Rahm to liberal groups: Stop targeting Dems with ads.
Liberals to Rahm: You stop cutting deals with Billy Tauzin and the drug industry
by Joe Sudbay (DC) on 8/08/2009 12:06:00 PM
You know, we're all supposed to be afraid of Rahm. When he speaks, Democrats are supposed to quake. This week, he apparently told liberal groups to stop targeting Democratic members of Congress:
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel warned liberal groups this week to stop running ads against Democratic members of Congress.
The powerful top aide to President Obama made his feelings known at the weekly closed-door strategy session of an array of progressive organizations, according to two sources who were there.
Rahm is infamous for making "his feelings known." According to Greg Sargent, Emanuel actually a more graphic term to describe his thoughts on this matter. But, there's a credibility issue here. Most liberals I know really don't trust Rahm to enact real health insurance reform (or any LGBT related legislation, for that matter.)
Rahm wants liberal groups to stop targeting Democrats. But, there's a reason Democrats are the target. Democrats already have had the power to pass real reform -- and haven't. Rahm and his Deputy, Jim Messina, have been busy dealing with the Blue Dogs and Max Baucus. What's that gotten us so far? Not a health care law, that's for sure.
But, Thursday, we learned that there is one real winner so far: drug makers. Why? Max Baucus, Rahm and Messina (who used to work for Baucus) cut a sweetheart deal with the drug industry lobbyists. But, they got rolled by the chief lobbyist for the drug-makers, Billy Tauzin, when he went public with that deal. It's embarrassing. And, as John notes in the post below, the controversy continues for another day as the Obama administration had to back-track on the deal.
So far, in the health insurance reform, who has won? Billy Tauzin and the drug makers. Who hasn't? The pro-reform liberal groups. Rahm wants liberals to shut up and leave Max Baucus and other conservative Democrats alone -- even as those Democrats undermine some of the key provisions of Obama's commitment to reform. We're think we're fighting for what Rahm's boss wants (or told us he wants.) But, Rahm doesn't like. He swore. Be afraid everyone on the left.
Liberals and liberal groups worked hard to elect Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill, in part, because of the commitments they made on health insurance reform. But, in Rahm's world view, we shouldn't expect them to deliver on the promises they made to us. Rahm sees us as the problem.
Meanwhile, selling out to the drug industry lobbyists while not delivering on campaign promises are the kinds of things that damage the Obama brand. That's a real problem.