Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rahm Emanuel on CBS

I saw White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on Face the Nation (CBS) this morning. He made me yell at the TV. I could not believe the tissue of false statements, half-truths, and straw men coming out of his mouth.

A prime example of Rahm's outright falsehoods was his statement — repeated more than once, for emphasis — that there were no earmarks in the stimulus bill. (!!) Certainly that was the initial stated intent, as it was reported that

top Democrats and the Obama administration decided that there would be no earmarks: no "special projects," no pork-barrel spending.
Of course, it didn't stay that way. The bill ended up with a number of earmarks, inserted in the dark of night in closed-door meetings from which Republicans and less conspiratorial Democrats were excluded, including $30 million for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “for wetlands restoration that the Obama administration intends to spend in the San Francisco Bay Area to protect, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse” and $8 billion for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for “building a maglev train between Las Vegas and Southern California”. It is true the stimulus bill did not have the more than 9,000 earmarks in the Democrats' omnibus spending bill, but these (and other) earmarks demonstrate that Rahm's statement was completely false.

The omnibus spending bill provides an example of the half-truths. According to Rahm, the deficit in the government's Fiscal Year 2009 spending is the fault of the Bush Administration. That was part of his effort to make the assertion (without quite saying it) that the Obama Administration isn't raising the deficit — that the Obama deficit is "inherited from George Bush". There are at least a couple of problems with this. The budget bill is not George Bush's budget. The Pelosi-Reid Congress refused to pass the Bush budget, and only passed a temporary spending bill so the new administration could put an immediate imprint on the budget without Republican interference. So (1) current spending is the Democrats' budget and (2) the omnibus spending bill (with its 9000+ earmarks) is Barack Obama's budget. And doesn't it take a awful lot of chutzpah to claim to be reducing the deficit while actually nearly quadrupling it.

I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised. After all, I lived in Chicago for a couple of years under Mayor Richard Daley and his political machine. And Rahm Emanuel is a dirty Chicago politician. (Yes, I know — that's repetitive, and redundant.)

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