The Latest Rahmlinology

I wonder how Greg Craig–ousted from the Administration because he tried to do the right thing on Gitmo–feels about this.

In December 2008, Obama, Emanuel and Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) met in Obama’s transition headquarters in Chicago to discuss detainee policy. According to Graham, Obama turned to him at one point and said, ” ‘I’m going to need your help closing Guantanamo Bay. . . . I want you and Rahm to start talking.’ ” They did, and as the discussions progressed, Emanuel grew wary that closing the U.S. military prison in Cuba was possible without opening a slew of other politically sensitive national security problems ” ‘This stuff is like flypaper,’ ” Graham recalled Emanuel saying. ” ‘It will stick to you.’ ”

Graham said Emanuel was well aware that his and any other Republican support for closing Guantanamo Bay hinged on keeping alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed out of civilian court.

According to a person familiar with the conversations, who discussed the confidential deliberation on the condition of anonymity, Emanuel made his case to Obama, articulating the political dangers of a civilian trial to congressional Democrats. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. presented a counterargument rooted in principle, for civilian trials.

The implication, of course, is that Rahm met with the two Republicans on his own. If so, at the very time Rahm was letting Lindsey Graham demand the shredding of the Constitution, Greg Craig was executing the ham-handed report that, though transparently lame, managed to free Rahm of the taint of Rod Blagojevich.

Rahm wouldn’t have survived into the first days of this Administration without Craig’s work. Some gratitude, Rahm.

And remember how one of the reasons why Craig was ousted was because he wasn’t consulting with Congress enough? Well, it sounds like that was a problem, for Rahm, because that’s how he fancied he’d control the process.

“During this whole civilian-trial debate, Rahm’s gut instincts knew that taking KSM to New York for civilian trials was going to be a misstep,” Graham said. “He has a better ear for domestic politics on this issue than anybody in the administration, quite frankly.”

With the Justice Department in charge, Emanuel tried to keep tabs on the process through Graham. “He’d say: ‘How’s it going? Did you tell them they were going to lose you?’ And in terms a sailor could understand.”

One administration official close to Emanuel did not dispute that Obama had overruled Emanuel on some key policy issues. “It’s not germane what the discussion was beforehand, what his idea was, because once a decision is made, he puts himself whole-hog behind it,” the official said of Emanuel. “It would be difficult for people to discern what his [original] position was.”

Except that it was not difficult at all. It has been clear since August that Rahm has been actively undermining Craig and Holder’s efforts to hew to the rule of law. Doing so, in fact, with the guy who lost the election in 2008, John McCain, who still behaves at every turn like someone trying to take down his political opponent. That’s who Rahm has been sleeping with in his efforts to thwart the rule of law.

No wonder we’re seeing so many artificial “Save Rahm!!” stories.

45 replies
  1. merkwurdiglieber says:

    Rahm can stay on with one condition, wear his IDF uniform to work and

    be a proper minder.

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    Somebody explain to me why it’s so important for the GOP to keep KSM out of a real court and not anybody else?

    It’s not like there’s any BushCo wrongdoing left to cover up. We know about the torture, most of the lies, and the desperate attempts to connect Iraq to 9/11. And a we have VERY political Atty General thinks he can get a conviction in a real court.

    I’m just not seeing the issue, other than The Big, Scary, Brown Muslim Terrorists might decide to declare war on America.

    Boxturtle (Oh, wait…)

    • harpie says:

      Maybe it’s so very important because there actually ARE things that haven’t been unearthed yet.
      Besides, we’re all supposed to “be afwaid…very afwaid”!

      • BoxTurtle says:

        What’s left? Space Aliens? The Second Coming? The GOP was responsable for cancelling Star Trek back in the 1960’s?

        Boxturtle (It’s really Rush in the Barney costume?)

    • tjbs says:

      Every thing hangs by the 9-11 thread.
      The Afghanistan invasion, the Iraq invasion, the wiretapping and the Patriot and military commission act, All because of 9-11.
      All of the above were visited upon us by REPUBLICANS.

      First it was Osama bin Laden who planed the whole thing then after being waterboarded 183 times (Thanks EW)and having his kids disappeared, KSM admits he is the 9-11 Mastermind.
      The whole story is filled with fabrications, lies and misdirection, the last thing the republicans can chance is the Truth, the WHOLE TRUTH and nothing but the truth would come out in a trial.

      I don’t think george and dick want a fair trial.

    • tjbs says:

      This is about KSM trial w/ the mention of torture that explains the difference from a military and later civilian lawyer;

      In a military court, the judge has no jurisdiction over the government agents. In a civilian court, the judge could order the U.S. Marshals Service to arrest the civilian government agents. Once that happens, the whole looking-forward-not-backward agenda unravels.

    • fatster says:

      I don’t know much about things military, but could it be they think they can keep tighter wraps on testimony and evidence and overall proceedings in a Military Court?

    • Leen says:

      In Dayton Ohio right now. Every day I pass the abandoned GM plant down the street from my parents house on my way to the nursing home my father is in. Jobs..Health care reform…Jobs…health care reform. I know the stimulus package helped folks not lose more jobs. But Rahm might have been right on this one issue if it is true that he wanted Obama to focus on jobs even more than they did. Is this true?

      Essentially Rahm is right about the closing Guantanamo issue if you are thinking about how most Americans think. Most could give a rats ass about whether U.S. officials (or torture contractors) water board anyone.

      The majority of Americans do not want to think about the Bush/Cheney war based on a pack of lies that has left hundreds of thousands dead, injured and millions of Iraqi people displaced. MSM is more than willing to not remind them. What did they learn from Vietnam? Do not show the pictures Do not count the dead in the ocuntry that they have basically destroyed. DO NOT SHOW THE PICTURES OF THE PEOPLE that the U.S. (and torture contractors) water boarded, kicked, tortured in brutal ways. Happy to stay in the bubble. Rahm knows this, Graham knows this, Bush, Cheney know this.

      The folks here at FDL and elsewhere in the progressive blogosphere who are concerned about the rule of law, accountability and the unnecessary deaths that the Bush administration (and Dems who voted for that immoral war) are responsible for are a small fraction of the public. Now granted millions marched against that invasion. But we all witnessed that it did not have much of an effect. Hell the MSM barely covered those millions of folks.

      As long as Americans can put their pedals to the metal and get to the mall and church to pretend they are religious. Most are happy to “move forward, turn the page” so that they do not have to think about what their country has done and is doing in Iraq, the torture etc.

      We thought Obama and team were going to take accountability and the rule of law up a notch. Still waiting and pushing. Thanks to the FDL folks for pushing so hard

      • amghru says:

        You can take this a step further. Not only don’t the majority really not care, (mainly because just trying to survive takes up all of their time), half of them are all for torture, Gitmo, and shredding the Constitution.

  3. Margaret says:

    It’s easy to blame Rahm but if he was truly working against Obama’s wishes, surely he would have been fired long ago? But he’s not been fired or even stopped his egregious efforts against all things liberal. Obama is a smart man. He isn’t easily misled or kept in a Bush style bubble. I can only reach one conclusion…

    • DWBartoo says:

      There is but one reasonable conclusion, Margaret, some, perhaps many, of us, have arrived at that destination.

      The alternative “excuse” is simply that Obama does not know any better.

      Ideas, people, or possibilities.

      Rahm is the deliberate irritant, but Obama decides where to “apply” him.

      If that is not the case, then Obama is weak, foolish, and utterly compromised.

      Personally, I am convinced it is both.


      • TarheelDem says:

        It is instructive in this regard that no decision has yet been made (despite all the rumors, er, background information) in the KSM and other cases that were to be conducted in NYC.

      • razorbrain says:

        Morning, DW. Just to flash back to the James Fallows blog on 2/24, I read the link you provided to Ian Welsh’s predictions. When I said he was “optimistic,” I meant his predictions were dire but not dire enough, some will come true earlier than his timetable. They closed the comments before I could respond to your last, where you made it clear you misunderstood me and didn’t realize I had already read the link you provided. I’m always gonna read a link you provide, DW. I was brought up right ;).

        • DWBartoo says:

          ‘Morning, razorbrain.

          For my part, I have been very impressed with your cogent commentary on a number of threads, which I stumbled upon long after you (and everyone else) had moved on to other things.

          Ian, purposely, I think, does not wish to frighten or dismay, and so couches his predictions and commentary carefully.

          But candidly he will tell you that things are far more grim and the trajectory of our “economy”, such as it is and it isn’t, is closer daily to … straight down … and where it will land (or come ashore) none of us may know. (In part, I imagine this is why he says that many otherwise courageous sites are wary of his words and thoughts … and I can only agree).

          Sorry for the lengthy OT, especially if it offends.


          • razorbrain says:

            Who could be offended by you, DW?

            I think Ian is brilliant, one of the very best on perceiving the overall economic picture. As a market trader, I have come to have an expectation that everything, good or bad, will get pushed to the extreme. So, there fore, I am comfortable in believing that his predictions will come true, but with a vengeance, and sooner than he indicated.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      The ideal chief of staff is one who, first, knows (and not just think he knows) his boss’s mind and value system well enough to to identify issues that don’t require his attention and either decides them himself of hands them off to another appropriate person. And secondly, when dealing with an issue that does require the boss’s decision makes sure that the competing analyses and recommendations makes sure that they are presented to him or her clearly and fairly, even if the CoS has strong preferences of one option over another. It’s obvious that Rahm is the antithesis of the ideal. As Margaret points out, the question is whether Rahm is operating in this manner on his own, or at Obama’s behest.

    • TarheelDem says:

      I agree with you on this. Rahm is being Grahamed in order to try to force military commissions on Obama. The GOP has trapped (or invited) Obama into sharing the guilt for covering up torture already. It’s part of a well-constructed (i.e. White House is oblivious to what is going on) GOP campaign to create the facts that “they do it too, so it must have been all right for Bush-Cheney.” And I don’t think the Congressional politics of the Democratic caucus in either house is helping; on this issue, even Pat Leahy seems to be in “duck and cover” mode.

      Neither presidents nor chiefs-of-staff are omnipotent, a thought that occasionally escapes Rahm. Essentially, Lindsey Graham has double-crossed Obama in order to keep Gitmo open.

      • Stephen says:

        With this cluster of an administration, why are Progressives and like minded Liberals not looking for a new leader? The future is now. Barry and company are self destructing daily.

  4. jedimsnbcko19 says:

    The Rahm charm campaign is in full swing.

    Rahm knows that heads must roll, he is just trying to save his head and legacy.

    Why is Rahm talking to John McCain and Lindsey Graham? It is reason John McCain loss, John McCain is they guy who pick Sarah Palin as his number 2.

    What good advice can one Achieve from John McCain I guy who pick Sarah Palin to be Vice President.

    Obama and his team are starting to approach the stupidity of Bush.

  5. brendanx says:

    Oooh, brilliant:

    Every morning, Emanuel leads a 7:30 meeting with about 10 senior administration aides, pushing through the president’s priorities, all listed on index cards embossed with the title “Chief of Staff.” Throughout the day, one senior administration official said, Emanuel might call six times to determine whether he can cross off an item. If not, it is on the list the next day.

  6. Frank33 says:

    EPU but Rahm is the secret President. Rahm tried to close Gitmo?

    Finally the WaPooP has the scoop on the Rahm Presidency. Jason Horowitz Rahm’s stenographer, explains what Rahm wants him to explain.

    Emanuel is a force of political reason within the White House and could have helped the administration avoid its current bind if the president had heeded his advice on some of the most sensitive subjects of the year: health-care reform, jobs and trying alleged terrorists in civilian courts.

    President Rahm is is a busy and all powerful decision maker.

    His office is the White House nerve center. “In order to get a final decision, everything needs to go through Rahm’s office,” said a former administration official who thinks Emanuel should delegate more….

    The official said Emanuel surveys colleagues’ opinions “more than people think.” Emanuel’s initial reaction to criticism is likely to be slamming down the phone.

    Rahmbo gets bipartisan support, with corrupt D’s and R’s defending Rahm against the lefty insurgents.

    Listening to Emanuel would serve “all our overall goals,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). “I think that Rahm’s considerable legislative experience translates into advice that the president should heed.”

    “When the going gets rough, the chiefs of staff are always on the firing line,” Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) said last week.

    Rahm does make the tough decisions. He takes credit for the Health Care Bill in Congress.The Mad Max Senate Bill, which gives even more taxpayer money and power to Blood sucking parasite Insurance Companies, belongs to Rahm.

    When the larger measure stalled, Emanuel harangued Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and later argued to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to strike the public option from the legislation to expedite passage, the source said. Reid insisted on putting it in.

  7. brendanx says:

    The transparency of the feedback loop would embarrass real journalists. It’s all so meta:

    But the Rahm-knows-better-than-the-president notion, increasingly spread by his allies and articulated in a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank last month, is, regardless of its relation to reality, creating more tension for the chief of staff inside the White House and drawing more scrutiny from outside.

    • Synoia says:


      But the Rahm-knows-better-than-the-president everyone else notion, increasingly spread by his allies and articulated in a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank last month, is, regardless of its relation to reality, creating more tension for the chief of staff inside the White House and drawing more scrutiny from outside

      Rham, can you spell Hubris?

  8. Frank33 says:

    Perhaps a conspiracy theory might be needed. Why prosecute KSM in Court? Because he might give the answers that Patrick Fitzgerald does not want him to give. The US Government was covering up KSM’s role in Al Qaeda. Certainly the 9-11 Commission Report differs from the public record about KSM.

    The evidence I’d obtained from the Philippines National Police demonstrated that the Yousef-KSM Manila cell was funded directly by bin Laden via his brother-in-law, but the Commission, with the backing of Snell and other ex-Feds, concluded that KSM wasn’t even a member of al Qaeda in 1996. By mid-2004 I was getting closer to the truth. The 1996 FBI 302 memos I’d tried to share with the commission showed that the Bureau, and prosecutors from the Justice Department, had affirmatively covered up evidence of an active al Qaeda cell in New York City.

    • Schnitzie says:


      Combine that motive for removing the criminal proceedings against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed from the sunshine of a civilian court proceeding with the utterly bullshit security concerns Mayor Bloomberg has advanced in opposition to holding the trial in New York City.

      The New York City Real Estate Lobby set upon Bloomberg to bitch that the security measures put in place for the trial would so interrupt the flow of consumer traffic to Lower Manhattan that commerce in the area would suffer. Gee, sorry. Economic concerns do not trump the imperative for constitutional due process.

      Accordingly, Bloomberg resorts to fear-mongering under the pretext of public safety concerns. Those same concerns were non-existence when Bloomberg campaigned to hold the 2012 Olympics — a demonstrated magnet for terrorism — in New York City. The only difference is the (somewhat dubious) belief that the Olympics envelope the host city with MONEY.

  9. wigwam says:

    So far as the advice he gives Obama is concerned, Rahm seems to be a typical neocon. So it’s no wonder the Washington press corp loves him.

    • Leen says:

      Don’t look back or hold anyone accountable. Just “move on, turn the page, next chapter” And then refer to anyone who demands accountability for the very serious crimes committed during the Bush administration as people interested in “witch hunts, vengeance, retribution”

      What a pile of crap

      We have come a long way (closer to hell) since our congress held a President accountable for lying under oath about blowjobs. Now they (Repubs and Dems) refer to the application of the rule of law and international agreements in regard to serious crimes committed as “vengeance” and not justice and accountability.

      • wigwam says:

        These assholes dismiss war crimes and torture as mere “policy differences.” It reminds me of the point in The Banality of Evil where Hannah Arendt recounts Eichman’s lawyer as saying, “My client had no knowledge of the medical matters.” Thus, dismissing the slaughter of six million human beings as mere “medical matters.”

        Obviously the holocaust was of an entirely different scope, but the same banality and the evil were definitely present in the Bush administration, and Obama is whistling past them.

  10. consumetheconsumer says:

    Re: “Rahm’s gut instincts knew that taking KSM to New York for civilian trials was going to be a misstep”

    My “gut instincts” knew that as well, but then I remembered that Obama is POTUS and the POTUS stands for upholding the US Constitution and the US Constitution has this thing called trial by jury and besides we’re the shining light on the hill and Obama understands all that jazz and so I said, gee, I hope my POTUS does the right thing, rather than continue to follow the wrong things that have been happening all these years . . . but then we all got reminded that Rahm is CoS and then we all knew that, if given the opportunity, Rahm would trash an ideal for the possibility of a regular old deal.

  11. hazmaq says:

    MSNBC’s headline just now was “Dems tell WaPo Obama should have listened to Rahm.”

    We know who those ‘Dems’ are. The same spineless Dems who’ve undermined the party and the country under the “screw the voters, pass what the donors tell you to pass” rules wielded by Rahm Emanuel personally. Those rules also kept cowardly Democrats out of power, because Rahm was one of the first Democrats to see and use the power behind ‘fear’.

    This is a war for the soul of the Democratic party. But maybe too many have already sold out.

  12. fatster says:

    The WaPo Valentine to Rahm is about the frilliest, silliest and most transparent I’ve seen.

  13. booyah says:

    I read this Rahm Emanuel blow-job disguised as journalism last night and wondered if anyone was going to deal with it.

    Marcy is focusing on it rather narrowly in the context of the KSM trial… my bigger concern relates to the outright lies being put forth that “early Obama supporters” wish Obama would follow Emanuel around like a puppy following his every command.

    I find the article repulsive and obnoxious… pretty much my sentiments about Emanuel…

    Altho, I did like the visual of Rahm being stuck on fly paper and not being able to get off… that is a lovely sight to imagine.

  14. booyah says:

    ps… I think tjbs’s assessment at #29 explains the whole civilian trial issue. Thank you.

  15. joanneleon says:

    Thought of you when I read the article this morning, EW.

    This article also asserts that Rahm is the one who convinced Reid to pull the public option out of the HCR bill at the last minute in his manager’s amendment.

    • bmaz says:

      Maybe, but that doesn’t happen unless Obama wants it to happen; as bad as Emanuel is, and he is all that, the buck stops with Obama.

  16. worldwidehappiness says:

    “According to Graham, Obama turned to him at one point and said, ” ‘I’m going to need your help closing Guantanamo Bay. . . . I want you and Rahm to start talking.’ … Emanuel grew wary that closing the U.S. military prison in Cuba was possible without opening a slew of other politically sensitive national security problems ” ‘This stuff is like flypaper,’ ” Graham recalled Emanuel saying. ” ‘It will stick to you.’”

    Wow, that is courageous leadership – NOT!

    Change you can believe in – NOT!

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