Barack Obama has been President-Elect for all of 15 hours — but it only took about three for news to spread that Rahm Emanuel been offered the job of Obama's White House Chief of Staff — and that he was taking it. Last night on MSNBC at around 2 a.m., Howard Fineman said he'd gotten a call from Josh Marshall who said that he'd spoken to Rahm who said he'd said yes. Somewhere around that time, Emanuel's Wikipedia page was updated to reflect this development. God love the speed of information travel in this brave new world. And people are chiding the networks for being too careful in their election calls! Sheesh.
But back to Rahm. I'm just gonna say it: This may be the sexiest White House ever. (And yes, I do remember the Clinton-Stephanopoulos White House, and I'm still sayin' it. Ballet + Army + Delivering the House = Sexy) (Although rotting fish + steak knife would be scary without the aforementioned; now it's just sexy-dangerous.) But that's not the point of this piece, either, though as my pal Glynnis MacNicol wrote from the DNC: "I have yet to encounter a woman here who doesn't immediately remark on his presence, or her desire to be in it." (I, um, spend a lot of time with Glynnis.)
What was I saying? Oh yes, Rahm, whose name appropriately contains both "Rah!" and "Aaaaaaah," depending how you say it. Apparently on "Morning Joe" this a.m. such an appointment was taken to be a "drop dead" to Republicans, but come on: If Obama has a mandate, how better to shepherd it through? Rahm Emanuel means business — he keeps his goals in sight and he gets things done. That's the kind of guy needed to handle the fierce urgency of now. I'm sure he does fiercely urgent reeeaaaally well.
What was I saying? Oh right: It's also an added bonus to those 78% of Jews! Emanuel not only personally directed the famous 1993 Rose Garden signing ceremony for the Oslo Peace Accord, he also served as a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Defence Force. See? Obama really is good for the Jews!
There are those who might argue that Rahm's appointment might (a) send too pugilistic a message, (b) overload the White House with Illinois pols or (c) take him away from the House where he is sorely needed (sure he helped usher in that Dem "thumpin'" back in 2006, but what did they really do with it?). I disagree on all fronts, with (a) as stated above, (b) on the basis of quality and also the diversity of Obama's advisors already, and (c) eh, I can't see why he wouldn't be as outspoken to Congressional Dems as he once was to Tony Blair.
One final reason in favor of Rahm: It's yet one more link between The West Wing and the eerily similar story of the Obama campaign. As many of you no doubt know, the character of Josh Lyman in The West Wing, played by Bradley Whitford, was based on — you guessed it! — Emanuel. Lyman toiled as Deputy Chief of Staff under President Bartlett, but ascended to Chief of Staff under the Obama-like President Santos. (His brother, Ari Emanuel, was the basis for Entourage's Ari Gold. Hooray for Hollywood Liberals!) Anyway, for those of you who watched The West Wing during the Bush years wishing it was real, well, this is a pretty decent approximation.
Anyway: Now it's official — Rahm is the Mahn. But of course, we already knew that.
Denver: Rahm Emanuel Off the Record [Playboy Politics Blog]
NB: This post is obviously not meant to show disrespect to Emanuel or his family — actually, I sort of know his rabbi and it's not meant to show disrespect to him, either.