Rahm Emanuel has a long history at DWT, none of it good. He's one of the worst Democratic politicians I ever encountered. The fact that Obama appointed him chief of staff soured me so badly on Obama that not only did I not vote for Obama in 2012, I also didn't vote for Hillary or Biden in the next two elections. It wasn't all Rahm, of course... but he's a good symbol of what's wrong with the Democratic Party. I'm not going to recount my adventures with Rahm in this post-- although you will find some of them if you click the link above. But because Biden just gave him the ambassadorship to Japan-- a sinecure but far more than he deserves-- I'm going to share with you a script from Roots Action for a call you might want to make to your senators to urge him or her to vote against confirming Rahm, especially if your senators happen to be named Bernie (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Brian Schatz (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), or Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The rest would be a waste of time but-- because Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have a tendency to vote to confirm presidential appointments-- all that would be needed to prevent confirmation would probably be 4 votes. It might be helpful if you live in Maine or Alaska to call Collins and Murkowski and urge them to vote "no" as well. for sincere Democrats, though, this nomination is indefensible.
Before I show you the script though, let me give you some of the background behind it, courtesy of Norman Solomon. This is from an article, Will Senate Democrats really confirm the poisonous Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan?, Salon published Thursday. "The White House," he wrote, "described Emanuel as having 'a distinguished career in public service,' but several progressive Democrats in Congress quickly went on the attack. 'This is a travesty,' Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), tweeted. 'Senators of good conscience must not vote to confirm him.' Another African-American representative, Cori Bush (D-MO), said that Emanuel 'must be disqualified from ever holding an appointed position in any administration. Call your Senator and urge them to vote NO.' The response from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was pointed: 'If you believe Black lives indeed matter, then the Senate must reject his appointment immediately.' Tlaib accompanied her tweet with a link to an article that The Nation published in the fall of 2018, when Emanuel was nearing the end of his eight years as Chicago's mayor, with this sum-up: 'The outgoing mayor's legacy will be defined by austerity, privatization, displacement, gun violence, and police brutality.' All three congressmembers mentioned Emanuel's responsibility for the notorious cover-up of the Chicago police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. For 13 months, during his campaign for re-election in 2015, Emanuel's administration suppressed a ghastly dashboard-camera video showing the death of McDonald, an African American who was shot 16 times by a police officer as he walked away."
Emanuel's dreadful record as mayor of Chicago was in keeping with his entire career, spanning several Machiavellian decades that included stints as a member of Congress, a high-level aide for Presidents Clinton and Obama, and an investment bank director using his connections to make $18 million in two and a half years. Emanuel cemented his reputation as a combative and powerful player in the Clinton White House, pushing through policies that harmed the working class and people of color, including the NAFTA trade deal, the infamous 1994 crime bill and punitive "welfare reform."
That Biden has now chosen Emanuel to be the U.S. envoy to Japan-- the world's third-largest economy-- is, among other things, a distinct presidential middle finger to the constituency that gave him the highest proportion of support among all demographic groups in last year's general election: Black voters.
High-profile corporate Democrats were quick to lavish praise on the Emanuel nomination. Both Democratic senators from Illinois helped lead the testimonials. Dick Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Emanuel "has a lifetime of public service preparing him to speak for America." Sen. Tammy Duckworth chimed in, saying that the ex-mayor's "years of experience make him well suited to represent the United States of America in this important role."
...A coalition of 20 organizations, mostly national while including several Chicago-based groups, has launched a grassroots campaign to ensure that every senator will hear from their constituents urging a no vote on Emanuel's nomination. In June, 28 victims and relatives of victims of police violence in Chicago released a joint statement, along with a poignant video, denouncing Emanuel and decrying the prospect that he might be rewarded with an ambassador post.
Despite the pressure for party-line conformity, Democratic support for the nomination could fracture in the Senate. Replying to letters from constituents urging him to oppose Emanuel for ambassador, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon-- who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee-- seemed responsive.
"I have heard from Oregonians who are concerned about certain aspects of Mr. Emanuel's record during his tenure as Chicago's mayor, in particular his administration's response to the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was killed by Chicago police in 2014," Merkley wrote. He added that "at a time of a national conversation about police accountability and combatting systemic racism, there is so much more that we can and must do to address racism and discrimination in our law enforcement practices. … Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should Mr. Emanuel's nomination come before the Senate for consideration."
This is the script Roots Action sent me this morning:
Hello Senator _______,
My name is _____ and I am a constituent in _____ .
I am calling to urge you to publicly reject Rahm Emanuel’s nomination for Ambassador to Japan.
Emanuel is not at all diplomatic. And as mayor he was a disaster for Chicago-- especially for black and brown communities.
His administration covered up the police murder of a black teenager, he was openly hostile to teachers, and he cruelly closed large numbers of public schools and mental health clinics in neighborhoods mostly populated by racial minorities.
Like Congressman Jamaal Bowman said, “Rewarding Rahm Emanuel's cover up of Laquan McDonald's murder with an ambassadorship is not an act that reflects a value of or respect for Black lives."
As your constituent, I urge you to announce that you will vote against the confirmation of Rahm Emanuel.
Please let me know your decision. I can be reached at: ______
Very simple and cogent... and possibly helpful if one of the senators listed above is yours. If you live in California, for example, don't waste your time calling Dianne Feinstein. She's an Emanuel booster and stands for the same kind of corruption that he does. Alex Padilla, on the other hand, might be open to hearing why Emanuel doesn't deserve his vote or this appointment.