It is becoming painfully obvious that the White House's main concern is to keep the interests that will finance President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012 happy. It is also becoming increasingly evident that Rahm Emanuel is the architect of the disgusting mess of a health care reform bill that the Senate is regurgitating.
Much has been made of the fact that Lieberman's opposition to Medicare expansion is a reversal of what the senator from Connecticut said just three months ago. Not enough has been made of the fact that Rahm Emanuel penned an op-ed for the Washington Post in November 2007 in which he himself was in favor of expanding Medicare to those 55 to 64. In fact, it is Emanuel who pressured Senate majority leader Harry Reid to cut a deal with Lieberman after the latter threw his despicable egocentric tantrum in opposition to the public option and Medicare expansion, and it is he who has sternly rebuked progressives on several occasions for not toeing the White House line on watered down reform.
Emanuel's focus is on getting the president re-elected, and his strategy for achieving the goal rests on not disturbing the powers that can help the president financially in 2012. That is what led to the White House striking "non-competitive agreements" with PhRMA and with insurance companies. That is why the White House has agreed to expand our nation's commitment in Afghanistan when the right thing to do, both morally and financially, would have been to scale down our involvement in the Middle East, even according to several military experts. That is why the President can go on 60 Minutes and say that he did not get elected to help a bunch of fat-cat bankers, and the next day he is photographed in a room full of--guess who?--fat cat bankers. That is why the White House has done everything it could to bail out the big, crooked financial institutions that all but destroyed our economy while doing little or nothing for those who were/are about to lose their homes to foreclosures. The man pulling the strings behind all of these PR maneuvers aimed at maintaining the semblance of reform while gutting it behind the scenes is Rahm Emanuel.
Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake has a timeline of how out of touch Emanuel is with the country's more progressive instincts.
Perhaps Obama is truly a reformer at heart, in which case his failure to achieve any meaningful reform can be blamed on Emanuel's tazering the President into submission as his best instincts threaten to prevail. In any case, I think that as long as Rahm Emanuel keeps his post as President Obama's Chief of Staff, the latter's credibility as a liberal paladin of the middle class will remain in shambles.