Friday, November 7, 2008

O COME O COME, NOT EMANUEL

ABC - President-elect Barack Obama's newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot "red flags," according to government reports. According to a complaint later filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freddie Mac, known formally as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002.

Emanuel was not named in the SEC complaint but the entire board was later accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." . . . Freddie Mac agreed to pay a $50 million penalty in 2007 to settle the SEC complaint and four top executives of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation were charged with negligent conduct and, like the company, agreed to settle the case without admitting or denying the allegations. The actions by Freddie Mac are cited by some economists as the beginning of the country's economic meltdown.

Joshua Frank, Information Clearing House - Emanuel is a shameless neoliberal with close ties to the Democratic Leadership Council, even co-authoring a strategy book with DLC president Bruce Reed. Without Emanuel, Bill Clinton would not have been able to thrust NAFTA down the throats of environmentalists and labor in the mid-1990s. Over the course of his career, Emanuel's made it a point to cozy up to big business, making him one of the most effective corporate fundraisers in the Democratic Party. He's also a staunch advocate of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories. Emanuel's shinning moment came in 2006 as he helped funnel money and poured ground support into the offices of dozens of conservative Democrats, expanding his party's control of the House of Representatives. Emanuel, who supports the War on Terror, and expanding our presence in Afghanistan, worked hard to ensure that a Democratic House majority would not alter the course of US military objectives in the Middle East.

Antiwar - When the House Democratic majority passed a military appropriations bill slated for Iraq, a clause that would have prohibited an attack on Iran without a vote in Congress was deleted at the instigation of Emanuel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When Rep. John Murtha presaged the popular rebellion against the Iraq war by coming out against it in no uncertain terms, Emanuel urged Pelosi to refrain from endorsing his call for withdrawal, arguing that it would hurt the Democrats politically. . .

He backed pro-war candidates over antiwar Democrats every time. As Bill Safire put it on "Meet the Press" just before Tim Russert died: "What about Rahm Emanuel [for Vice President], the most powerful voice in the House of Representatives that agrees with Hillary Clinton on foreign affairs? He's a hawk. And although he's a rootin' tootin' liberal on domestic affairs, he is a hawk on foreign affairs. I was at the - a roast for him for Epilepsy Association, and Hillary Clinton was there, and I said, quite frankly, here you have the hawkish side of the Democratic Party. If they get together, the bumper sticker will read 'Invade and bomb with Hillary and Rahm.'"

Mondo Weiss - Another county heard from. Rahm Emanuel's father, who was in the terrorist organization the Irgun, talking to the Israeli press: "In an interview with Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son's appointment would be good for Israel. 'Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel,' he was quoted as saying. 'Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House.'"

Mark Karlin, Buzzflash - Like most progressives, BuzzFlash sided with the 50-state strategy of Howard Dean in 2006, which Emanuel and Chuck Schumer did everything they could to undercut. We remember reporting at the time that Emanuel was barely on speaking terms with Dean because Rahm thought that the 50-state approach was unrealistic and a waste of time and financial resources. Well, fast forward to 2008 and Howard Dean's vision -- as carried out on the presidential level by the campaign staff of Barack Obama -- was vindicated. The limited cautious political focus of Emanuel and Schumer would have been a disaster for the Obama campaign, and for the Senate gains in both the 2006 and 2008 cycle.


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