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Rahm and Bruce

From the Wall Street Journal Political Diary-

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has led a charmed political life. Prior to his current gig, Mr. Emanuel was a senior political aide to President Clinton, a Congressman from Chicago and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, when Democrats took 30 seats from Republicans and regained control of the House.

Mr. Emanuel has also done better than most at leveraging his public service for personal gain. After quitting the White House in 1998, Mr. Emanuel went to work for famed Wall Street dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein, a big Clinton backer and major Democratic Party donor. And despite no prior experience in banking, Mr. Emanuel became a very wealthy man in a very short period of time.

“Mr. Emanuel earned $16.2 million in a two-year stint working in Chicago for investment-banking firm Wasserstein Perella & Co.,” reported the Wall Street Journal last year. He then ran for Congress and took seats on committees that oversee Wall Street and quickly became a top recipient of campaign donations from the financial industry. In his last House race in 2008, the Journal reported, “Mr. Emanuel collected more money than any other House member from hedge funds, private equity firms and the broader securities and investment industry, even though he faced no serious opposition.”

Mr. Wasserstein, who died unexpectedly last week, went out with a reputation as more than just a big-dollar banker — he was a serious liberal who cared about politics and policy. He also never stopped being a patron to Mr. Emanuel, whom he praised earlier this year as having a “keen understanding of the interplay of regulatory aspects and corporate activity in financial advisory work.”

If by “keen understanding” he also meant Mr. Emanuel had figured out how to make the “interplay” work for him personally, who could argue with that?

HKO comment- Crony Capitalism at its worse!

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The Carter Axiom

Jimmy Carter rode to the White House on a wave of opportunity created by the disenchantment with the Viet Nam war, the disgrace of the Nixon White House, the rising fuel prices from the OPEC led oil embargo, the high inflation eminating from poor policies of Johnson and Nixon, and the weak response of Gerald Ford. (remeber the WIP- “Whip Inflation Now” buttons- you do not reverse the effects of reckless monetary policy with a PR campaign).

Then, as now, the Republican brand was as tarnished as it ever was. Carter was honest, and promised he would never lie to us. After Watergate that was what people wanted to hear.

Today Obama promises change. The Republican brand is tarnished again. But remember the Carter Axiom- just because things are really screwed up does not mean that some trustworthy fool can not make them a lot worse. Policies matter.

And Obama’s policies to raise taxes, especially on dividends, capital gains, and social security; to raise taxes on oil producers; to increase government control of health care; and to increase federal spending on several initiatives are the wrong policies.

For many voters a vote for Obama is a vote against the Republican brand. I hope they get beyond his exciting charisma, actually consider his policies, and remember the Carter Axiom.

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A Legend in His Own Mind

When Bill Clinton was elected he was soon called by Jimmy Carter, reaching out as the last elected Democratic President, offering his services to take on assignments for his successor.

Clinton wanted to distance himself from Carter as much as possible, seeing him as an incompetent predecessor, who would tarnish his objective of becoming a Democratic success.

Clinton did not return his call and passed him on to secretary of state Warren Christopher, who passed him on further to his deputy, Peter Tarnoff. Carter was severely snubbed.

summarized from ‘War in a Time of Peace’ by David Halberstam

HKO Comments-

Carter is a legend in his own mind but is recognized as an incompetent reckless fool by members of his own party and well as his opposition. The only greater fools are the Arab leaders meeting with him who believe he has any power or influence.