“Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!”
— Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) in Ghostbusters, describing a looming supernatural calamity.
In what’s surely a sign of the End Times, I find myself agreeing with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the first time ever.
Palin has posted on her Facebook page that President Obama should fire his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Palin is upset over a report last week in The Wall Street Journal that quoted Emanuel telling progressive groups last summer they were “fucking retarded” if they ran TV commercials criticizing conservative Democrats who opposed parts of Obama’s health care reform efforts.
The remark particularly angered Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, because she has a young son born with Down syndrome.
"Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the ‘N-word’ or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities — and the people who love them — is unacceptable, and it's heartbreaking," Palin wrote.
Given Palin’s record, it’s entirely probable her outrage is a cynical political ploy designed to attack Democrats, but I’m going to take her comments at face value this time. Palin no doubt loves her son and Emanuel’s remark was out of bounds. In fact, he’s already apologized for it, but only after it was publicly reported.
Still, Emanuel is obnoxious and duplicitous, a person who routinely puts keeping his party in power above all other principles. Despite his much-heralded intellect, Emanuel’s advice to Obama on scaling back health care reform efforts at the outset and to pander to Republicans was a disaster. In all likelihood, the president’s efforts are dead in the water for the remainder of his term.
Several liberal and conservative groups — along with some in Congress — are calling for an investigation into Emanuel’s actions while he was a board member of Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac, in 2000-01, when he allegedly helped devise a plan to deceive shareholders so they could pad their bonuses.
Back to Palin’s point: Yes, many politicians have uttered ugly remarks over the years but that doesn’t excuse Emanuel. More importantly, there are plenty of more substantive reasons he should get the axe.
And of course, Republicans had their own slimy character hanging around the White House in the form of Karl Rove, but I don’t remember Rove ever using such language or at least it was never reported.
If Obama wants to send a signal to his political base that the next three years of his administration will be truer to his campaign promises, one easy way to do so would be to fire Emanuel.