One of the best candidates Blue America ever worked to elect-- albeit unsuccessfully-- was John Laesch, who ran against Denny Hastert in 2006 and attempted to fight off the Democratic bosses and bring progressive politics of working families to IL-14. We asked him for his take on the Rahm Emanuel appointment. He didn't parse his words:
When asked what he thought of an Obama-Emanuel ticket, Senator Dick Durbin responded by saying, "what would the campaign slogan be, a lot of audacity, not much hope?"
The statement by Durbin was featured in a tongue-in-cheek YouTube video titled, "Rahm Emanuel for Vice President?" The video, which also features Rahm issuing a slew of vulgarities to Democratic strategist, James Carville, has since been removed from YouTube.
While Rahm Emanuel was obviously never considered for VP, his appointment to chief of staff is disturbing. Within 12-hours of receiving the great news that Barack Obama would be the next President of the United States of America, I received a text message stating that Rahm was going to be the next chief of staff. There goes hope.
One of the races in which Rahm Emanuel cut his political teeth on was here in Illinois 14th Congressional District when he worked for Democrat Mary Lou Kearns, who lost a 1986 race against Republican, Denny Hastert. Since then, he has worked for President Clinton, paired up with Mayor Daley's patronage machine to win a seat in congress and founded the New Democratic Caucus. Rahm's caucus has supported anti-worker proposals in the Democratic Party.
Under Clinton, Emanuel fought hard for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a Republican piece of legislation that was signed by Bill Clinton. This trade agreement alone has been the most destructive piece of legislation to America's economy in the 21st Century; resulting in the off-shoring of millions of good-paying jobs. If you want to know why our economy is in the tank, the answer can be summarized by five letters, NAFTA.
As a senior member of the United States Congress, Rahm continued to support unfair trade agreements like NAFTA, cap-stoning his time in Congress by pushing hard to pass the largest piece of corporate welfare in American history, the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.
Emanuel probably raised millions of dollars for Obama For America and has more than paid his dues when it comes to carrying water for multi-national corporations and the banking industry. A nation struggling to get on its feet economically needs a pro-worker and pro-middle-class White House, not Rahm Emanuel.
Many Democrats and independent voters, traumatized by the last eight years of President Bush will probably not want to hear any criticism of our next president's choices, but I feel the need to go on the record and state that Rahm Emanuel has been consistently bad for working families. After working to get Barack Obama on the ballot and supporting his candidacy through the primary season and beyond, I was still hoping that this was "our victory" and not Rahm's. I still have two yard signs in my yard. One says, "Proud to be Union" and the other says "Obama for President." I'll give Obama 100 days to see what kind of hope he produces.
Today, political spin-doctors spent the afternoon and evening spinning Rahm as "the perfect pick." I strongly disagree with the spin doctors, and as parody and satire often contain the real kernel of truth, I agree (100%) with Senator Durbin that this decision represents a lot of audacity, but not much hope.