Nominating Rahm Emanuel to Be Ambassador to Japan Suggests We Don't Like Japan

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Photo credit: Anna Moneymaker - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anna Moneymaker - Getty Images

Rahm Emanuel is a pestiferous lout who kept getting hired by Democratic administrations, where he took as his main job pissing off the party’s base. He then got elected to Congress, where he did very little, and then he got elected mayor of Chicago, where his most notable accomplishment was to be accused of covering up the police killing of Laquan McDonald. Along the way, he alienated anyone who came within a 25-mile radius of his smirk. Nevertheless, the current administration nominated him to be ambassador to Japan in a move that made some observers wonder if this country was yet over Pearl Harbor.

But thank the attentive Deity, there came Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, of the Dickensian senatorial firm of Merkley and Markey. Senator Jeff and Senator Ed both voted against Emanuel’s nomination. It went through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee despite their opposition, which Merkley explained quite clearly in his statement accompanying his vote.

“Black Lives Matter,” Merkley said in his statement. “Here in the halls of Congress, it is important that we not just speak and believe these words, but put them into action in the decisions we make. I have carefully considered Mayor Emanuel’s record ― and the input of civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts, and local elected officials who have reached out to the Senate to weigh in ― and I have reached the decision that I cannot support his nomination to serve as a U.S. Ambassador.”

Merkley and Markey may have given permission for other Democratic senators to vote against Emanuel’s nomination when it hits the Senate floor. (House progressives are pretty far up the wall over the whole thing, citing the McDonald cover-up.) Emanuel, however, has an ace up his sleeve. From the Washington Post:

Emanuel, who has held powerful positions in government for three decades, is waging an aggressive behind-the-scenes effort to secure votes from Democrats and Republicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Among his earliest coups are Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of former president Donald Trump; Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the fourth-ranking GOP senator, who has opted not to seek reelection next year; and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a centrist fresh off winning a fifth term.

The State Department is understaffed because Senate Republicans—most notably Tailgunner Ted Cruz—have refused to allow a vote on many of them. But Rahm Emanuel doesn’t care. He needs a gig, and the Republicans can help him get it. He’s their kind of people.

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