what people who predicted that Obama would bring no real change have been talking about, and Obama seems well on the way to proving them right. It pains me to say it. Here we are one or two days out from his victory for change, and he's offering us pre-chewed gum. Uh...no thanks. You got a fresh stick in there somewhere, guy?

But naturally, it could be much worse! Rahm Emanuel alone is one hot potato of controversy. For some straight background, this NYT piece gives the basic outline: personal friend, former Clinton advisor, legistlator, political strategist, Chicagoan, aggressive bastard, former investment banker and moneybags, ties to Israel included. Joe Scarborough doesn't like this Rahm Emanuel idea one bit.
"I don't think that's a shrewd move," Scarborough complained. "I respect Rahm politically ... [but] that is a very bad sign for a united America because Rahm Emanuel is all brass knuckles. ... Barack Obama, if he selects him, has just sent a message to Republicans, 'Drop dead.'"

"It is a horrible, horrible symbol ... to people that believe that Barack Obama's going to reach out to the center and to Republicans," continued Scarborough. He insisted that "they needed a Tom Daschle" -- referring to the mild-mannered former Senate Majority Leader who was an early Obama supporter.
If this is just predictable Republican whining, we can safely ignore it. It is not the case that the Democrats will have to constantly reach out to the Republicans this time around, so the Republicans must get used to having much less power, hard as that may be for them. And yes of course we understand they would prefer some nice fellow like Tom Daschle, some doormat they can wipe their boots on. (I always loved those helpful Republican suggestions.) Nevertheless, when I went looking for more information on Emanuel, some nasty things popped up.

About a year ago, Truthout reviewed Emanuel's influence on Democratic Party politics.
May 2004, a former candidate for the New York State Legislature named Cynthia Pooler founded November Victories and Democrat Unity, online forums for new candidates who were running for Congress as Democrats.

"Before you knew it, candidates started talking about the difficulties they were having with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic leadership," Pooler said.

According to Democratic candidates who ran for House of Representative seats in 2006, Rahm Emanuel, then head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, took sides during the Democratic primary elections, favoring conservative candidates, including former Republicans, and sidelining candidates who were running in favor of withdrawal from Iraq.

...According to his critics, Emanuel played kingmaker by financially supporting his favored candidates during primary contests with other Democrats. His critics say that this interference was in direct contradiction of a DCCC policy to "remain neutral" in party primaries.

....How Emanuel came to his decisions about which candidates to support against Democratic opponents is known only to Emanuel and his staff. Emanuel declined direct comment on this story. But an examination of individual races reveals a pattern of financial and political support for wealthy conservative candidates and an assault on their grassroots-supported opponents who were running on platforms that included a full withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
This piece uncovers the same seedy network politics that we all know and hate. It's just the Democratic party version of the Republican party old-boy network. For instance, how would you like to be running against somebody who just got 'tapped' by the Fairy Godfather?
Tim Bagwell, a grassroots activist and Cegelis campaigner, said that Duckworth was "hot-wired" into the national media and fund-raising circuit by the DCCC. George Stephanopoulos, who served in the Clinton administration with Emanuel, interviewed Duckworth on his Sunday morning ABC News program, elevating her to national prominence.
That's what the Republicans did with Palin, isn't it? OK, so he plays hardball politics. Perhaps we can't fairly hold that against him. But his loyalties we can question. His decision to play hardball politics on behalf of wealthy conservative candidates -- a constituency directly opposed to his stated constituency -- belies a certain comfort and facility with deception. A red flag.

Is he a dual citizen, too? Well, supposedly, not anymore.
In a very well publicized example in 2002, Democratic candidate for Congress, and now a congressman from Illinois, Rahm Emanuel was criticized by his opponent for being an Israeli dual citizen and having served in that country's armed forces while an American citizen.64 That impression had been fueled by comments like those of Emanuel's White House colleague, George Stephanopoulos, who told Nightline that, "Rahm had served in the Israeli army." The Jerusalem Post reported on July 1, 1997, after an interview with Mr. Emanuel that, "What has perhaps gained Emanuel the greatest admiration in Jerusalem was his coming to the country during the Gulf War to volunteer at a supply base near Kiryat Shmona. He did menial work at the base, separating tank brakes from jeep brakes from truck brakes. He downplays the trip, saying it was not a sacrifice, merely 'something I wanted to do.'"

Footnote 64: An Internet blog site SmarterTimes.com (March 6, 2002) carried the following background information: "A dispatch from Chicago in the national section of today's New York Times reports that the president of the Polish American Congress, Edward Moskal, 'suggested, erroneously, that' an Illinois congressional candidate, 'had dual citizenship with Israel and has served in its armed forces.' The Associated Press reported in a 1996 biographical sketch of Mr. Emanuel that 'In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, he spent 2 and a half weeks rust proofing brakes for Israeli Army vehicles.' And the Washington Post reported in 1992 that 'Rahm retained dual citizenship until age 18, when he gave up his Israeli passport, but sometimes thinks 'ambivalently' about moving permanently to Israel. It is now part of his legend that during the Persian Gulf War in early1991, when Iraqi scuds were falling on the country where he spent many a childhood summer, he volunteered for 2 1/2 weeks on an army base near the Lebanese border, rust-proofing brakes for military vehicles.'"
Now for the rabbit hole. (Stop here if you don't believe in conspiracies. I do not present any of this as true or false. It is my belief that many things go on behind the scenes, and much of it could be pretty damn ugly, so I therefore have little trouble considering such reports. I always hope they're wrong, but I want to know about them just in case.)

From Sherman Skolnick, undated:

Major fund raiser, campaign and otherwise, for Bill Clinton and his gang, has been Rahm Emanuel. He is an expert reportedly on dirty money through the Chicago markets, particularly the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, called the "Merc". In return, Clinton for five years had Rahm as White House Senior Advisor. On a local TV Show in Chicago, Rahm was shown with his desk right near the door to the Oval Office. He bragged he was the closest to the President. Rahm Emanuel has dual citizenship, U.S. and Israel. He is reputedly the acting deputy station chief for North America of Israeli intelligence, the Mossad (The Institute).

Apparently two-faced, Rahm both set up Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky Affair as well as repeatedly playing the role on network TV of Clinton loyalist.

Oh, not that damn Mossad again, whose charming motto is By deception shall we wage war. Is that 'deception factor' why Emanuel makes such a great strategist? Presumably, Obama would know about this if it's true. Right? I mean, seriously. Either it's a scurrilous rumor or it's true; and if it's true, Obama must know. And if he knows and offers the guy a job as Chief of Staff, he's ok with it. Bad, Obama. Bad bad bad.

Now, piles of shrill, mostly right-leaning people have been complaining bitterly about Obama for many months now, and casting every aspersion under the sun his way, although not necessarily this one. I have tried to keep an open mind about all this, and I pretty much succeeded until the last couple of weeks, when I felt these people got really and truly carried away with the hysteria already. Here somebody describes the speculating as an electronic lynching.

The turnout for Obama was real. His ability to tap into people's desire for a better future is real and not necessarily contrived. McCain's disastrous campaign was real. But now the talk must manifest into action, and now we shall see what emerges from the fog of battle. Is this guy for real, or not? We'll find out.

From the comments to the last link, somebody believes in Good Obama:

As for Obama, I fear for his life. I don't think he fully understands who he's dealing with. He's being set up.

If anything, it's the zionists who are roping and doping him, not the other way around.

Now that they have Rahm appointed as his closest advisor they'll know before anyone else does if Obama's about to defy them - and they will act accordingly.

Rahm will betray Obama in a heartbeat and hand his head over on a silver platter to his zionist buddies.

Obama is surrounded.

If he gets out of this alive, it will be by the grace of God.

Well, the only thing worse would be if Obama didn't need to be betrayed by his Zionist buddies. Good luck to us. Game in progress...

Actually, just go read American Goy. He cuts right to the chase.

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