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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rahm Emanuel must go

There are so many reasons not to like Rahm Emanuel. Among the biggest is his refusal to buy into the 50-state strategy that won Democrats so many seats in the House last month--and the man was our elections chair. He wanted to sink a ton of money into just 20 or so seats, hoping to pick up the 15 we needed. Luckily, we ignored him, and won without him. Almost literally--he sank $6 million into the campaigns of two of his hand-selected candidates (people who ran in lieu of netroots favorites) that could have gone into a half-dozen other close races and won them handily.

He made who knows how much money teaming up with Bruce Reed to write The Plan, a book which, apparently offers no plan and is generally designed to distance himself from the party he's supposed to be a leader of.

Now comes word, through Congress's investigation of itself, that Emanuel knew of Mark Foley's emails in 2005, about the same time as Speaker Hastert and others. When asked about his knowledge of these emails, Emanuel repeatedly and forcefully lied to Democrats and the American people. There is no way around it. His choices in 2005, when he learned of the emails, included things like going to the FBI, or demanding a House investigation then into the matter. He didn't do those things; he leaked word of the emails to the Florida press, who refused to run the story.

It was only a year later, when additional emails were leaked to ABC news--by a Republican this time, remember--that any news organizations went after the truth of the matter, and we found that Hastert and other Republican leaders both knew of Foley's problems and helped to cover them up.

But Emanuel's conduct, both in 2005 and in lying to us this year, demands action. He should resign, and, failing that, he should be removed from the Democratic caucus. Should he be expelled? Maybe so. His actions are exactly the oppositie of the kind of leadership Democrats need to provide for the next year or so, the only time we'll have to establish ourselves as the party that can fulfill our promises. We promised no more corruption, voters supported that, and now it's time to be serious.

While we're at it, Democrats should kick the just re-elected William Jefferson out of the caucus, too.

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