Rahm’s Greg Craig Campaign

How many stories–transparently sourced to Rahm Emanuel and predicting Greg Craig’s demise–have to appear before people start asking why Rahm is so persistently targeting Craig? Today’s NYT story follows on at least three other stories of the same genre (one, two, three). And it hides Rahm’s tracks even less than the earlier examples from the genre. There’s the on the record quote from Rahm.

“The president believes he has done a very good job and continues to do a very good job,” Mr. Emanuel said. “The notion that you’re going to blame him is ridiculous. He didn’t create Guantánamo. He is trying to work within the system to meet the president’s goal.”

There’s the blame on Rahm for trimming Craig’s portfolio on high profile issues.

At moments, it has looked as if Mr. Craig’s authority has been trimmed back. Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, assigned Pete Rouse, a senior adviser with deep ties to Capitol Hill, to oversee Guantánamo issues.

Similarly, after Mr. Craig started the search that produced the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Mr. Emanuel assigned the confirmation fight to Ronald A. Klain and Cynthia Hogan, aides to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with long experience handling judicial appointments.

In both instances, White House officials said that Mr. Craig remained involved but that it made sense to tap people with political backgrounds to manage political issues, particularly since Mr. Craig had so many other duties, like scrutinizing legislation, vetting appointees and selecting judges.

And there’s the description of Rahm’s juvenile taunts going back to the Lewinsky days.

He studied law at Yale with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and joined the Clinton White House in 1998 to fight impeachment. Longtime aides resented the newcomer. When the announcement of his appointment described Mr. Craig as the “quarterback” of the impeachment defense, some Clinton aides, including Mr. Emanuel, derisively referred to him as “QB.” (All these years later, Mr. Emanuel said he liked and respected Mr. Craig.)

Mind you, this particular version of the Rahm-attacks-Craig story seems like it may be pushback, perhaps the beginning of a campaign to pre-empt the firing of Craig as a scape-goat for the Administration’s failure to meet its Gitmo deadline next January. In fact that’s precisely what Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski suggests is happening.

“To make Greg the fall guy, if that indeed is what they’re doing, is profoundly disingenuous,” Mr. Malinowski said.

Nevertheless, the narrative is always the same: Rahm attacking Craig for perceived failures relating to Gitmo and torture.

I understand the Village may like these conflict stories. But at some point, the persistence of these repeated stories become the story. After all, how many times do journalists have to grant anonymity to help hide the Administration’s real stance on torture and Gitmo?

9 replies
  1. alinaustex says:

    Why is Malinowski calling foul about ? Its it really held the truth that Obama does not want to close Gitmmo ?

  2. MadDog says:

    How many stories–transparently sourced to Rahm Emanuel and predicting Greg Craig’s demise…And it hides Rahm’s tracks even less than the earlier examples from the genre…

    I had to chuckle when I read this NYT story last night (apparently so did EW) because there was only the smallest of pro forma efforts on the part of the NYT to hide the fact that Rahmbo was indeed their source.

    As a matter of fact, it dawned on me while reading between the lines, that the real purpose of the story was not to, yet again, report on the imminent demise of Greg Craig, but instead to belittle the constant childish gossip groupie antics of the self-flattering Rahmbo himself.

    I mean come-on, what was the real story’s takeway? That Craig is on outs again, or that Rahmbo is a rabid ratster?

  3. Rayne says:

    Why all the veiled threats? Why haven’t they just kicked Craig’s ass to the curb?

    There’s something else going on here, because this many threats is just a front, kabuki to distract from something else.

  4. constantweader says:

    I have been thinking for a while now that Rahm should just change his name to “Anonymous Source.” Maybe some of his flaks could follow suit & call themselves “Another Anonymous Source,” “One Anonymous Source” & finally “A Person Who Did Not Wish to Be Named Because of the Sensitivity of the Issue.”

    The Constant Weader at http://www.RealityChex.com

  5. phred says:

    EW, I’ve been puzzled about the Greg Craig rumor mongering since it started. He is hardly a stalwart defender of civil liberties. IIRC, he thinks the unitary executive is just dandy. He had a particular quote that really got under my skin, but it escapes me at the moment…

    So what I don’t get is, why is he being held up as the poster-boy champion of closing Guantanamo and ending torture and whatnot? I don’t see him as actively trying to restore the rule of law or a defender of civil liberties or any of the rest of it. So is this really just all about Rahmbo angling to make sure Craig isn’t more of Obama’s pet than he is? Is it really just a playground pissing contest? Why waste the energy? Unless…

    Maybe Rahmbo is feeling the heat from fucking up healthcare? Maybe there is a real threat to his position? Oooo, now that would be good news… Maybe Rahmbo is desperately trying to hold on to his job, because maybe he’s not so popular any more…

    Sorry, nodded off there for a moment and started dreaming. What was I saying? ; )

  6. Mary says:

    It’s nice for NYT to come right out and admit in print that they are enlisted in the cause of undermining Craig.

    Whatever the motivation, the talk does its damage.

    “In the White House, in particular, power is the perception of power,” said Bradford A. Berenson, Kyle Sampson’s lawyer a former associate White House counsel under Mr. Bush

    emph added

    I thought Rahm was the guy who was supposed to ram things through Congress – what’s up with him getting legislation that lets the guilty guys come to the US for trials but bars the innocent war crimes victims from ending up somewhere where a court could get jurisdiction over their torture victim’s act claims?

    What I think is interesting is that the article has that same, weird overlay that the article on the criticisms of Holder had. It’s like they are fishing to see which “side” of the issues they can get stirred up, bc they point to decisions that have both been supportive of transparency and that have been active support of criminal cover up as BOTH being the decisions that have gotten him into trouble.

    One of these things is not like the others:

    He drafted executive orders banning torture and ordering the Guantánamo prison closed within a year. Over the objections of the Central Intelligence Agency, he recommended the release of Justice Department memorandums describing harsh interrogations. And he was at the center of the White House decision to reverse itself and withhold photographs of abuse of detainees.

    The same thing happened in the Holder attack piece I remember. It’s really like watching a fisherman set up 4 or 5 poles with different bait and angled to different places, waiting to see what’s biting. There is also the reiteration that Obama thinks torture and Article 147 war crimes are all political decisions that he can spin around, not Executive branch crime.

    White House officials said that Mr. Craig remained involved but that it made sense to tap people with political backgrounds to manage political issues

    So the article points out that Craig was a Kennedy guy. Kennedy’s gone and protection from that corner is gone or diminished. It points out that the CIA holds him responsible for the leak of the memos – Hayden is still livid over that and apparently the CIA has no real problems and issues to deal with, so they can devote themselves to protecting torture regimes and torturers. Besides, they now have Obama directly involved in the drone assassination programs and related civilian murders collateral damage and they have him on the record that he is going to continue to violate Article 147 and engage in kidnappings and shipments to foreign country torture for whomever he pleases, with Congress and the courts here having established a series of shrug and scratch precedents on the concept of kidnap to torture illegal rendition to third party torture Article 147 grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions send people to Egypt for false confessions programs.

    In the end, it’s not Rahm or Craig.

    It’s Obama.

  7. phred says:

    Edit: Should have been a reply to Mary’s comment at 7.

    not Executive branch crime.

    Ah, but you forget that if the Executive does it, it is legal. Poof! Therefore they can be no crime committed in the Executive branch. Very handy that UE stuff.

    By the way, I agree it is Obama. But I still think Rahm’s feelings are hurt because he isn’t positively absolutely cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-die sure that he is Obama’s BFF. So he skulks around moping to reporters and talking smack about Obama’s other friends hoping to win the big guy’s heart forever and ever.

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