Today in “things I guess should be stressed once more”: Rahm Emanuel, one of the worst people in America, should not be anywhere near the government!
I have to say this because The Intercept’s Ryan Grim reported on Tuesday that Emanuel—former mayor of Chicago, former White House chief of staff, former congressman, frequent Wall Street plutocrat, current ABC News pundit, and eternal blight on humanity—is “lobbying strenuously for the job of transportation secretary in a Biden administration.”
Not to get all Margaret Thatcher, another eternal blight on humanity, but no, no, no!
Rahm Emanuel, to put it mildly, sucks. He is bad. He is terrible. He is rotten to the core. He deserves a lifetime of reprobation and misery, not a cushy stint in the federal government.
Where even to begin? For starters, this is the man who, as mayor of Chicago, tried strenuously to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald. That—along with Emanuel’s generally sordid record on policing issues—is the most infamous stain on Emanuel’s legacy and it should be disqualifying even on its own. But it’s only part of an incredibly long string of failures during Emanuel’s mayoralty—many of which involved kowtowing to the rich at the expense of the rest of the city. One of those failures, ironically, concerns transportation, as historian and Chicago resident Rick Perlstein recounted in the New Yorker in 2015:
The city also rolled out a new “smart card” system for customers to pay transit fares, a product of the San Diego-based defense contractor Cubic. The system, known as Ventra, worked about as well as Lucille Ball on a factory production line: some people would get on the bus for free, while others would be charged several times. The cards were supposed to double as debit cards for Chicago’s “unbanked” poor. But buried deep within the thousand-page contract with Cubic were nice little Easter eggs, like the seven-dollar fee for customers who didn’t use the card for eighteen months, and another five dollars tacked on for each dormant month after that.
The manager of Cubic’s Chicago division while the project was under negotiation had previously been the Chicago Transit Authority’s vice-president for technology; then, when it came time for implementation, he spun back through the revolving door to his former city job. Well, that’s Chicago. Then Emanuel promoted the C.T.A. chief responsible for the system as his mayoral chief of staff. Then he appointed him as the Chicago public schools’ C.E.O., following the resignation of his previous pick, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, ahead of an indictment for a kickback scheme, to which she later pleaded guilty.
Wow, the exact kind of ethical genius we need in charge of the country’s transportation system!
There is so much more where Emanuel is concerned, though. There’s his decades-long history of pushing the Democratic Party further and further to the right, especially on issues like crime and trade. This effort culminated in his recruitment of a string of conservatives to run for House seats in 2006 and 2008. The Democrats won huge majorities, only to see those conservatives cripple much of their governing agenda before being washed out in 2010 anyway. Emanuel is still pushing the same snake oil today; he was one of the most prominent proponents of the “Biden Republicans” strategy.
There’s Emanuel’s sorry tenure as Barack Obama’s chief of staff, where he spent seemingly every day trying to water down initiatives like the economic stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, all while being a complete dick to anyone who dared to get to Obama’s left. (Emanuel thrives on being a complete dick, the classic psychopath-who-gets-it-done shit that only men seem to be able to get away with.)
There’s his ABC News double act with Chris Christie—one that makes sense, since they’re both soulless, venal, corrupt types, but is nauseating nonetheless, especially when he uses it to attack the left. (Christie and Emanuel are also exploiting the partnership to, you guessed it, further enrich themselves.)
Anyway, you get the picture! Choosing Emanuel for any government job would send a message that Joe Biden is beyond contemptuous of anyone to his left, is perfectly comfortable with Wall Street cronyism, decades of failed policies, and wildly unethical behavior, is not serious about challenging the police, and is comfortable with well-known tyrants and maniacs in his administration. In other words, a bad idea. Which probably means—given some of the choices he’s already made—that Joe Biden will do it, doesn’t it?