As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

President Rahm Emanuel

It could happen.

Several years ago, when Rahm Emanuel was still in Congress, I covered as a reporter a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, on which he sat.

The witness was droning on about some matter I forget, while the seats on the rostrum where the committee members sat were about half filled with sober and maybe bored looking lawmakers. Some were preparing their own questions, others were, with interest levels ranging from little to intense, listening to the testimony.

At some point, Rahm suddenly materialized from behind the rostrum and plopped down into his seat.

Rahm Emanuel in the East Room
Photo by Keith Koffler

It was as if a seven year old with boundless energy had suddenly sprung into the room and, surveying the cavernous chamber, wondered exactly how he would be entertained today.

After acclimating himself, he began looking at the witness intently, as if he fully meant to give him his thorough attention straight through the rest of the testimony.

After about 90 seconds of this, he leaned back in his chair and surveyed the room again. Then he picked up his copy of the testimony, and leafed through it for perhaps a minute. Then he put the pamphlet down, and listened to the witness for a few more moments.

Then he surveyed the room again, got up, and left.

Approximately 30 minutes later, he returned and repeated pretty much the same performance.

Rahm is not a patient man. I used to run into him sometimes when I covered the Clinton White House. To run into him is to nearly be run over.

He ain’t going to grow old – Richard Daley (Sr. and Jr.) style, being mayor of Chicago.

He’s made money, he’s served at senior levels in Congress, he’s had a significant hand in governing from the White House, and in a few years he will have run a city. He might eventually run for governor, but after being mayor of Chicago the governorship of Illinois would probably be an anti-climax.

He’s a man of unique political talent, as John Harris, who has covered and observed him for years, points out in this Politico piece. And he’s managed to comport himself with dignity during the campaign, though that veneer should crack wide open pretty soon.

The only thing left for Rahm to do is run for president. I say 2016.

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18 Responses to President Rahm Emanuel

    • I think once Rahm is tainted by mayoral politics, he’ll be unelectable for future office, although Keith, 2016 may be *THE* election year with the ascension of Chris Christie, Rep. West and Sen. Marco Rubio. Rahm’s a political foot soldier, but I don’t think he can win against any three of those men (especially as Hispanic voters in red states move farther right). A literal Obamarahma!

  1. My guess is that in an executive position, he will not be able to conceal his real persona to the degree he was able to as a congressman and WH staffer. You may be right that his aspirations will turn to the presidency, but hopefully there will be enough “on him” as mayor such that run of mill democrat primary voters will not be able to stomach his image, after his democrat primary opponents expose him. Lots of time between now and then, and hopefully the dems in general will continue to overplay their hands and continue to get their asses handed to them every two years. My hope is that the current president and leadership of the two houses have done enough damage to their own party that they will still be trying to sort it all out 5 years from now.