It’s OK with me if all Rahm Emmanuel did is twist Illinois Gov. Blagojevich’s arm to Appoint Obama Loyalists. That’s to be expected, and is neither illegal nor immoral. It is, after all, a political appointment, and normal political considerations apply.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel pushed Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat, and even gave Blagojevich’s staff a deadline by which an appointment was expected, according to a report in today’s Chicago Sun-Times.
Citing sources “with the Obama camp,” the Sun-Times report says Emanuel began to push for Jarrett to fill Obama’s seat “just days” after the Nov. 4 election.
That story also cites a source close to Emanuel admitting it is “possible” Emanuel discussed the appointment with Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris, and that a specific date for the appointment was given.
The Sun-Times’ revelations suggest that Emanuel was more deeply involved in discussions with Blagojevich and his staff than previously reported, and was more assertive in promoting a specific candidate.
Those conversations could have contributed to Blagojevich’s apparent belief that the Senate appointment held great political value.
It is only if there was some deal to compensate Blagojevich personally that we have a problem. And, of course, if Blagojevich twisted Emmanuel’s arm to offer some kind of bribe (essentially a form of criminal conspiracy), then Emmanuel was obliged to report that, even if he didn’t take the offer. We can only hope that it turns out that Emmanuel is the one who tipped the FBI that something was imminent. It will not help achieve a successful Obama presidency to begin it by having a Chief of Staff resign in disgrace.