All those folks who thought they had elected the Dalai Lama to be President are slowly starting to realize they actually elected a man whose driving ambition from age 25 to 40 was to become Mayor of Chicago because that job gives you what Obama has always wanted: power. By my count, the word "power" or its variants appears 82 times in Dreams From My Father.
Obama has appointed as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel, fixer-fundraiser-bruiser extraordinaire who started out with the Daley Machine.
Poor Philip Weiss, who had convinced himself from all the time Obama spent hanging out with Palestinians before he became famous, that Obama's election meant a fair shake for the Palestinians, is distraught. (As if Obama ever cared about Palestinians ...) Emanuel spent the 1991 Gulf War volunteering at an Israeli military base.
Joshua Green writes in Rolling Stone:
There's the story about the time he sent a rotting fish to a pollster who had angered him. There's the story about how his right middle finger was blown off by a Syrian tank when he was in the Israeli army. And there's the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you." Of the three stories, only the second is a myth ...
The second of three sons born to a pediatrician father and a civil-rights-activist mother, Rahm was raised in a middle-class family that stressed competitiveness and achievement. His older brother, Ezekiel, is a leading medical ethicist. [Ah, yes, the medical ethics profession ...] His younger brother, Ari, is a Hollywood talent agent who served as the inspiration for Ari Gold, the fast-talking agent played by Jeremy Piven on HBO's hit series Entourage. (In a recent episode shot at a Lakers game, the lead actors sat in Ari Emanuel's $2,000 courtside seats.) "After about the sixth episode, I finally caught it," says Rahm, who himself was the model for the character Josh Lyman on The West Wing. "I called Ari the next day and said, 'Hey, I finally saw the show, and you know what? I like that guy better than I like you.'"
Emanuel got his political education working as a fund-raiser for Mayor Richard Daley's re-election campaign in Chicago, where he learned how to twist arms and knock heads. Donors were used to giving $5,000 — but Daley needed more. "Rahm took it up a notch," Daley's brother William recalled several years ago. "He told many of them they easily had the ability to give twenty-five grand." When contributors didn't pony up, Emanuel would tell them he was embarrassed that they'd offered so little and hang up on them. The shocked donor would usually call back and sheepishly comply. In thirteen weeks, the thirty-year-old raised $7 million — an unprecedented sum at the time. His fund-raising skills eventually earned him a job in the Clinton campaign.
In an interview with Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son's appointment would be good for Israel. "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel," he was quoted as saying. "Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, chiefly owned by Sheldon Adelson, recently #3 richest man in America and a prime funder of neoconnery in the U.S. and Israel, announced it was in danger of going broke. Adelson was a small time hustler who got insanely rich off the Housing Bubble as Californians took out home equity loans and drove to Vegas and off the Chinese mania for gambling by somehow getting the Beijing to give him something of a monopoly on casinos in Macao. His second wife is Israeli, and late in life he developed a passion for Likudism, spending a fortune on putting Netanyahu back in office.
As a convenience for all the neocons out there, here's the District of Columbia form you have to fill in to change your party registration from Republican to Democrat.