Rahming things through

John Batchelor at the Daily Beast talks about how Rahm Emmanuel keeps things in line. It’s politics at its finest.

The victims are everywhere, and the Republicans know best how brilliantly brutal Emanuel’s methods can be. “Rahm puts people on a string,” a cautious Republican told me. “He did it to Dennis [Hastert, former speaker of the House]. We always knew Rahm had something on him. Maybe it was earmarks. Maybe it was something like classic car-flipping. Dennis never went after Rahm and never allowed us to go after him.”

Emanuel’s methods in the House are now writ large throughout the government. Not one of the House Democrats is suicidal enough to push back in public against what amounts to his extortion and protection racket for each successive piece of partisan legislation—witness the 219 beaten-up votes for cap and trade in the House, or the pummeled Blue Dogs during the health-care brouhaha during recess. One Democratic wag comments that Rahm Emanuel is to the Blue Dogs what Michael Vick was to pit bulls. In the beginning he feeds them steak, then they get torn apart.


They’ll stay in line until the instinct for self-preservation impels them to grow a spine. But it will be an induced, not a natural phenomenon. Wheeling and dealing can be stressful. Breitbart reports that President Obama is looking for a break from his vacation.

On Wednesday, the president will head off to his official Camp David retreat in Maryland for a four-day break — seeking the quiet that evaded him in the millionaires playground on the US east coast. “He is looking to get a break from his vacation,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. “I don’t think you can replicate such a terrific place as Martha’s Vineyard, but I do think that he’s looking to get some more rest and relaxation when he goes up there,” Burton said. The Camp David trip, over the Labor Day weekend, had been tentatively planned before Obama headed on vacation.

It’s a strange business.

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