It’s a poorly kept secret that Rahm Emanuel hates most Republicans and most Republicans hate him back. But now it turns out that any House Democrat who wants to be Speaker is also probably hoping that Rahm fails in his current job. That’s because Rahm’s let it slip that his ambition to be Speaker is so strong, he intends to pursue it again once he’s finished his time as White House Chief of Staff:
“I spoke with Rahm maybe a week or two after he had accepted the job of chief of staff,” Fritchey said. “At that time, he had commented to me that he may be interested in running one day again for the seat. I told him that should I be fortunate enough to run, and should I be fortunate enough to win the seat, I would look forward to campaigning against him.”
The state lawmaker then appeared to sense he might have been a bit too open about the conversation he had with Emanuel, who represented the district from 2003 through 2009, before leaving to work for President Barack Obama…
When word first surfaced of Emanuel’s departure from a leadership post in the U.S. House, one theory held that he wanted someone to win the seat who would step aside if he wanted to reclaim it in the future.
Rahm has moved up the leadership ladder awfully quickly and there are plenty of envious Democrats who resent the way he leapfrogged them. Because it was widely believed he wanted to be Speaker, many were surprised when he accepted the Chief of Staff job. Now we see that he’s sounded out potential successors on their willingness to take a dive when he wants to come back. That could influence the primary for his old House seat, and it certainly affects the way he’s viewed by rising leaders in the House.
This might not affect Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer directly; both are approaching 70 years old and might not be in Congress to challenge Emanuel when he tries to return in a few years. But if Jim Clyburn dreams of hanging around a few years to try to become the first black Speaker, he is bound to view Emanuel as a rival. So might Chris Van Hollen, Xavier Becerra, and others who view themselves as Speaker Material. Each knows that Emanuel would be a formidable opponent, unless he’s viewed as a failure as Chief of Staff.
Expect more finger pointing in the months ahead, and more attempts by up-and-comers in the House to pin the blame on Emanuel when things go wrong.
And pass the popcorn, please.