What’s happened since Rahm Emanuel was last in the White House, acting under assorted titles as a chief strategist for Bill Clinton? Well, he became a U.S. representative from Chicago. His brother Ari, the overcaffeinated Hollywood superagent, inspired the character of Ari Gold on Entourage, played to Emmy-winning perfection by Jeremy Piven, who’s not so much a caricature as a Platonic ideal of the real thing. And Rahm is a lot like his West Coast sibling. He talks like a sailor spending shore leave at David Mamet’s house, and his menacing-hilarious theatrics have earned him as many enemies as they have compulsively readable magazine profiles. Vide this golden oldie from the New York Times dug up by Alex Pareene at Gawker:
The best Rahm Emanuel story is not the one about the decomposing two-and-a-half-foot fish he sent to a pollster who displeased him. It is not about the time – the many times – that he hung up on political contributors in a Chicago mayor’s race, saying he was embarrassed to accept their $5,000 checks because they were $25,000 kind of guys. No, the definitive Rahm Emanuel story takes place in Little Rock, Ark., in the heady days after Bill Clinton was first elected President.
It was there that Emanuel, then Clinton’s chief fund-raiser, repaired with George Stephanopoulos, Mandy Grunwald and other aides to Doe’s, the campaign hangout. Revenge was heavy in the air as the group discussed the enemies – Democrats, Republicans, members of the press – who wronged them during the 1992 campaign. Clifford Jackson, the ex-friend of the President and peddler of the Clinton draft-dodging stories, was high on the list. So was William Donald Schaefer, then the Governor of Maryland and a Democrat who endorsed George Bush. Nathan Landow, the fund-raiser who backed the candidacy of Paul Tsongas, made it, too.
Suddenly Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remember it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table.
”Dead!” he screamed.
The group immediately joined in the cathartic release: ”Nat Landow! Dead! Cliff Jackson! Dead! Bill Schaefer! Dead!”
Toss in a deeply uncomfortable but funny line about cementing his assistant’s asshole shut, and you’ve got Gold, baby. (The family’s patriarch is a former Irgun militant, which explains the pugnacity, and also how Obama plans to close the gap with Israeli hawks.) Herewith a preview of how the new chief of staff will handle the coming drama of repping an international celebrity bigger than Vinnie Chase.
We should assume that a sensitive hierarchy will always be maintained in the Obama cabinet:
Bill Clinton slept an average of 4 hours a night, and his underlings fared no better. Obama’s got a new Democratic majority to put to work, so don’t expect any high-ranking official to be in bed as late as 5 a.m.
Better get Mrs. Rahm a puppy to keep her company, too.
The instinct for throwing undesirables "under the bus" will no doubt be sharpened:
"Lipstick on a pig" is actually a dead metaphor.
Now that Proposition 8 has been passed, a liberal president will have to mend fences with the gay community: