Rahm Emanuel Cast As Political Villain By His Own Party In DNC Clip
By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 28, 2016 4:50PM
Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images
The Chicago mayor, who might as well have the word “embattled” legally appended to his name, took a shot on Wednesday from his own party on a national stage and also, indirectly, from the president he was formerly tasked to advise. An introductory video that preceded President Barack Obama’s DNC appearance portrayed the commander-in-chief as a brave, principled advocate for health care and guess who plays the part of craven, political road block?
“At the end of the day [Obama] was always willing to lose in order to do the right thing. Always,” says the narrator.
Then comes the knife.
“A lot of people argued the politics were too costly,” says onetime Obama Chief Strategist David Axelrod in the clip.
“Rahm Emanuel came to him and said, ‘You’re going to have to pull the bill, because if you push this legislation, you will lose in 2012,’ intones the narrator, as the video weightily lingers on images of meetings between Obama and Emanuel. After that, spoiler alert: good triumphed over cowardly political cynicism, your preexisting condition is no matter and Rahm became a national punching bag.
Here's the full 10-minute video. Jump to approximately 2:25 for the pertinent section.
Of course, it’s only a brief snippet in a deliberate puff video, but the fact that he is called out by name and face by his own party underscores just how toxic—even on a national level—our mayor has become. Remember, even as multiple mayors (including the mayor of Flint, Michigan) were invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention, Rahm was kept away from the big kids’ table, appearing formally in Philadelphia only in front of the Illinois delegation. (To add insult, his occasional political rival, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, was seated next to former president Bill Clinton at the convention on Monday.)
The response on social media confirmed that Emanuel had indeed been “thrown under the bus.” The New Yorker even took the opportunity to re-share on Facebook on Thursday morning a December, 2015 article titled “The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel."
On Thursday morning, Emanuel of course did his best to downplay. “It’s been in books. It’s been in history, and I’ve been honest about it,” Emanuel said after his breakfast with the delegation, according to the Tribune. “When the Supreme Court made its ruling (upholding the Affordable Care Act), I said then, ‘Thank God he didn’t listen to my advice,’ because I said then, ‘This is going to be a very tough thing.’”
Of course, the fallout mostly stems from Emanuel’s handling of the Laquan McDonald dashcam video—and the subsequent, ongoing rift felt between Chicago police, the communities they patrol and the local political establishment. Video that showed the shooting of the teenager was not released until after Emanuel secured re-election, more than a year after the fatal run-in. The release of the footage, which casts much doubt on officers’ testimony, touched off waves of protest in the city.
So even as the attacks come from within the house, it's important to remember that Emanuel did make this bed. It's just still pretty surprising how messy it remains.