Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nina Easton on Rahm Emanual

The final four paragraphs from Nina Easton's profile on Emanual. I like him. I agree with his comments on Iraq and Saddam. I just wish we could drop this Untouchables thing everytime someone outside Chicago writes about us.
On Iraq, Emanuel has steered clear of the withdraw-now crowd, preferring to criticize Bush for military failures since the 2003 invasion. "The war never had to turn out this way," he told me at one of his campaign stops. In January 2005, when asked by Meet the Press's Tim Russert whether he would have voted to authorize the war-"knowing that there are no weapons of mass destruction"-Emanuel answered yes. (He didn't take office until after the vote.) "I still believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, okay?" he added.

When it comes to slicing and dicing his Republican foes, Emanuel applies a Chicago pol's sensibility that recalls that famous Untouchables line: "He pulls a knife, you pull a gun; he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro describes Emanuel as a "reflection of Chicago politics, ward politics. It's local, ethnic. You're not in a tea party." Colleague Ed Markey, a veteran House member from Massachusetts, says simply, "He's not a political romantic."

Mostly out of power for the past six years, the Democrats could use Emanuel's comeback instincts. So the match is a timely one. But what's driving Emanuel crazy right now is how little control he has over the party's future-or his own. "Can we get the right candidates?" he asks. "Yes, and we busted our balls recruiting and expanding the field. Can we raise the resources? Yes. Can we help on issues? Yes." But at the end of the day, he asks, "which way will the wind blow on Iraq? On energy prices? On the Middle East?"

"For a type-A personality like me, I hate that. I hate that," he says, his voice trailing off as he spins through a Capitol building hallway. "Your fate is out of your hands."

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