Political Animal


February 15, 2013 11:43 AM The Zen Bandwagon

By Ed Kilgore

If you want a glimpse at what a two-party open contest for the presidency is going to look and feel like in early, lazy media speculation, check out this Daily Beast column from the inveterate gossip-monger and trouble-maker Lloyd Grove that manages to create a Rahm Emanuel for President effort out of pretty much nothing. Rahmbo himself denies it in two languages. His spox denies it. Bill Daley denies it, obscenely. Carville and Begala deny it. But still:

[R]rumors of Emanuel’s higher ambitions persist. “I heard there were some conversations with donors especially during the inauguration,” a well-known Democratic politico told The Daily Beast, referring to the January 20-21 celebrations in Washington marking the launch of President Obama’s second term. A second highly placed Democrat echoed that account.

Then Grove manages to get Larry Sabato to trash other possible candidates (other than HRC, of course) as equally implausible, and there’s your “story,” perfect for a slow-news-day Friday and guaranteed to make heads explode left and right among those few who take it seriously.

Is it possible the subject of a presidential run came up in conversations between Emanuel and donors during the inauguration? Sure: there were probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of such conversations involving every pol who has ever looked in the mirror and seen the Next President of the United States, which means just about all of them. Who among the tribe of elected officials wouldn’t watch the inaugural pageant and imagine him- or herself taking the oath and waving at the crowds? Which “donors” wouldn’t take the opportunity to suck up to them by calling them sturdy presidential timber as their tongues lolled out at the spectacle?

So another Zen Bandwagon is launched, majestic in its absurdity. Anyone finding this kind of “journalsim” excrutiating should send a note to Hillary Clinton asking her to make an early declaration of candidacy in order to put it all to sleep.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Celui on February 15, 2013 12:42 PM:

    Ed: we parents all know that sometimes it's most effective to ignore openly the rantings of our momentarily out-of-control children. They're just spouting off to hear their own voices. Put them in 'time out' (here, by ignoring their preposterous postulations), and let their smoke-induced inventions be ridiculed by a vast non-response. It'll get louder and longer before it disappears, but heck! they will have discredited themselves openly. Then again, that may not work, given the continual blather of Faux Noise and the GOTPers. Maybe, just 'disappear' them.

  • gaardvark on February 15, 2013 1:13 PM:

    Q: Fastest way to get Democrats to sit out an election?
    A: Nominate Rahm Emanuel.

    Nuf said.

  • Rathskeller on February 15, 2013 3:03 PM:

    For fuck's sake. I'm actually a big fan of Rahm. I strongly hope he'll play a role with electing a democratic president in 2016: campaigning, finance, spokesperson.

    However, there's literally no chance in the world he could be elected. I doubt he could be elected governor or senator, either.

  • Peter C on February 15, 2013 3:32 PM:

    What seems clear is that Republicans are afraid of Rahm. I wonder if it is his reputation for ruthlessness? That would suggest that they know how exposed they are.

  • JR on February 15, 2013 4:44 PM:

    As a Chicagoan, I nearly spit at Grove's "scoop." Rahm isn't exactly beloved here. What makes Grove think he could win over America? The only factor - and it's a big one - ensuring Rahm's mayoral re-election is the formidable power of the Daley Machine, which makes it difficult for prospective opponents.

    Amongst my circle of leftie friends, few voted for Rahm (you couldn't have paid me to do so), and those that did do not want him re-elected. I never voted for Daley either, but Rahmney's making me long for those days. At least Daley II carved out a few hours every day in his calendar to meet with regular Chicagoans - neighborhood leaders, small business owners, regular folk. Rahm can't be bothered unless you've the ability to write out a 5+-figure campaign check.