Patterico's Pontifications


Rahm Emanuel: “Never Allow a Crisis to Go to Waste”

Filed under: Obama — Patterico @ 11:48 pm

The American people might be thinking that Barack Obama plans big things because our current crisis demands it. Under this view, the crisis is the problem, and big-government action is the solution.

But Obama’s Chief of Staff plans big things because our current crisis provides an opportunity to get it done:

“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” Mr. Emanuel said in an interview on Sunday. “They are opportunities to do big things.”

Under this view, the need to accomplish big-government action is the problem, and the crisis is the solution.

The quote is a few days old, but I haven’t seen much mention of it in the blogosphere, so I thought I’d highlight it for you.

Keep this in mind, people of America. Is Obama’s goal to fix the crisis — or to use it to accomplish other things that he wanted to accomplish anyway?

This isn’t a paranoid question. Rahm Emanuel said so.

34 Responses to “Rahm Emanuel: “Never Allow a Crisis to Go to Waste””


    Patterico (cc3b34)

  2. What are we going to do about the Jewish Bolsheviks who burned down the Reichstag?

    nk (87c95e)

  3. It’s part of the standard left-wing playbook (the love of the crisis). You can read about it in more detail in Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”.

    Arthur (566737)

  4. “They are opportunities to do big things raise everyone’s taxes.”

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  5. #4 Perfect Sense:

    “They are opportunities to do big things raise everyone’s taxes.”

    They are opportunities to do much more than that, and the hard Left has consistently used them in the past to achieve some pretty nefarious ends. (Hmmm, what is it that they keep saying, something about ends and means?)

    Anyway, even if Patterico and I might mildly disagree about the nature of President-elect O!bama, I don’t recall anybody ever describing Rahm Emanuel as a “good man.”

    There might be a reason for that.

    EW1(SG) (9ae3cf)

  6. #4: Taxes are a means to an end, not an end in itself. Even liberals understand this. …though I understand how it might seem like an end goal, the way they go on about it.

    sierra (4be1ff)

  7. I don’t know, seems like this is simply an applied version of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That crises pose opportunities for action should come as no surprise to anyone. For example, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, a horrific crisis by any account, provided tremendous opportunity for worldwide respect and cooperation with the U.S. abroad, while here at home, Americans were overwhelmingly aligned in support of basically whatever our leaders told us they needed to do in response. Unfortunately, all of that foriegn and domestic opportunity was squandered by things like the Patriot Act and the detour into Iraq – with the end result being more, not less division than before.

    So the question is not whether crisis poses opportunity, but rather what is done with it. Will the crisis be fixed? Or will it be be cynically exploited a la Bush Administration to accomplish preexisting political goals? If there’s any indication that Obama wants to exploit crises in a similar manner as the Bush Administration – in pursuit of a narrow ideological agenda – then such efforts should absolutely be opposed.

    Tom (008032)

  8. #3 Arthur is correct. Constant Crises is needed for Liberal Fascists to keep seizing more and more power and control over, get this, business and over individual liberties. Crises, Crises, Crises, power grab, power grab, power grab. National Socialists anyone? Anyone???

    J. Raymond Wright (0440ef)

  9. Way to preempt the criticism, Pat! After screaming at Chris Cuomo on GMA to ask Bill Ayers a relevant followup question, I needed a good laugh.

    Mossberg500 (9fd170)

  10. 7- right on, bro.

    yeah, because we know algore and lurch would have accomplished far more against terrorism that the evil bushitler ever could have managed. Thank god for the loyal opposition giving away state secrets or constantly pointing out the massive misdeeds of the stromtropper US military at that Baghdad prison. Pinch Salzburger and the NY Times are true American heroes as are magnificent leaders like Murtha, Reid and Kuchinich.

    I and many of my acquaintances have suffered deep psychic pain due to the patriot act. It truly appalls me that private communications of potential terrorists abroad were compromised. I’m hoping that people incarcerated in Bush’s gulags will be revealed as political prisoners and released forthwith and I do pray that Bush won’t still seize permanent power before The One is POTUS in late January. I see The One has 70% approval ratings. Only the likes of the racist swine supporting this site continue to be naysayers. Thank God Obama and the libtards have no narrow political agenda. His aura will definitely take America back to the Greatness lost since W started mismanaging everything. The troika of Obama, Pelosi and Reid will defintely usher us into a new era of peace and prosperity. The world expects it. God Bless Obama.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  11. madmax,

    Oops, I see that your “must-defend-President-Bush-at-all-costs” reaction kicked in, causing you to completely miss what my post actually said. I’m terribly sorry about that. Here, let me condense my post into a linear analysis for you so that you can better navigate it this time:

    Point 1: Crisis does indeed bring opportunity…

    – example: 9/11 brought foreign and domestic opportunities for cohesion and unity

    Point 2: …but opportunities from crisis can be squandered!

    – example: the Patriot Act helped wreck national unity, the Iraq War helped wreck global unity

    Sum up: Therefore, the question is not whether crisis brings opportunity, but rather how we use it.

    Good luck!

    Tom (008032)

  12. Crisis is the mother’s milk of Leftist Revolution. Instability, social, economic, or political, brings opportunities for collectivist initiatives which would never be possible otherwise.

    The recent and recently altered bailout is an example. Without the chicken little pronouncements of imminent doom during the election cycle there never would have been such a foolish rush to loot the treasury.

    Additionally, so many seemingly idiotic Leftist plans and policies only become understandable when you realize the goal is to undermine order and stability so Leftists can offer “solutions” like government take-over of vital industries, such as banking and investments.

    The Left is now after the Automobile industry, they already have health care almost controlled, next it could well be the holy grail, energy.

    Ropelight (1dddd9)

  13. Now we know why the democrats have been on a tear to destroy the economy since taking over congress in Jan 2007. They destroyed it so they can take credit for fixing it. They were successful in creating the crisis but even if the economy comes back millions of lives have been destroyed, thanks to the democrats. They spent 8 years creating a new mental illness (BDS) that is incurable so you can expect the cure for the economy to be worse than the disaster they created.

    Scrapiron (c36902)

  14. 11 Yes, I have failed to partake of the Obama Kool-iad. I don’t get an erection upon hearing his voice or gazing at his jug ears or crotch, unlike the media darlings.

    You don’t tell us just what was wrong with the patriots act or why is is and was ok to give aid and comfort to the enemy. How does shutting down Guantanamo as a prison for terrorists rate as a priority on Obama’s early to do list? Many of us don’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of terrorists and it seems to me they live far better at that gulag than they did while making war with the US. And actually are treated far better than many people are as citizens in the US. Would that our own lonely shut-in elderly were delivered three nutritional religiously-correct meals daily.
    Tell us how the various Patriot Act provisions harmed any actual US citizens other than crimping the potential income of more asshole defense trial lawyers from the ACLU ready to fellate islamofacists?
    Kind of funny too how Paulson lets Lehman go belly up and then bails out the big insurance co.
    And if I’m Toyota I have to wonder how acting prudently in business makes sense when GM can be profligate blowing money supporting union featherbedders paid not to work? Let the ailing US automakers go bankrupt and continue under new ownership. There is no need to continue to support autoworkers to the tune of nearly $90 an hour in wage and benefits. If the Obama gummint takes control, how won’t it be more failed socialism? Ditto for Congressional calls to take over Big Oil. Chavez is doing a hell of a job in Venezuela absolutely destroying that industry. And how can it be that Obama would allow the wonderfully competent postal workers to face 40,000 lay-offs? Bail out the Post Office and everyone else who needs money! Just gear up those printing presses or let the “rich” pay out the ass.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  15. Expect a lot of big things to get done in the first half of 2009. I’m expecting some kind of hate-crime crisis next year also.

    That said, a military crisis is decidedly NOT a time to get big things done. That would be a time to retreat into isolationism.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  16. Or will it be be cynically exploited a la Bush Administration to accomplish preexisting political goals?

    It seems someone’s BDS cannot even be cured by a Baracky win.

    example: the Patriot Act helped wreck national unity

    BS. Dems demagoguing the Patriot Act after having voted for it may have done so, but the Patiot Act enjoyed wide bipartisan support at the time. Quit re-writing history.

    JD (94c827)

  17. Under this view, the need to accomplish big-government action is the problem, and the crisis is the solution.
    See Hegelian dialectic. Creating a problem is a time-honored device for obtaining change, where change isn’t needed or prudent.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  18. Point 1: Crisis does indeed bring opportunity…

    – example: 9/11 brought foreign and domestic opportunities for cohesion and unity

    Point 2: …but opportunities from crisis can be squandered!

    – example: the Patriot Act helped wreck national unity, the Iraq War helped wreck global unity

    Tom – Excellent but misleading points. What hysterical domestic fears of the Patriotic Act shouted by the left have actually been factually fulfilled. The much heralded Bush comstitution shredding lives mostly in the fevered mind of the left than in fact.

    The Iraq War also had a domestic appeoval rating of 80% at inception. In terms of global unity major foreign allies such as France and Russia who elected not to join the effort were making too much money ftom Iraq to turn on it. You knew that anyway yet you raised the point. The U.N. just wanted to keep issuing toothless resolutions. The 30 oe so countries that jopined us seemed unified. How much unity exactly did you want?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  19. Patterico @ 1

    Talk while you can big man.

    First they’re coming for talk radio.

    Next they’re coming for the internet.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  20. daleyrocks – They will accept nothing less than unanimity of opinion.

    JD (94c827)

  21. I think you have it essentially correct; the crisis is not the impetus for the coming Dem legislative agenda, however it will most certainly be used to justify aspects of it. More importantly, using a crisis as justification generally brings bipartisan support to a “solution”.

    Consider 9/11 and the collapse of the credit market. Each was used to justify a solution (The Patriot Act and the Rescue Package/bailout, respectively) that would not otherwise have been politically palpable to one side or the other. Liberals generally don’t sign up for expansions of the Police Power, and conservatives generally don’t back massive infusions of Treasury money to offset market-driven financial conditions.

    The very near future holds the re-packaging of a number of failed Dem legislative agenda items, justified by the well-stoked fear that we’re in a major recession: universal health care- we need it now more than ever! Who can afford insurance?; federal investment in otherwise too-costly alternative energy industries- we’re creating jobs!; repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell- our troops are worn out, we need to broaden the recruiting pool!; another minimum wage hike- we need it to keep up with inflation!; and so on.

    We’ll see enough Republican’s sign on to each of these pieces of legislation to break a filibuster. What will be more interesting to watch will be the initiatives that the Dems need to bring to a vote to satisfy their constituents, such as Card Check. Not only will there not be any bipartisan support, the Dems won’t want any– their base will want to see a few items shoved down the Republicans’ throats.

    theBruce (045589)

  22. #14, Mossberg500, thanks for the link, it’s a must read, and it’s exactly on-point.

    Ropelight (1dddd9)

  23. This is more than the applied version of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This is more of the applied version of “think of all the lemonade we could make if we plant a lemon grove and produce tons of lemons.” Take the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/subprime mortgage debacle. It isn’t as if anyone couldn’t see it coming. What incentive though, did the Democrats in Congress have to prevent it? Its our first wealth redistribution recession. Unqualified buyers got homes the Democrats will make sure they keep, thereby creating a loyal class of Democratic party clients, and the Democrats in Congress get to control larger parts of the economy. It’s all upside for them. Why would they have helped John McCain or anyone else in Congress to pass legislation to head off the crisis that was obviously coming.

    Part of the upside is that Barack Obama will now be President. For some reason, people are under the illusion that Barack Obama is the man to help the middle class and fix the economy. He may surprise me. But on the other hand, I hold out no great hopes for a man who sat on a philanthropic board with a marxist revolutionary for the express purpose of spreading anti-capitalist propaganda to the classroom. You know, what Barack Obama’s school reform colleague Bill Ayers calls “teaching social justice.” Or a man who attended a church that rejects middle-classness and believes it is the concentration of wealth in too few American hands that causes domestic and global poverty.

    I’ve looked at Barack Obama’s economic plans on and we’re going to get New Deal II. And I realized that conservatives like me and the liberals/socialists learned exactly the same things from New Deal I. FDR’s program did nothing to help the economy, and a great many of his proposals damaged it.

    The difference is one of outlook. I wouldn’t repeat those policies because I’d want to repair the economy. They want to repeat them because the lengthy depression gave them ample opportunity to plant their lemon grove. It created the demand for more and more social welfare programs that continue to this day. And remember, when Obama talked about wealth redistribution and the courts, Obama said the role of community organizing was to create a demand the courts would have to acknowledge.

    Expecting the Democrats to want to fix the economy is like expecting Jesse Jackson to want to see an end to racism. They all would be out of a job. The crisis must continue! Especially when breaking the economy works out so well for them. They blame others, and are rewarded with more of the economy to break. And broader authority for their social engineering, and personal profiteering.

    Steve (72fd39)

  24. I read an article this morning in the NY Post (can’t post the link, but it was by Goldberg I believe) that argued the same basic point, but from the Right. With budget deficits climbing, he argued now was the time for huge cuts in entitlements and other spending. So while I agree with Pat, I also somewhat agree with Rahm. It’s just that liberals, as always, think gov’t is the solution.

    Cankle (8aa31a)

  25. The Iraq War also had a domestic approval rating of 80% at inception.

    This, daleyrocks, is exactly my point. We were damn near unanimous following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, willing to do whatever necessary. Problem was, going into Iraq was not actually the right course of action for our leaders to have taken. As a nation, we bound ourselves together, got behind the Patriot Act and the Iraq War without asking too many questions, because we trusted our leadership – and, well, you know the rest of that story. No more national (or global) unity now, because of how the opportunity from the crisis of 9/11 was squandered. That, from my view, is a failure of leadership.

    And for the record, if Obama similarly squanders a national crisis in order to implement his own ideological agenda, I will regard that also to be a failure of leadership.

    Tom (008032)

  26. You see, Tom just assumes that President Bush used 9/11 to pursue some radical ideological agenda. You have to make that assumption for everything else that follows.

    JD (94c827)

  27. As a nation, we bound ourselves together, got behind the Patriot Act and the Iraq War without asking too many questions, because we trusted our leadership –

    Many people asked quite a few questions at the time, Tom – but obviously you weren’t willing to actually pay attention.

    No more national (or global) unity now

    This just in – nations always act within the scope of their own interests. That’s why the UN is a toothless organization – you’ll never achieve a sort of mythical “global unity” based on pixie dust and worthless nostrums.

    Dmac (e30284)

  28. Tom, that in fact there was not unity behind the Patriot Act, and Democrats did ask questions about both at the time, and later undermined the Iraq War effort in bad faith ( joining with which in fact opposed even the Afghan operation ) – with full knowledge of the kind of intel we had leading up – seems to go right over your head.

    SPQR (72771e)

  29. Comment by Tom — 11/14/2008 @ 11:56 am
    If the American people thought that going into Iraq was a bad idea, it was up to them to notify their elected representatives to oppose the administration on this matter.
    In fact, it was the Dems who raised a stink about all the “noise” being generated re Iraq, and demanded a Congressional debate.
    Bush agreed to the debate, and the Dems lost the argument by a bi-partisan vote in both houses of Congress.
    Since we are a Republic, I can only assume that the elected representatives of the people used the sentiments of their constituents to effect their good judgement in voting on this matter.
    So, what is your problem?
    Do you not believe in the manner in which this Republic works?

    Another Drew (4f04a0)

  30. FDR’s program did nothing to help the economy, and a great many of his proposals damaged it.–

    Poor Steve appears to have awakened from a coma since 1974. News flash for ya Steve

    1. To paraphrase Reagan: are you better or worse off than you were 8 years ago? I’d say 8 years of unnecessary war, deregulation, and tax cuts have failed.

    2. When GWB is pouring trillions into Wall Street and Detroit corporate coffers I find it amusing that Barack Obama is labelled a socialist.

    Nick (6a1cf8)

  31. Y’all remember Nick? This will be fun.

    JD (94c827)

  32. Wow, Nick went for the trifecta here – and beat it! Four tired and discredited memes in one post – congrats, Nicky!

    Dmac (e30284)

  33. Wow, Nick went for the trifecta here – and beat it! Four tired and discredited memes in one post – congrats, Nicky!

    Not only that, but he can’t do basic math. 8 years of unnecessary war? Where? We’ve been in Afghanistan for 7, and Iraq for 17. Where does Nicky imagine we’ve been in 8 years of unnecessary war simply because Bush was elected?

    Oh, I suppose Nicky is hallucinating about the current phase of the Iraq war. Well, the invasion was in 2002, Nicky, so that would still be only 6 years. But the major problem with your math, Nicky, is that we’ve been at war with Iraq since the early ’90s. While you’ve been smoking your crack pipe, I was enforcing the sanctions against Iraq that were conditions for a final peace.

    I realize most of you outside the military don’t realize it, but cease-fires don’t end wars. They are a simply armistices, temporary pauses to the fighting. Here’s a hint: you don’t have cease-fires with countries with which you are at peace. The presence of a cease-fire means you are at war, de jure and de facto. Until the cease-fire is replaced with a peace treaty, that is; that and only that ends the state of war. Which never happened with Iraq, just as it has never happened with North Korea.

    Whenever anyone talks to me about how Bush “lied” us into an unnecessary war with Iraq, I know I am dealing with an individual who is either hopelessly uninformed or dishonest. The people who hate to face facts can’t admit it, but Bush inherited a war with Iraq without an exit strategy. I suppose the reason for that is they plan on hiding from reality in the future, as well.

    Steve (0187c3)

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