In case anyone missed it this weekend, CNN reported that Rahm Emanuel, former head of the DCCC and now designated to chair the House Democratic Caucus, was aware of suspicious Mark Foley emails to pages in 2005.They discuss how, when asked about his knowledge of Foley's creepy e-mails, he "danced around" the subject, saying that he had "never seen" the e-mails in question, rather than answering the question "Did you know about them?" directly. More has come to light, and by following the links above, you'll see the rest of the dirt.
Much like our previous coverage of William Jefferson, this is another dark corner that needs some bright light shed on it. I'm not saying that we have the clear-cut evidence needed to convict Emanuel in the court of public opinion, but something stinks here and it needs a very open, public investigation if the public is to take seriously the Dem's plan to root out the culture of corruption in Washington and to clean house. You can't very well talk about cleaning somebody else's house if you've got some major turds sitting on your own carpet.
Frankly, we have reason to be a tad suspicious of the FDL accusations, which is why I believe we should call for investigations, rather than demanding Emanuel's head on a platter right now. One of the disturbing trends in the Democratic Party of late is the rather scorched earth approach that some of their supporters are taking in terms of solidifying "the base" (i.e. the most left wing, liberal contingent of the party) and opening fire on anyone who doesn't pass muster as being progressive enough. (And everyone gets to have their own definition of progressive.) These passages from the FDL article gives me pause.
Our own Blue America candidate researcher Howie Klein has suspicions about Emanuel's foreknowledge of the Foley ticking time bombs based on Emanuel's early efforts to recruit a former Republican to run as a "Democrat" for Foley's very red district seat, sleezily pushing out a fine local progressive in Dave Lutrin.There's some key buzzwords in there which make me wonder. Cleaning house of corrupt Congressmen who will give the party a black eye going forward is good. Cleaning house of people simply because you don't think they are "liberal or progressive enough" is bad. I would caution the party leadership to remember that you hold the Senate only by virtue of running some moderate to right leaning candidates in the South who would never pass muster at a NOW meeting. This doesn't mean they are bad people. It just means you need to have the big tent you've always claimed to want.
In 2002, Emanuel beat a fine grassroots progressive with the help of all this machine campaign illegality, and Emanuel would have us all believe he knew nothing about it.
Be that as it may, there's something suspicious going on with Foley, and for the Democrats to earn our trust as they enter their new majority, Pelosi and company need to pry open that box and show us all what's inside. If Emanuel is dirty, then he needs to go. If he's not, then let's make that clear in the bright light of inspection, fully transparent and open to the public.