08-12-2009, 04:08 PM
Representative Rahm Emanuel, left, President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff, called the president of an Arab-American group today to apologize for comments his father made to an Israeli newspaper.
In the remarks, Benjamin Emanuel discussed the potential impact of his son’s new position on U.S.-Israeli relations.
“Obviously he’ll influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to be mopping floors at the White House,” the elder Mr. Emanuel told the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, according to English-language reports in The Jerusalem Post and The Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Calling the comment an “unacceptable smear,” the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee had sent the younger Emanuel a letter (copied to Mr. Obama) calling on him to “disavow and repudiate these remarks publicly.”
“All we ask is to be treated in the same way as any other ethnic, racial or minority group,” said Kareem Shora, the A.D.C.’s executive director. “We’re not treating it as simply an Arab-American issue, we’re trying to treat it as an American issue.”
That led to Rahm Emanuel’s apology today.
08-12-2009, 04:23 PM
Title: Five Times Rahm Emanuel Didn't Resign (And One Time He Did)
Character/Pairing: Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, Rahm/Barack if you squint
Summary: The average tenure of the White House Chief of Staff is two years.
AN: Dear God, if you only knew how long I've been working on this fic. The boys just would not cooperate. Feedback is muy appreciated.
In the Israel newspaper Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel said, "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
In hindsight, Rahm’s first mistake was probably opening with a joke. Because his comment of “Ya know, when Joe says dumb shit like this, everyone finds it endearing.” naturally leads to Barack making the second mistake, acting like a patronizing asshole and going on about appearances and message control.
And then Rahm (who is not so big on the self control or possessing of much patience with being bullshitted—Barry should know that, so third mistake goes to him) is cutting him off.
“Not just no, but Hell no. Bloggers, Barry. It’s a nothing story being kept alive by fucking bloggers. I’m not going to lend it any credibility by commenting on it.”
“You think I don’t understand that? But the longer we wait to get in front of this, the greater the chance it will snowball. The media needs to obsess about something. Tag. You’re it.”
“So, what? You want me to announce to the full press corps that my old man’s a little bit racist? That he misfuckingspoke? I’m not as talented as you, Barry. I can’t turn throwing my less than acceptable friends and family members under the bus into a grand teaching moment.”
It’s a direct hit. Barack flinches, less than half a second before he slips back into calm and reasonable politician mode (which sounds eerily similar to his trying to convince Sasha to eat all her broccoli mode) and the really, really fucked up part of him he always tells himself later he’s going to rise above someday does an impromptu victory dance.
“We need to consider how this looks. I don’t care if you cross your fingers behind your back when you do it, but you need to do this, Rahm.”
“How this looks is that if you make me read your fucking bullshit prepared statement, I will fucking walk.”
It’s the ‘why are we still talking about this’ tone in the other man’s voice that makes him throw down the ultimatum. When Barack appears to be doing all he can not to roll his eyes and tells him he’s being an idiot, Rahm mostly believes he actually means it.
“No, I’m being a good son, you fucking arrogant fuck.” Rahm snaps.
“He’s my father! This isn’t a matter of national concern, this isn’t politics, this is personal and it’s nobody’s business but mine. I’m not going to speak out against my father and fuck you, Mr. President-Elect for putting me in this position.”
Barack laughs, a harsh ugly sound, like he’s been gargling with shards of glass.
“I’m sorry, are you new? Have you been in a fucking coma for the past ten years? There is no such thing as between anyone and anyone anymore. I know you’re not naïve, so this must be you being deliberately obtuse.”
Barack has him literally backed into a corner and Rahm is vaguely horrified at the very real possibility that he might just be decked by the fucking President of the United States.
“Fuck you, Rahm, you fucking stupid stubborn bastard. You think I care because this is embarrassing? I care because this diminishes you. It turns you into my token Jew and not what you are—the best person for this job, the only person I wanted. And if there is a possibility that anyone for one fucking second might call that decision into question, then yes, I will hold a fucking press conference about it. Later I’ll be your friend and be properly sympathetic about how unfucking fair this all is, but right now I’m your boss and I’m saying: Fix. It. Now.”
Rahm opens and closes his mouth several times, unable to speak. What could he even say to that?
He’s tempted, so very, very tempted to smack him down. He’s (mostly) got the moral high ground here and the air is kind of thin and going right to his head. But he makes himself pull back.
“He’s my father, Barry.”
His voice almost cracks on the words and when Barack pretends not to notice, Rahm might just possibly, maybe, ever so slightly love him.
“I know. And I’m sorry.”
He reads the fucking statement.
After Blago shocks them all by proving to be an even crazier, dumber, or both than they all previously suspected, after Rahm goes from possible leak, savior of Democracy, to death threats and reporters ambushing him at his kids’ school, Barack starts watching him. He knows what’s coming and it fucking sucks.
Rahm’s dreading a big ugly, lets all show our guts and talk about our feelings moment and he manages to hold it off for a whole three days.
When it finally happens, it’s not what he expects at all.
It’s a vice grip on his shoulder guiding him into an empty conference room and Barack glaring at him like he’s ready, willing, and able to gut him with a teaspoon.
“Don’t even fucking think about it.”
“You’re getting that deer in the headlights, now seems like an awesome time to fall on my sword look. Don’t you fucking dare think of resigning because of this bullshit. Bloggers, Rahm. It’s a nothing story being kept alive by fucking bloggers.”
Barack believes him.
The have to lean against the wall as his legs momentarily give out wave of relief at this realization is immediately filed away at the very, very bottom of the Do Not Touch Under Pain of Pain triple locked box in the back of his mind.
Rahm honestly hadn’t known, hadn’t let himself consider how much he needed to hear those words, just like this, no press release, no statement issued on transition headquarters stationary, just the two of them, face to face, until this very moment.
He thinks about denying the accusation. And then he considers joking about it. Maybe inquire if Barack just woke up from a coma of his own. Because he should know better than this. Yeah, he had nothing to with it with Blago’s fucktardary. And he knows he’ll be exonerated eventually. But Barack’s unwavering trust in him is little comfort when he just as sure knows that ‘eventually’ is five eternities in the twenty-four hour news cycle.
“Barry, please. No matter what Fitz says, there’s going to be people who don’t believe it. People I’ve already probably pissed off a hundred different times. People you’ll need to work with. And if it’s not this, it’ll be something else. I’m a distraction you don’t need. Let me do this.”
Rahm thinks of everyone who called him the worst sort of partisan hack and imagines punching them all in the throat.
See. Don’t ever fucking doubt that I fucking love my country.
To his shock, the only one indulging in violent impulses is the President-Elect.
Barack smacks him upside the back of the head.
“Well, tough shit. Indulge your martyr complex someplace else. I’m pulling rank here. If you try to resign, I won’t accept it. Don’t lecture me about what I do and do not need. What I need, Rahm, is you.”
With that, the President-Elect walks away. On the way out of the room, he calls over his shoulder.
“This kind of drama queen crap going to be a regular thing? Cause if so, I’d suggest investing in a helmet. That was pretty satisfying.”
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