The Truth About Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel, the DCCC chairman, was given a lot of credit for the success of the Democratic victory in the House. The credit really belongs to the quality of the candidates and the protest vote against the Republican Congress. The fact is that many of Emanuel's hand picked favorite candidates did poorly in the primaries and in the general election. Even worse, he failed to support 1 candidate in my district, the 10th Congressional District of Illinois.

Dan Seals, a highly qualified African American, was the Democratic candidate in my district running against 3 term incumbant Mark Kirk. Kirk had a 91% record of voting with Bush's legislation including the war in Iraq and the infamous death legislation to habeas corpus. However, Kirk had a 100% record on votes in favor of Israel. Emanuel is a personal friend of Kirk's and is of Israeli heritage. Furthermore, the 10th District has a high Jewish population. Emanuel did not lift a finger to help Dan Seals and he did not openly support Seals which could have made the difference for Seals who lost by about 7000 votes. Instead, he and the other Democrats in the DCCC poured millions of dollars into the Tammy Duckworth race in Henry Hyde's old district, the 6th of Illinois.

Duckworth was a veteran of the war in Iraq and lost both her legs in that conflict. She was a handpicked candidate of Emanuel's who dumped the 2004 candidate against Hyde, Christine Cegalis. Unfortunately, Duckworth was a bad candidate. I was up in arms about this during the Illinois primary this year. Christine Cegelis was the progressive Democrat who ran in 04 against Henry Hyde and got 44% of the vote, which prompted Hyde to retire. Evidently, she was too progressive for Emanuel. Cephalis got 44% of the vote against Hyde in 2004 and Duckworth got 47% of the vote against the Republican candidate in 2006. Duckworth got only 3% more of the vote than Cegalis in a Democratic sunami running against a non-incumbant.

The fact is that Emanuel's cause is his own power and control. How could the chair of the DCCC put cronyism before country and party? Emanuel may have fooled the nation and his colleagues in the House, but many of us know him as an old time Chicago party hack which was his prime duty as an advisor to President Clinton. He made millions of dollars as an investment banker after leaving the Clinton adminstration. When he ran for Congress in 2002 he called me for financial support and I gave him the maximum contribution. One year later when I was forming Air America Radio I called him for financial help and I got the cold shoulder. He was not the slightest bit interested in progressive talk radio.

Emanuel has opposed Howard Dean's 50-state strategy for the Democratic party, which again shows his short-sighted approach to politics. The Democrats have an excellent opportunity to influence red state voters and build a lasting foundation for the Democratic party. This falls directly against Emanuel's philosophy of concentrating money and power into proteges of Emanuel's. This policy is inopposite to a sensible 50 state grass roots strategy as suggested by Dean.

I suggest that you look at at Democratic Underground for a more detailed analysis of Emanuel's leadership of the DCCC. I would suggest that the Democrats got control of the House not because of Rahm Emanuel, but in spite of him.