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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘Rahm Emanuel’

Obama Sends Wall Streeters to “Reform School”

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

[ Ed. note: The following account of President Obama’s remarks on Wall Street reform yesterday are not, strictly speaking, part of Levees Not War’s usual portfolio (we do have many interests!), but then again it’s not every day that we get to personally attend a presidential address. A variant of this post appears at Daily Kos. ]

President Obama came within a few zip codes of Wall Street yesterday to speak to a gathering of prominent banking executives (including Lloyd “I’m Doing God’s Work” Blankfein of Goldman Sachs) and illustrious Empire State politicos at the fabled Great Hall of Manhattan’s Cooper Union. It was a privilege to sit in the Great Hall where over the last 150 years audiences have gathered to hear Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists; Susan B. Anthony and other advocates for woman suffrage; speakers for the NAACP and the American labor movement; and eight presidents including Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Bill Clinton; and another illustrious (former) congressman from Illinois: Senator Obama the presidential candidate spoke at Cooper Union on “Renewing the American Economy” in March 2008, a half year before the crash.

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OMG! Wake-Up Calls and Queasy Stomachs

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Two posts that should be read in full—“A Wake-Up Call” by Robert Kuttner on what the Massachusetts special election for senator tells us about the Rahm Emanuel White House’s wrong priorities—and another by a reader at Talking Points Memo who was calling voters in Massachusetts to vote for Martha Coakley and found too many presumed Democrats who are planning to vote for the Republican—to fill the seat once occupied by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

From “A Wake-Up Call” by Robert Kuttner:

How could the health care issue have turned from a reform that was going to make Barack Obama ten feet tall into a poison pill for Democratic senators? Whether or not Martha Coakley squeaks through in Massachusetts on Tuesday, the health bill has already done incalculable political damage and will likely do more. . . . The measure is so unpopular that Republican State Senator Scott Brown has built his entire surge against Coakley around his promise to be the 41st senator to block the bill—this in Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts. He must be pretty confident that the bill has become politically radioactive, and he’s right. . . .

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“Winter of Our Discontent”

Monday, December 21st, 2009

A_Christmas_Carol_08In the already-dark of the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter, rather than denying the obvious it feels appropriate to acknowledge a certain lowness of spirits, a mood that the holidays will warm temporarily but not dispel altogether. “Winter of our discontent” (besides opening Shakespeare’s Richard III) was the title of a fund-raising e-mail The Nation sent out last week, and the phrase pretty well describes the mood. This time last year, even though it felt like the U.S. and global economy was spinning down into an abyss, there was much hope in the air because of the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. (It felt almost too good to be true.) Now, the mood is not what one would call elation, or hopeful. “Yes we can” feels like a long time ago.

The Senate Democrats are moving along with their health reform bill, but it is hard to know what to think about it. A few conservative, corporate Democrats and a certain self-styled independent have been posing a greater danger to the ultimate passage than the whole united bloc of intransigent Republicans. So far, since Saturday, the Democrats have held together with the filibuster-proof 60 votes, and many of the outspoken progressive, liberal voices who were critical this time last week are holding their fire, realizing that if this fails, much more we hold dear could crash and burn besides. (Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo lays out the steps toward passage.)

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Obama, Lieberman, Emanuel—
All Skewered as Not “Tough Enough to Govern”

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Joe Conason in a hard-hitting Truthout op-ed rips Joe Lieberman for demanding, and President Obama and his chief of staff and “self-styled tough guy from Chicago” Rahm Emanuel for bowing to the gutting of the elements of real reform in the Senate health care legislation:

By bowing to Sen. Joseph Lieberman and his obstructive pals in both parties on health care reform, President Obama has confirmed what Republicans always say about Democrats: They simply aren’t strong enough to govern. Or at least the Democrats elected last year—and their colleagues in the Senate leadership—don’t seem to be.

Their moment of truth came when Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and self-styled tough guy from Chicago, urged the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to strip out the most progressive aspects of the proposed health care reform bill in order to appease Lieberman. Unless the Connecticut senator got his way, he threatened to join a Republican filibuster—conniving with a political minority to kill reforms that a majority of Americans has wanted and needed for decades.

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Pajama Party

Monday, October 12th, 2009

ds5087Those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.” —Anonymous Obama adviser to NBC White House correspondent John Harwood

Wait—we have to get dressed? Drag! Our best pieces are done in our PJ’s! We just sit here in our flannels, drinking coffee and scratching our unshaven cheeks and making wisecracks about the hard-working grown-ups who have real jobs. (Maybe we’re still in our pajamas because—why bother dressing?—we can’t find a job?)

Hey, you know what’s difficult? Understanding how the Obama administration has let Wall Street get away with murder. You know what else is difficult? Going on a third, fourth, and fifth tour of duty to Afghanistan when your marriage is falling apart and the bank is foreclosing on your house. You know what else is difficult? Understanding how an anonymous source in the White House thinks it’s smart to whisper to John Harwood that the progressives who supported Obama when most of the “dressed” people backed Hillary need to get serious. That’s a real Sister Souljah moment—especially coming from an anonymous source. That’ll put us in our place.

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