No matter what you think of Rahm Emanuel, this interview of him by the New Republic is amusing. Because, although it is edited, the interview is transcribed, so you can see for yourself how Emanuel intimidates the interviewer. In short, Emanuel scares him. And it works.
IC: When the Obamacare website wasn’t working properly, did you want to be in Washington trying to fix it?
RE: You gotta be kidding. You get a freebie question for the ridiculousness of that question.
IC: I was asking about your competitive instinct. You say you like to fix things.
RE: [Gets up and starts walking around the office.] That goes down as one of the more intriguing questions I have ever had. Did I wish I was in Washington to fix a website? Let me answer that. I have a single-word answer. No. Please do not edit out the sarcasm of that answer.
IC: Don’t worry, it is staying.
If Emanuel wants to go off record, they go off record. If Emanuel mocks the way the interviewer transitions from one topic to another, the interviewer minces and cringes. It’s actually funny to read. It’s too bad they don’t put the audio online.
Emanuel is in the catbird seat: he is a forceful Democrat in a city that does not brook Republicanism. You get a sense of the Happy Dictator in this passage, which comes on the heels of Emanuel’s boasting about how he redid every playground in Chicago and beat the deadline by a year:
IC: You don’t have a Congress that prohibits you from passing the smallest thing.
RE: We have fifty aldermen but we do have a … hmmm.
IC: A working majority?
RE: [Bursts into laughter.] We have a can-do spirit. Washington doesn’t think they have a lot on the line. We have a lot on the line.
A “can-do spirit.” Very cute.
It’s actually something that the country as a whole could use, only in the other direction. A “can-cut” spirit. A “can-repeal” spirit. A “can-dismantle” spirit.
But it’s not enough for one politician to have the spirit. He has to have the country behind him. And that won’t happen until the fiscal crash — and probably not even then.