Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 5, 2008
POLITICS: Emanuel In Or Not In As Chief of Staff

The first major personnel announcement of the new Obama Administration is out, and the word is that Congressman Rahm Emanuel has been offered the post of Obama's chief of staff. The announcement didn't exactly go off smoothly, as this NBC report shows:

From NBC's Andrea Mitchell A senior Obama advisor confirms to NBC News that Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel has accepted the job of Chief of Staff for the Obama White House.

*** UPDATE *** In an email to NBC News, Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg denies the reporting that Emanuel has accepted the chief of staff job.

If you're reading tea leaves for what kind of Administration Obama will run, Emanuel does not exactly embody "new politics" and a "post-partisan" future. He's a Chicago Democrat who worked as a "senior adviser and chief fundraiser" (his words) for Mayor Daley and later worked in the Clinton White House, and he's known as a hardball-playing scorched-earth arch-partisan in the Tom DeLay mold. He's been widely seen as a possible future successor to Nancy Pelosi.

Will Emanuel take the job? If his spokesperson is publicly denying that he's taken it, that's basically a public slapdown to Obama's people for jumping the gun in leaking his name, and it's certainly a sign of initial dysfunction in the naming of what is probably the single most important staff position for a new president who will be facing a sharp learning curve as a new executive.

UPDATE: Allahpundit has more background (with links) on Emanuel.

SECOND UPDATE: After the initial fumbling, Politico reports that Emanuel accepts the job.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:00 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (58) | TrackBack (0)

What are you talking about Begala and Blitzer said the job was his last night. This was not a secret. Quit being a sore loser.
hate hate hate

Posted by: javaman at November 5, 2008 5:12 PM

And maybe he's taking it. But if he is, why is his spokeswoman denying on the record that he's accepted? Not an auspicious beginning.

Angry, much? Gee, it's like your guy didn't win yesterday or something. So much anger.

Posted by: Crank at November 5, 2008 5:16 PM

How am I angry? I am calling you on something you just made up in this post. We the people have spoken, we do not want your brand of politics anymore. You really should prepare for the GOP Civil War that will begin soon. I wish you well.

Posted by: javaman at November 5, 2008 5:44 PM

I made up....a direct quote from NBC News quoting a named spokeswoman for Emanuel?

Hoo boy, this is gonna be a fun four years. Deny, deny, deny...

Posted by: Crank at November 5, 2008 5:54 PM

Here's a tip javaman: READ THE POST.

As for the rest of us, its going to be a fun time to live in when, as NRO's Greg Pollowitz said, "posting video clips of actual events and linking to MSM articles is now considered racist."

Gotta love sore winners.

Posted by: Richard at November 5, 2008 6:04 PM

Well, it appears that 'sore winners with anger' is going to be the schtick here. Given the projection issues the political right in America has, it appears the Republican bloodbath on Tuesday stung bad.
I had to listen to Limbaugh's today, figuring he represents somewhat of a bellwether. He seems to be having a lot of trouble dealing with it. Rush sounds about ready to start wearing a white hood to get in the proper mood for his show.

Posted by: rs at November 5, 2008 6:42 PM

With due respect, you're putting waaaaaaaaaay too much significance into the selection and subsequent semiretraction. But then again youre the guy who implied Obama was some sort of "stealth" Manchurian commie candidate with ghostwriter Bill Ayres pulling the strings in the background. What's next, Billie and Bernadine ring the dinner bell and Obama goes all glassy eyed and strifes the NRO headquarters with machine gun fire?

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 5, 2008 6:47 PM

I'm not going to get into the apparent snafu with announcing Emanuel's appointment. It's a new Administration, and if that's the biggest thing they screw up, we'll all be very lucky. But in terms of the appointment itself, I think it's a reasonable choice. Obama can't actually govern on post-partisan new politics, and I think choosing Emanuel suggests he knows that. Particularly if Obama wants to maintain an above-the-fray public image himself, he'll need someone effective at getting his hands dirty.

Posted by: Jerry at November 5, 2008 7:49 PM

Crank's right -- the whole announcement did not go smoothly -- but who cares -- after running an 18 month marathon of a campaign and facing enormous challenges and expectations, the guy is allowed to let his guard down for a few days.

Crank's also right -- Emanuel comes off as somewhat of a pitbull; he certainly wouldn't play the role Andy "Fetch us a few Hot Dogs" Card played. He'd probably assume some of the Enforcer duties held by Cheney.

His experience in the the Clinton White House would certainly be an asset; but that also may be why he's not so eager to give up his leadership position in the House. He's been there, done that.

Posted by: Patrick at November 5, 2008 8:18 PM

I love how Crank earlier threw Colin Powell under the bus for "turning his back" on all things noble and beautiful and golden by endorsing Obama. How many wars has that guy either fought or led for our country while Crank was numbercrunching winshare predictions or attending fantasy drafts? And you won't hear a peep out of Crank -- unlike other staffers at Redstate last night -- about the tremendous importance of Obama's election in moving past race to a large degree. All you'll hear out of him is veiled bitchings and deployments of reverse race cards. How inspiring.

Posted by: dante at November 5, 2008 8:40 PM

"the tremendous importance of Obama's election in moving past race to a large degree"

Do you think Obama's race was tremendously important to his winning the election?

Posted by: Crank at November 5, 2008 8:44 PM

Back to the subject of your post, I doubt Emanuel will take the job. Then again regardless of party it is very difficult to say no if the president (or president-elect in this case) asks you to serve.

Another sign of what we can expect from this administration is the rumor that nutty RFK Jr. is in line for head of the EPA.

Posted by: largebill at November 5, 2008 11:49 PM

Some honeymoon Crank.

If you need a break, try teaching geography to Sarah Barracuda -- SHE DID NOT KNOW AFRICA IS A CONTINENT AND NOT A COUNTRY. Think about that for a moment.

Also, you may need to go back and revisit your Palin Integrity column. When even Faux News is running stories of Sarah and Todd running amok with other people's credit cards, it will not be pretty.

Posted by: Magrooder at November 6, 2008 1:13 AM

She didn't know Africa was a continent? That reeks of the same bullshit you guys have been throwing around on Palin since she agreed to run. I don't believe a word of it and since you guys haven't been right yet, I won't give it another thought.

Nice cred you guys have there.

Posted by: spongeworthy at November 6, 2008 7:55 AM

People can say all they want about this post being hateful, petty, whatever. But the point remains, and nobody has addressed it: Obama won mainly because he promised a new brand of post-partisan politics. And his first pick for chief of staff is someone who is clearly not in the mold.

So, we basically we have these three choices:
1) Obama knows more about Emanuel's personality and politics than anyone else does
2) Obama has been lying to us for 18 months
3) Obama realized overnight that his pledge to govern that way is going to be difficult, so he decided to break his word

Posted by: per14 at November 6, 2008 8:26 AM

per14 - when one of the options is that a candidate (any candidate, not just Obama) was lying to get elected, do you ever need other options?

Posted by: Jerry at November 6, 2008 9:30 AM

sponge, there's a bunch of unsourced comments being reported, most likely emanating from Nicolle Wallace and other McCain staffers, who are trying to smear Palin as a way of deflecting blame from themselves. I don't put much stock in them. I mean, they tried to claim that she didn't know what countries are in NAFTA - this, about the Governor of Alaska. That's like if the UN Ambassador didn't know what countries were on the Security Council (OK, in light of Bill Richardson, bad example).

Posted by: Crank at November 6, 2008 9:46 AM

spongeworthy says, "...I won't give it another thought."

We know spongey. Habits are hard to break.

Posted by: Berto at November 6, 2008 10:07 AM

Crank doesn't have the faintest idea why liberals might be angry. It's not like they were called traitors to their country, Saddam-lovers, or been likened to Osama bin Laden.

Why can't they just be like jolly conservatives--clap, smile and cheer-lead as the country was driven off a cliff the past 8 years?

I look forward to Crank and Co. smiling ear-to-ear as Obama leads their nation for the next 4 years.

Posted by: Berto at November 6, 2008 10:20 AM


Way to respond to spongeworthy. Too bad neither you nor Magrooder have provided a source for your claim.

Posted by: DKH at November 6, 2008 11:36 AM

re: spongeworthy. You can read his comments here anytime you want. If you think they are well-thought out, that tells me a lot.

Palin didn't know what the "bush doctrine" was. Being Gov. of Alaska may be her calling card. Being smart isn't.
(Before you go there, remember Obama, McCain, and Biden weren't confused by the question. They answered it without needing to be told what it was.)

Posted by: Berto at November 6, 2008 12:06 PM

Networks are pulling back from announcing Emanuel tookt he job. I think he will as the line to be speaker of the house is a long one.

I'm telling you Crank, Palin will be in Stevens' senate seat soon. Palin's big problem is that problem that many minority and female GOP candidates face: the "She's not a woman, she's a republican" attitude. Not "counting". It's sad, but if she had been Sarah Palin - D instead of Sarah Palin - R, she would have been a bigger star in the last 2 months of the election.

Posted by: Son of Brock Landers at November 6, 2008 12:41 PM

You guys can keep smoking the Palin weed, but she was a complete joke as a VP candidate. Having said that, and despite all the polls indicating a lack of broad support even among the GOP, I hope she is the leader of the party in 2012.

As for Rahm, partisan or not, having an enforcer as cheif of staff, particularly one who might be able to keep congressional dems in line, is a good omen for a successful presidency.

Posted by: Magrooder at November 6, 2008 2:50 PM

Here is one source for the comments, but its ultimately from Fox News report:

Posted by: MVH at November 6, 2008 3:02 PM


Wait a second, are you actually claiming that there is no way that Palin or any other Republican could be dumb enough not to know that Africa is a continent, not a country? I give you this quote from George W. Bush: "We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."--After meeting with the leaders of the European Union, Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001.

I don't think Palin fell too far from that tree.

Posted by: Jonah at November 6, 2008 5:25 PM


Couple of questions regarding this latest Palin flare up:

I see that names of staffer believed to be the source of leaks are being named at places like Redstate (I would ask this there, but questions there always just get trashed).

What is the source? Are people certain that these staffers are the sources? As bad as the leaks are, it would be equally horrible to see someone trashed if they did not deserve it?

I am not defending the leakers; ther is no defense. I know you are 100% behind Palin. That said, at some point have you given any consideration that some of this could be true? Or are just just dismissing it out of hand?

What are your thoughts on Operation Leper? I understand people are angry but this just makes more people look really small.

I know sourcing the MSM is always looked on with skepticism here, but Newsweek now has a rather extensive article on this using their own reporting, along with Fox News and NYT.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Posted by: CW at November 6, 2008 6:52 PM

I have a longstanding aversion to anonymous sources. If these folks want to be believed, they'll go on the record. What they want most, I suspect, is to curry favor with a different potential 2012 candidate, having already burned their bridges with Palin.

As to the colorfully-named Operation Leper, you know, you can't turn the page on failure if you keep hiring the people who are part of the problem, and anonymous quotes running down rising stars in the Republican party is no way to run a campaign, and I'm sure Erick has a good basis for naming the names here, Wallace in particular. It makes sense to see to it that we don't have those people working for our side again.

(BTW, I'm by no means committed to Palin in 2012. But I want a strong field to choose from and I'm hoping she'll be one of the choices).

Posted by: Crank at November 6, 2008 7:55 PM

"I have a longstanding aversion to anonymous sources." The problem is Crank that Palin herself doesnt deny the AFrica conversation, or the towel incident, or the tantrums, or the shopping sprees, or the general lack of civics knowledge. And its not like the journalists reporting these stories from the McCain staff are hacks or Obama plants. Rather, Palin portrays it as a "misunderstanding" and leaves it at that. And considering how easily you pass along the ridiculous Obama rumors on your blog -- ie Ayres is ghostwriter/Obama's rasputin -- I find your newfound faith in burdens of proof intriguing.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 6, 2008 8:14 PM

Seth -

1. Has anyone asked her about specifics?

2. When I link to rumors or speculation, I label them as such (in point of fact, the Ayers ghostwriter theory wasn't based on any unsourced assertions of fact, it was a combination of reported fact with informed speculation/guesswork, and I indicated it as such). You guys in the "reality-based community" (itself an unsourced quote of indeterminable provenance) run with this stuff as if it's indisputable fact, and do it constantly and without the slightest shred of skepticism. You guys will believe anything, no matter how flimsy the source, about Bush or Palin, yet refuse to believe on-the-record quotes and detailed reportage about Obama.

For the record, I have no problem with Palin briefly answering her hotel room door in a towel when she was getting out of the, you people are petty.

Jonah - OK, Bush mangles the language. That's kinda well known. Do you think Barack Obama actually thinks there are 57 states?

Posted by: Crank at November 6, 2008 8:31 PM

You aren't alone in hoping that Palin remains a prominent face of the Republican Party.

Posted by: rs at November 6, 2008 8:38 PM

You're hardly alone in your hope that Palin remains a prominent figure in the Republican Party.

Posted by: rs at November 6, 2008 8:43 PM

My apologies- 8:38 PM seemed to disappear into the internet ether- until I submitted 8:43 PM, anyway (I guess it could have been due to my celebrating the medical marijuana initiative passing here in Michigan).
The sentiment remains, however. I can't think of anyone more appropriate than Palin as the torchbearer of the Republican Party.

Posted by: rs at November 6, 2008 8:53 PM

The GOP Civil War is beginning, the pot shots at ArchDuke Palin is only the beginning. Soon memos will be leaked and we can only pray that the debate prep video of Palin shows up on YouTube. If Palin runs in 2012 she will have to sit in on all those debates were some guy with no shot will take shots rehashing all of this stuff. If she fights back they may bring the heavy ammo out to keep her from being the face of the party in 2012.
The stakes are high and quite a few in the GOP will fall. Eating your own just lovely Crank just lovely.

Posted by: javaman at November 6, 2008 8:57 PM

Emanuel is remarkable in two respects-- He's the son of a fierce Zionist, and he's a bare-knuckled brawler in intra-party fighting. There could be worse portents.

Posted by: seamus at November 6, 2008 10:23 PM

"The GOP Civil War is beginning"

You might want to save the civil war references until the democrats start to govern as the majority party. There is going to be more than a few internal conflicts.

Posted by: MVH at November 6, 2008 10:41 PM

Operation Leper
Palin bashing
No leader
An agenda that only connects with the die hard base
You guys lost NC and Virginia
A change is gonna come,

If operation leper works do you really think those attacked will go quietly?

Posted by: javaman at November 6, 2008 10:47 PM

Ok Crank answer this simple question. Why isnt McCain -- the man of honor, the "real" McCain -- coming out immediately and decisively and repudiating these stories about Palin coming from his own staffers if they are false?

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 6, 2008 10:53 PM

This "operation leper" = McCarthyite infighting, plain and simple. The Ayres "theory" was pure bs, pure venality and you know it. It was FOX frickin news that carried the ball on the Palin stories, so I guess you guys are having problems blaming the liberal media this time eh?

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 6, 2008 10:57 PM


Assume all you want about me; you'll only prove my point. Magrooder, with your support, is making a claim about Palin without any factual basis.

Posted by: DKH at November 6, 2008 11:18 PM

I am certainly not a fan of Emanuel's politics, but he strikes me as exactly the kind of guy I would want as my Chief of Staff....(again, political views aside)

Posted by: CW at November 7, 2008 9:03 AM

You lefties ned to get around more--I've stayed in a lot of hotels and I've never seen a hotel bathrobe that was in the least bit revealing. She may as well have been wearing a parka.

Some of my neighbors go out and collect their newspapers in their pajamas, which I find odd but otherwise no reflection upon them either good or bad. I would wear more dignified nightwear were I to take up such habits, but the retired schoolteacher 2 doors down can actually pull off the Slumbering Spiderman pj's, so more power to her.

Emmanuel is a reprehensible human being. He knew Foley was bothering pages but let it continue so he could release the information at the most opportune time. Then he turned around and did the same thing when one of his guys was diddling the help. That said, COS may be the place where he can do the least harm. Relatively, of course.

Posted by: spongeworthy at November 7, 2008 9:27 AM

The looming GOP civil war is actually over. McCain won it, we saw the results. We just ran a candidate who could be a conservative Democrat as easily as he is a liberal Republican, and the base stayed home. (Speaking in the 1st person plural, even though I'm really a party kind of guy.)

The real civil war will be between Obama and the legislature IMO - say what we will about his politics, the man is smart and has figured out how to get ahead at every level, giving in to every demand from Pelosi and Reid won't work.

Also it was 2002 and 2004 where the press claimed the R has locked up national leadership forever - these things shake out rather quickly.

Posted by: Brendan at November 7, 2008 11:02 AM

I will echo another post on here on the Palin deal.

Where is McCain's defense of her? The silence coming from McCain himself is odd. If he believes someone is being wrongly attacked, it seems to me that he is the kind of guy who is the first to step up and attempt to squash that.

I do not understand his silence at this point, and it is a concern to me.

Posted by: CW at November 7, 2008 1:57 PM


Have you heard any speculation why McCain is not coming to Palin's defense? Even if he does not like her, I would still think he would say something.

Posted by: CW at November 7, 2008 1:58 PM

I dunno. He had no problem denouncing the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's attacks on Kerry in 2004 or the North Carolina and other state GOPs' attacks on Obama in this cycle (see how far that got the GOP in NC). Why he won't defend his running mate, who has said nothing but good about him, the way he came to the defense of Kerry and Obama ... it's just sad.

Posted by: Crank at November 7, 2008 2:08 PM

McCain's silence isnt hard to figure out at all. He agrees with the criticisms of Palin and knows they are true. End of story. Otherwise his Republican brand loyalty and personal sense of honor would rise to the fore and he'd offer a spirited defense. It seems to me that you cons are willing to play a blind monkey game regarding Palin's inadequacies because you are so desperate to cultivate a winner in 2012. Are you honestly contending that all of McCain's aides are lying about her on all of these issues?

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 7, 2008 2:18 PM

Thinking a bit off the cuff here. We forget these are two people-McCain and Palin-we're talking about. Not two machines. Maybe McCain is so tired he's not had a chance to formulate an honest and politically responsible response. Maybe he knows his staffers are of base and he is trying to figure out a way to respond that will soothe them and also not insult Palin. Maybe he is mad because he realizes he lost because the base stayed home so he is blaming Palin, as a representative of the base. Maybe McCain is being petty and vindictive--wouldn't be the first time--and sees silence on this as a way to get back on the "good side" of his friends in the liberal MSM. Maybe Palin knows the truth, knows this is all crap, knows it doesn't justify a response, feels that forgive and forget is the best policy, and just wants to govern Alaska and be a mother again.

In other words, three days after the election, it's a little stupid for us to speculate on the motives of two very complicated and very public people.

Posted by: per14 at November 7, 2008 3:43 PM

I can find no fault with Palin answerin' the hotel room door wearin' a towel- she is far more qualified to be doin' that than bein' a governor or vice-presidential candidate. In fact, I find myself in rare agreement with the Keyboard Kommandos of the right (minus the drool and stalker's obsession, of course) that Mrs. Palin is a MILF.

Posted by: rs at November 7, 2008 3:51 PM

I suppose if someone had said that Obama was more qualified to be a house servant than be president that rs would have just chuckled and said "good one."

Posted by: per14 at November 7, 2008 4:06 PM

This latest glimpse into Palin family dynamics also makes it pretty clear that the fruitful and multiplyin' teenage daughter didn't land far from the tree either. Mama's provocative behaviour (wink) clearly has influenced the children. And how come the damn kid isn't married yet?

Posted by: rs at November 7, 2008 4:40 PM

Stay classy, rs.

Posted by: Crank at November 7, 2008 4:43 PM

I find the approbation of conservatives for sexual promiscuity and out-of-wedlock pregnancy extremely disappointin'. It's no wonder this country is in the moral abyss in which we find it.

Posted by: rs at November 7, 2008 5:05 PM


I tend to agree with you to an extent. I certainly get the impression that when she showed up to the concession with her own speech in hand it may have pushed McCain over the edge with regards to her. I am still surprised he has not stood up to some of the Africa/NAFTA stuff. I suspect he was turned off by what he perceived (rightly or wrongly) as her star power and her taking the spotlight. Knowing that this campaign may better be remembered for a VP candidate.

I should add that I am a conservative, and I am not particularly a fan of Palin. There are quite a few others I would rather see take up the mantle, but that is a couple years down the road in all reality.

Posted by: CW at November 7, 2008 5:14 PM

CW: I can certainly understand the conservatives' anger that McCain staffers are airing dirty, internal campaign laundry to the general public. A similar phenomenon occurred on the other side after Clinton lost the primary. What I do not accept, and have tried to call out here, is the seeming collective refusal of bright conservatives like Erickson and Crank from redstate to acknowledge that many of the complaints against Palin may very well be, even probably are, true. And that's where my McCain comment comes in. The one thing positive I have left to say about McCain after a long and I believe at times disgusting series of moves on his part is that if he really knew/believed these accusations to be false he would loudly say so. His silence is a very clear signal to me and should be to conservatives that Palin's flaws are very, very real.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 7, 2008 5:29 PM

McCain won't defend her because, now that the election is over, he doesn't have to. More than anyone, he realizes that she is a complete fraud. When are you going to start a Palin clothes fund, so that those who wish to buy her clothes can do so voluntarily.

Posted by: Magrooder at November 7, 2008 6:46 PM

seth - it is entirely possible we do not agree on a whole lot...but we may agree on Palin...I think there is truth on some levels to what we are hearing....the Newsweek reporting is rather devastating...

Posted by: CW at November 7, 2008 8:05 PM

Today Palin offered up the classic non-denial, denial about the AFrica comments, claiming that they were "taken out of context". Now it very well may be true that it is "cowardly" as she says for the sources to remain anonymous. But that doesnt make their claims false. In what context praytell is "AFrica is a country" an acceptable answer for a potential vice president? I can think of no mitigation for her ignorance.

Posted by: dante at November 7, 2008 8:17 PM

I think it's safe to say we all knew he was going to take the position. The entire failed left-wing illuminati administration of Clinton is the change Obama is offering.

Posted by: Ms. Know at November 13, 2008 12:26 PM
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