Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rahm Emanuel as Likely Obama Chief of Staff

By Ben Trott

Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel from Chicago has apparently been asked to become Obama’s Chief of Staff.
Described by John Nichols at the Nation as ‘a militant advocate for free-trade policies’, he played a key role in the US’s signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the Clinton administration. Nichols explains that during his 2002 run for Congress, a number of major trade unions supported his Democratic opponent, Nancy Kaszak. Emanuel is also said to have initially supported the war on Iraq.

New York Timesbiography on Emanuel, published today, explains that he is a close friend of Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod. His background in investment banking is said to associate him, in many minds, closely with Wall Street. Politico described him as 'a consistent voice for anti-crime measures, welfare reform and other measures that pushed against liberal orthodoxy'.

West Wing Spoiler Alert!: And for those of you who have been stunned by the similarities which have played out between the Obama presidential campaign and Matt Santos’ fictional run for President in TV’s the West Wing (Santos’ character was based on Obama, and McCain in many ways resembled Santos’ opponent Arnold Vinick), the strange art-mirrors-life-mirrors-art phenomenon continues. According to a 2005 Rolling Stone biography on Rahm Emanuel, he served as the model for the series’ character Josh Lyman, who after serving a stint in the Bartlet administration is finally appointed Santos’ Chief of Staff.

Biographies & Comment (Updated: 07/11/08)

Here is a bit of background and comment on Emanuel:

The Nation (see also, here)

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