Saturday, May 12, 2007

Golden Boy is a Killer

I know I'm in trouble when I find myself in agreement with the Republican voice on an NPR story. On Friday's ATC, NPR revisits Rahm Emmanuel, who was their "golden boy" following the November 2006 elections. Last night's NPR's piece continues the debunked myth that Emmanuel won the House for Democrats, but mainly the report by Michele Norris is all about Emmanuel's personality and his tactics for fundraising. From his biographer we hear that, "half of his right middle finger has been cut off, and that creates this tough guy image. He did a stint working for the Israeli army in a civilian capacity during the first Gulf War...things like that make him seem like a killer..." The main thing we learn in this report is that Rahm believes in "winning."

Norris does interview Rob Simmons, a former Republican congressman from Connecticut, who lost his seat in a tight midterm race. He comments, "One of the problems that I think the Democrats have, that Rahm Emmanuel has not helped them with, is their fundemental core values and beliefs. It’s all very fine to come up with new strategies, new tactics, fundraising or blogging or this kind of stuff – but if you don’t have a strategic vision about what your party is all about, what you want America to be in fifteen or twenty years, then you still have substantial weaknesses."

Yes, wouldn't it be great if NPR poked around in the moral universe of Rahm and other political operatives - instead of treating politics like a horse race where all that matters is who's ahead, who's raising more money, and who wins? I would have loved to hear Rahm explain how serving with the Israeli Army squares with oft trumpeted line of the US as broker between Israel and Palestinians. Norris might have asked about Rahm's earlier defense of Bush and the Iraq War. It would have been interesting to ask him about the clearly mixed results of his campaigning in November elections (see the PDA Nov. 21 2006 article here.) and to explore the nature of his more progressive successor to the DCCC. That would be asking a lot of NPR; it would be asking for substance over surface...

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