When I hear talk of a "honeymoon"
for the President-elect – to last as long as six
months, by some accounts – I think: "Fine. You lay off, and I'll do
the same." But oh no, it doesn't work that way. Obama has already started
in on us, and he hasn't even taken the oath of office yet. I'm talking about
his appointments, starting with Rahm
Emanuel as his chief of staff.
Hey, I thought we were gong to be treated to a bipartisan approach by the Obama
administration, that he was going to "reach across the aisle" – what
happened to that? Señor Emanuel is known as a street-fightin'
Democrat, and that's understating it. A Rolling Stone profile
of Emanuel had this to say:
"There's the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel
was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner
with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling
off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!' and plunging
the knife into the table after every name. 'When he was done, the table looked
like a lunar landscape,' one campaign veteran recalls. 'It was like something
out of The Godfather.'"
He's mean, he's ultra-partisan, and he's a fully-paid up member in good standing
of the War Party: during the Democratic primaries in 2006, when Emanuel headed
up the Dems' congressional operation, he backed
pro-war candidates over antiwar Democrats every time. As Bill Safire put
it on "Meet the Press" just before Tim Russert died:
"What about Rahm Emanuel [for Vice President], the most powerful voice
in the House of Representatives that agrees with Hillary Clinton on foreign
affairs? He's a hawk. And although he's a rootin' tootin' liberal on domestic
affairs, he is a hawk on foreign affairs. I was at the – a roast for him for
Epilepsy Association, and Hillary Clinton was there, and I said, quite frankly,
here you have the hawkish side of the Democratic Party. If they get together,
the bumper sticker will read 'Invade and bomb with Hillary and Rahm.'"
When the House Democratic majority passed a military appropriations bill slated
for Iraq, a clause that would have prohibited an attack on Iran without a vote
in Congress was deleted
at the instigation
of Emanuel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When Rep. John Murtha presaged the
popular rebellion against the Iraq war by coming out against it in no uncertain
terms, Emanuel urged
Pelosi to refrain from endorsing his call for withdrawal, arguing that it would
hurt the Democrats politically.
With the smiling face of Don Obama serving as a front for the knife-wielding
Emanuel and his "legendary intensity" – as Rolling Stone writer
Joshua Green puts it – one has to wonder: what (or who) else does the Prez-elect
have in store for us?
The answer is: Jane Harman – as head
of the CIA! (If she doesn't get it, not
to worry: she's also up for head of Homeland
Security – and if she doesn't get that, she's on the short list for National
Will somebody go see if Glenn
Greenwald is okay? I fear he may have done something drastic, especially
after all that gushing he's done over the Dear Leader.
Harman has always taken the side of the Bushies when it comes to eavesdropping:
during Gen Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings for CIA director, she was
making government eavesdropping an issue. When the New York Times revealed
the illegal eavesdropping program authorized by Bush, she was outraged
– at the Times, which she strongly hinted ought to be prosecuted. She
was pro-war, and did her
part in spreading the "bad
intel" she now claims
to have been fooled by – declaring not only that Saddam Hussein had weapons
of mass destruction, but also purveying
the rather far-out
notion that al-Qaeda had taken up residence there prior to the US invasion.
Harman's ambition is matched only by her recklessness: she came up against
FBI, in 2006, when she was investigated for going a little too far in her
aggressive campaign to retain her seat as head of the House Intelligence Committee.
Apparently she had AIPAC officials and major Democratic donors personally lobby
Pelosi, in return for the promise that she, Harman, would intercede
on behalf of Steve
Rosen and Keith Weissman, two top AIPAC officials currently being prosecuted
for stealing US top secret intelligence and passing it on to Israeli officials.
Law enforcement officials aver hard evidence for this quid pro quo was never
I'm hoping, however, that some Republican back-bencher has the balls to bring
it up at her confirmation hearing. Perhaps they could call Pelosi as a witness.
Combined with the foreign policy views of Dennis
Ross, Obama's senior advisor for Middle East affairs – who is reportedly
up for the National Security Advisor slot – what seems to be shaping up is a
perfect trifecta of trouble on the horizon. The old adage that presidents rarely
govern in synch with the way they campaign applies here, and in spades. Change?
Not in the foreign policy realm, buster. Indeed, if any change is involved,
it may well be for the worse.
By the time Obama is through making his appointments, all those Hollywood liberals
over at the HuffPuffPost will be
huffing and puffing with outrage: and, in true Hollywood style, they'll be screaming:
"Forget the honeymoon – I want a divorce!"
But it will be too late for that. The Big O marches on, with all sorts of plans
for our future, including perhaps "national
service," and – for
sure – a significant ratcheting-up
war in Afghanistan. In the meantime, Iran continues to loom large as an
Just as Obama was claiming his victory, the Iranians were warning
us to stay away from their airspace – there have apparently been a number of
close calls recently. Also, the Russians announced
they were putting missiles near their border with Poland, to counter the sophisticated
systems put in place by the US and its Eastern European ally. Adding insult
to injury, the official
explanation for the US deployment is that the anti-missile system is there
to guard against an Iranian attack. Whether the Obama-ites buy into this
sort of malarkey or not isn't
clear. What is all
too obvious, however, is that President Obama will continue the West's war
of words – and "soft power" – against the Russians, a prospect that
bodes ill for the cause of peace.
So, you thought you were turning over a whole new leaf for the country when
you marked your ballot for the Dear Leader – didn't you? Well, surprise