Rahm Emanuel: Actually, it’s entirely appropriate to let this crisis go to waste

posted at 5:11 pm on January 11, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via the Standard, I’m happy to assume that this is heartfelt, although of course no other answer is possible politically. We’ll see tomorrow how well his former boss does in taking his advice. If you’re expecting the sort of trainwreck that happened at the Wellstone memorial, you’re kidding yourself. Obama and his team are way too smart to descend to that level of grotesque political hackery, especially given how they cherish his “above the fray” image. Here’s what we know right now:

Obama’s staff said he plans, at some point, to deliver a speech that soothes the nation while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric. It’s not clear if Wednesday’s appearance will provide that opportunity, but he’s certain to strike that theme in the State of the Union address, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 25.

If I were him, I’d shy away from heavy-handed lessons and simply emphasize Giffords’s humanity. She’s young, likeable, soft-spoken, and politically centrist; a lot of people, I’d bet, have come to identify with her as they’ve learned more about her this past weekend, so all he has to do is drive home the idea that congressmen — as much as Americans traditionally enjoy deriding them — are people too. Any lessons about civility, rhetoric, “tone,” and so forth will be drawn by the listener implicitly and organically from that. And if he throws in an aside about the perils of jumping to conclusions (like he did after the Fort Hood shootings), so much the better.

Speaking of not letting a crisis go to waste, I linked this WaPo piece in Headlines quoting No Labels co-founder Mark McKinnon as saying of the shootings, “It’s a real tragedy, but it’s also a real opportunity.” More:

“They recognize that we need to have a civil dialogue,” McKinnon said. “They recognize we need a moment of calm.”…

Moments of bipartisanship have weighed on the nation’s political leaders before. Most were short lived.

“We are hopeful but not starry-eyed about it,” said Matt Bennett, Third Way’s vice president of public affairs. “After 9/11 there was a lot of hope that would be the end to this nastiness in politics but that lasted about three weeks.”

People on Twitter are calling McKinnon a ghoul for using the shootings to promote his agenda, but I’m not sure that’s fair. He’s not saying that he wants people to join No Labels or even to move to the center; I took him to mean, per the point above, that maybe reminding partisans of the basic fact of a politician’s humanity will make them more reluctant to toss rhetorical grenades going forward. Like I said last night, that’s a worthy end, but grafting the “rhetorical excess” narrative onto this particular incident inescapably leads to the sort of scapegoating and disinformation we’ve been writing about for the past two days. It’d be great if there was some way to separate the means from the end, but I’m not sure there is.

Update: Matt Welch’s take on McKinnon is, er, less charitable.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

hostage takers

rob verdi on January 11, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Ever the optimist, Allahpundit hopes for the best.

Skandia Recluse on January 11, 2011 at 5:15 PM

He wouldn’t have said squat if he was still in White House. And after the scathing editorial in the Chicago SunTimes on Sunday, blaming the right, the Tea Party etc, someone had walk back the insanity.

This is all about votes, nothing more.

Knucklehead on January 11, 2011 at 5:16 PM

People on Twitter are calling McKinnon a ghoul for using the shootings to promote his agenda, but I’m not sure that’s fair.

That’s why you are a prime demographic for the No Labels Party.

Like hand & Glove.

portlandon on January 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM

I’ve read she was a blue dog and most conservatives, generally speaking, like the blue dog Dems because they are often fiscally responsible and side with us on these issues. This gal is a genuine loss.

jeanie on January 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Brilliant headline, AP.

aquaviva on January 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

I can’t think of a single time I have heard someone say something about a civil dialogue where the underlying meaning wasn’t stop laying out the incontrovertible evidence of my being wrong.

Kataklysmic on January 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

They coop with the media , as always.

the_nile on January 11, 2011 at 5:19 PM

If I were him, I’d shy away from heavy-handed lessons and simply emphasize Giffords’s humanity.

That would be nice, but I doubt it will happen, this is just too serious a crisis to ignore.

Chip on January 11, 2011 at 5:19 PM

It wouldn’t surprise me to know that Allah Pundit is part of No Lbales himself.

promachus on January 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Obama’s staff said he plans, at some point, to deliver a speech that soothes the nation while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric.

After having Obama and the left shove their liberty snuffing agenda down our throats the last thing I need to near from him is “tone it down”.

You get the left to tone it down buddy. You and your progressive buddies are the only violent ones in the room.

darwin on January 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM

I can’t think of a single time I have heard someone say something about a civil dialogue where the underlying meaning wasn’t stop laying out the incontrovertible evidence of my being wrong.

Kataklysmic on January 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Yes, and stop defending yourselves..

Chip on January 11, 2011 at 5:22 PM

In a Daily Mail thread earlier today the author said that since Obama took office this country is more polarized politically than it may have ever been. I think this is true. I find myself wondering sometimes what Rahm REALLY thinks about his ex-boss. Guess we’ll have to wait until he writes his book and Obama is out of office.

jeanie on January 11, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Obama’s staff said he plans, at some point, to deliver a speech that soothes the nation while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric.

Disaster. If he does it at the SOTU address, I hope some Repubs do the Brit “Prime Minister Question and Answer Period” hems, haws, grunts, or harumphs, MUCH greater than Alito simply looking down and mouthing “Not true”. Because it’s highly offensive to link the political discourse with this mass shooting. And the Congress’s reaction should reflect that.

Paul-Cincy on January 11, 2011 at 5:25 PM

If you’re expecting the sort of trainwreck that happened at the Wellstone memorial, you’re kidding yourself. Obama and his team are way too smart to descend to that level of grotesque political hackery, especially given how they cherish his “above the fray” image.

Surely you can’t be serious!

Mord on January 11, 2011 at 5:27 PM

So is this how the “Chigago Native” Rahm is going to triangulate to get the Chicago conservative (read RINO) vote?

*Whew* Sorry, my nuance-o-meter was redlining after that statement, I hope I didn’t hurt anybody. If I did, it was all Palin’s fault.

rihar on January 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I can’t think of a single time I have heard someone say something about a civil dialogue where the underlying meaning wasn’t stop laying out the incontrovertible evidence of my being wrong.

Kataklysmic on January 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

It has nothing to do with incivility or heated rhetoric. It’s all about how the left can’t stand for anyone to disagree with it. That’s all this is. And THAT attitude is a killer of civility and getting along. Because if you can’t deal with someone disagreeing with you, then there is no dialog.

I disagree with the left. Call me a hater. I don’t care.

Paul-Cincy on January 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM

So PBHO plans to feed the leftist meme that a schizo who had some seriously insane theories was prompted to murderous action by political rhetoric?

Anyone want to bet real money that PBHO won’t say “The rhetoric needs to be toned down, especially by me.”?

Bishop on January 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Now that most of the damage has been done are we to believe the dems are going to ratchet down the rhetoric? History says not, common sense says not, so I say prove it.

fourdeucer on January 11, 2011 at 5:29 PM

while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric.

I have an idea! Instead of urging a ratcheting down of political rhetoric- how about if he just leads by example?
Maybe forgo calling his critics’ arguments “bogus” this time around in his address to Congress. Or not misrepresenting the opinion of the Supreme Court as they sit in front of him.

Perhaps he could stop talking about opponents as “enemies” or “hostage takers”. Perhaps he could stop saying his opponents have “talked enough” or they can only ride in the back.

Hey, Obama. You are the one you’ve been waiting for. If you are the leader you think you are, people will follow you.

MayBee on January 11, 2011 at 5:31 PM

OK, when Rahm is the voice of reason on the Left, you know they’ve gone way too far.

rbj on January 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

“What is government if words have no meaning?” … Tyranny

J_Crater on January 11, 2011 at 5:35 PM

If you’re expecting the sort of trainwreck that happened at the Wellstone memorial, you’re kidding yourself. Obama and his team are way too smart to descend to that level of grotesque political hackery

Allah, I’m sure you’re right that Obama won’t descent to that level in whatever speech he makes, but HELLO! The entire left immediately descended to that level of hackery and has been wallowing in it since about 3 minutes after the shooting happened.

The only place Obama has to go is up.

But let’s not fool ourselves by thinking that doesn’t mean he wont try to use it for personal and partisan gain. I think we should know him better than that by now.

American Elephant on January 11, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Incendiary rhetoric has been used in our political discussions since the formal founding of this nation.

This tragedy will not stop it. Nothing will stop it short of humanity being wiped off the face of the earth.

It is what is it.

So, everyone should stop pretending.

ButterflyDragon on January 11, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Obama and his team are way too smart

Wait. This is January 2011, right?

Jim Treacher on January 11, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Soothes the nation? When will these people finally understand that Obama only appeals to -at best- 43% of the nation and they’re almost entirely mindless democrats, David Brooks, and David Frum (I apologize for the repetition.) He has no magical powers. He is certainly not above-the-fray. He hasn’t united anyone not baked for better than two years, and he probably won’t be able to take off his tie and roll up his sleeves for this one.

Instead, I see a speech that centers mostly on…Obama.

BKeyser on January 11, 2011 at 5:48 PM

McKinnon = Tool

Sorry I couldn’t be more constructive, but that’s all I’ve got.

pugwriter on January 11, 2011 at 5:49 PM

What’s wrong Creepy Ballerina Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraahhhmmmm?

Sounds like a flip-flop to me, or in your case … pirouette.

cableguy615 on January 11, 2011 at 5:50 PM

“They recognize that we need to have a civil dialogue,” McKinnon said.

Bringing this up in the context of the shootings implies some causal relationship. It’s on purpose. Anybody who is doing that is a dishonest, soulless ghoul.

forest on January 11, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Hey, do you guys remember when Rahm Emanuel called for the killing of politicos?

Revenge was heavy in the air as the group discussed the enemies – Democrats, Republicans, members of the press – who wronged them during the 1992 campaign… Suddenly Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remeber it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table.

”Dead!” he screamed.

The group immediately joined in the cathartic release: ”Nat Landow! Dead! Cliff Jackson! Dead! Bill Schaefer! Dead!”

Now in the past I would’ve taken this as good ol’ fashioned politicking with excitement. But now, can we say that Rahm sowed the seeds of violence we are reaping today?

Weight of Glory on January 11, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I, for one, prefer strong partisan rhetoric over the warmed over gruel that is the supposed standard of “unbiased” journalism. Deal in facts, be passionate about your position, and have at it!

Besides, we conservatives always win an argument of facts; most of the ammo is invariably on our side.

pugwriter on January 11, 2011 at 5:55 PM

We’ll see tomorrow how well his former boss does in taking his advice.

dear leader will choose….poorly

cmsinaz on January 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM

he looks like crap in that picture.

PappyD61 on January 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Well, seems Obama thinks Dupnik is doing a great job:

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/obama-phones-sheriff-dupnik-thanks-him/

AUINSC on January 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Call me a cynic, but when Rahm steps to the microphone to say folks shouldn’t take advantage of this crisis, all I see/hear is him taking advantage of this crisis to try and get some political capital and airtime.

Midas on January 11, 2011 at 6:07 PM

No, look…civility is a great thing. But the problem with grafting any message about civility onto this horrible shooting is its complete inappropriateness.

It’s like saying the Tucson shooting is a time for us to reflect on the importance of eating five portions of fruits or vegetables every day.

It’s a total say what?

S. Weasel on January 11, 2011 at 6:12 PM

If I were him, I’d shy away from heavy-handed lessons and simply emphasize Giffords’s humanity.

and stay away from the Republican appointed FEDERAL JUDGE who was murdered – it might break MSNBC’s narrative.

Branch Rickey on January 11, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Well, seems Obama thinks Dupnik is doing a great job:

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/obama-phones-sheriff-dupnik-thanks-him/

AUINSC on January 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Thanking him for not jumping any conclusions , I presume….

the_nile on January 11, 2011 at 6:13 PM

It’s like saying the Tucson shooting is a time for us to reflect on the importance of eating five portions of fruits or vegetables every day.

S. Weasel on January 11, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Weird – that’s what FLOTUS was pushing for him to emphasize.

/sarc

Branch Rickey on January 11, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Obama’s staff said he plans, at some point, to deliver a speech that soothes the nation while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric.

Henceforth, I will only urge my supporters to bring knives to knife fights. –Obama quote from a parallel universe.

I blame Sarah Palin’s violent rhetoric for the violent snow storm about to pound NYC. — Sheriff Dupnick from same parallel universe

bitsy on January 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM

AUINSC on January 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Holy crap!

Knucklehead on January 11, 2011 at 6:18 PM

“After 9/11 there was a lot of hope that would be the end to this nastiness in politics but that lasted about three weeks.”

3 weeks? Try 3 days.

Many on the Left went apoplectic after Chimpy Bush grabbed that bullhorn at Ground Zero. They were still angry about it 9 years later, when they were outaged that he would dare to include that thing on display in his Presidential Archives at his Library.

The caring folks at HuffPo said stuff like this:

A real library suggests that somebody involved with it can actually read and comprehend things. So how does this twit get to call his junk collection a library?

“At about 50 items, the exhibit is indeed just a “sliver” of the archives. Currently housed in a warehouse north of Dallas in Lewisville­, the archives include more than 42,000 artifacts and 70 million pages of paper records. ”

41,950 empty bottles of beer in the archives.

And from the High School kids at DU:

Indeed. Let’s revisit his cowardliness after 9/11, his reading of “My Pet Goat”, his running away for days and hiding and his bullsh*t bullhorn moment. Yes, indeed, let’s all look at those events again in the new light and without our grief and shock filled 9/11 lenses, and we will see, the real Chimpy, the incompetent, detached, feckless idiot was around, even then.

Just last month, Salon cretins sniffed:

Bloodsuckers. They use this for a reason to spend a trillion dollars for two wars yet can’t pass legislation to help the people who helped the people

Bush’s bullhorn moment at Ground Zero was a glorified photo op

The Kos Kids noted:

Bush’s bullhorn moment was cheesy and hypocritical for people who paid attention…

9/11 was nothing more than a way for them to pitch their war plan. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bush’s “bullhorn” photo op was followed immediately by saving Wall Street by prematurely opening a contaminated site, thus injuring thousands.

And just last June, one smirking Leftist even put together this vile picture:

http://img295.imageshack.us/i/bushbullhorn.jpg/

Yes, friends, Liberalism is a genetic mental disorder.

Del Dolemonte on January 11, 2011 at 6:23 PM

OK, when Rahm is the voice of reason on the Left, you know they’ve gone way too far.

rbj on January 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

I wish. They don’t think they’ve gone far enough because we are not a socialist country yet.

There is a big orchestrated push to silence opposition. They know that truth is their real enemy.

petunia on January 11, 2011 at 6:27 PM

The obamagogue will do what it does best–spew telepromptered invective disguised as centrist wisdom.

Western_Civ on January 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM

If Barry was smart – he’d STFU and make NO speech. Unfortunately for us, Barry knows all and has to use this occasion to once again remind us how smart he is.

GarandFan on January 11, 2011 at 6:33 PM

I can’t think of a single time I have heard someone say something about a civil dialogue where the underlying meaning wasn’t stop laying out the incontrovertible evidence of my being wrong.

Kataklysmic on January 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Brilliantly well said, Kat.

Mason on January 11, 2011 at 6:36 PM

It’ll be interesting to see if the presence of Daley vs Rahmbo changes the way the Bamster handles crises like these. I suspect that Bammie’s textbook narcissism and dimwittedness are what has caused him to flop so many times over the past two years. Can Daley overcome those factors?

slickwillie2001 on January 11, 2011 at 6:38 PM

I’m shocked at myself for watching the Rahm video, and agreeing with him 100%. I don’t know if/when that will ever happen again.

He is doing the EXACT RIGHT THING by continuing with the “Congress on your Corner” thing. It sounds like a great idea, much like the townhall meetings.

We CANNOT allow FEAR to drive our behavior. No Quarter on restriction of free speech due to the sham excuse of “toning down the rhetoric”.

connertown on January 11, 2011 at 7:04 PM

So which day is McKinnon headlining at RINO-CON?

Or will he be the keynote speaker, with Frum headlining on another day :)

Seriously, that guy’s a weasel, and so is Frum. About the best I can say is that at least they’ve stopped masquerading as Republicans.

RocketmanBob on January 11, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Weight of Glory on January 11, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Nice point, but here again, it looks like Rahm is being consistent. He’s not the one calling for restrictions on “tone”. I wish more of the Dems and leftists were that consistent.

connertown on January 11, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Well, seems Obama thinks Dupnik is doing a great job:

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/obama-phones-sheriff-dupnik-thanks-him/

AUINSC on January 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Well in my mind, this proves it. Dumbnik is doing all of this, with the blessing of the WH. Obama will speak words in his speech, but it’s all in to dupe the American citizens. How many will see past the lie?

capejasmine on January 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM

I have nothing to say about Rahm (per my mother), but doesn’t the “O” in the ‘Chicago’ graphic at the top of the video window look an awful like The Symbol Which Must Not Be Named?

mikefln on January 11, 2011 at 7:17 PM

TOTUS bringing a speech to the gun-fight ??

/.

CaveatEmpty on January 11, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Great photo of Tiny Dancer, looking grey and bleak.

YehuditTX on January 11, 2011 at 7:50 PM

If you’re expecting the sort of trainwreck that happened at the Wellstone memorial, you’re kidding yourself. Obama and his team are way too smart to descend to that level of grotesque political hackery, especially given how they cherish his “above the fray” image.

Maybe. But as a practical matter, I never bet on Obama to be smart. Has anyone ever deserved his reputation for brilliance less than Obama?

tom on January 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Wasn’t Mark McKinnon the McCain advisor who refused to campaign against Obama? And McCain didn’t fire him?

YehuditTX on January 11, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Obama’s staff said he plans, at some point, to deliver a speech that soothes the nation while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric.

Show of hands: who else doesn’t find his intent to lecture us about political rhetoric “soothing”?

I can see myself “seething” after that speech. Maybe that’s what they meant.

Patterico on January 11, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Want a ‘starting point’?

Begin with the political types apologizing to Americans they supposedly serve for all the name-calling THEY have engaged in over the years.

The people delivering these lectures are singularly lacking in moral standing to open their mouths about “rhetoric.”

BD57 on January 11, 2011 at 11:13 PM

In todays Arizona Republic was an editorial decrying the prevalent use of violent and inflammatory rhetoric in the world, and how it should be tamed.
I turn to the sports page, and in the biggest font possible on the front page: “War Eagle” Football is “War”? War is about killing…
The language is permanently engraved.

redshirt on January 11, 2011 at 11:28 PM

She’s young, likeable, soft-spoken, and politically centrist…

RINO blogger

You might ask, in what world is a 15 ACU rating/voting record “centrist”? And that would be in the center-left world of RINOs, where the right wing is anything above 50%, and Gabby “General Petraeus, what have you done to lower the carbon footprint of the War on Terror?” Giffords is a “centrist”.

Jaibones on January 12, 2011 at 12:25 AM