Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Comment on PJM, Ed Driscoll »
Rahm Emanuel: ‘Warmhearted Machiavellian’

Ed Driscoll » Rahm Emanuel: ‘Warmhearted Machiavellian’

It is difficult to parody David Brooks so it is understandable that Ed Driscoll just let him speak for himself. My belief is that Brooks, whatever his ostensible theoretical tools that he brought to his early work at the Washington Times and Wall Street Journal is primarily motivated by loyalty to the memories of his youth as part of the secure intellectual elite at the College of the University of Chicago between 1979 and 1983. For much of that time I was also on campus and I remember how it felt. There was a sense of real vulnerability, although the worst crime was a few years earlier. There was also a sense of social upheaval, the characters from 10 to 15 years earlier were often still around. There was a very strong sense of being in an elite club, although one proud of it's links to the rough and decaying industrial world around. Brooks now may still offer technical criticisms of Left wing enthusiasms but his social loyalties are to the denizens of the faculty (Quadrangle) Club and the student idealists meeting in Ida Noyes Hall.

Unfortunately Brooks was there when the University, which had once been proud of its exceptionalism, experienced a crisis of confidence brought on by a near death experience in the preceding decades. In the 1950s the University was forced to retreat from the unique academic model it had formed under Robert Maynard Hutchins, enrollments shrank and millions had to be poured into urban renewal efforts. Chicago which had once prided itself on being the home of misunderstood High School intellectuals in a College attached to a Graduate School with Professional components now seeks to be a good College like many others to produce alumni, and with graduate departments for the faculty and professional programs that also yield supportive alumni. It is a rational model but it has lead to the school chasing many fads to be popular. Courted interest groups include; students, the press, potential donors, foundations and government. The days when a billionaire like John D. Rockefeller would write the checks and trust the school to spend it are long gone.

Part of what is sad about this is that Obama and Emanuel are pale imitations of the reform liberals that used to draw on the loyalties of the, now dwindling, North Side Jews, and the Hyde Park/ Kenwood academics to support them as they sallied forth to challenge the Daley machine dragon. Now they are at best carbons approved by the same corrupt bosses their betters, such as Leon Despres or Abner Mikva or Sidney Yates either worked with or struggled against. Compare Barack Obama to Paul Douglas, the later being the genuine University of Chicago academic Liberal professor Senator, and Quaker war hero. Now these faux Reformers appear fully compromised as they seek to muscle in to a seat at the table. Like all the old special interests they now view their narrow good as the best for all and seek to negotiate or bully their way to a slice of the pie. Now the bosses and the so called insurgents sit at the same table and the same money and power interests are behind all of them. Like Akim Tamiroff in The Great McGinty The Boss can explain himself;
BOSS:
I said, do you want to be reform mayor of this city? Mayor!

McGINTY:
Well, what YOU got to do with the reform party?

BOSS:
I am the reform party! Who do you think?

McGINTY:
You're the reform party?

BOSS:
Why do you make me say everything twice?

McGINTY:
But since when?

BOSS:
Since a long time ago. In this town, I'm all the parties! You think I'm gonna starve every time they change administrations?

McGINTY:
But then, where does the reform party come in?

BOSS:
They come in the back door every Wednesday. I ask you if you want to be reform mayor. You give me a plain answer.
H/T genericradio.com

Compared to the legacy that he purports to stand in for Obama is a sad joke and Rahm Emanuel is by any measure a man unworthy of David Brooks' purple prose. When the dust from this debacle, I mean the entire episode of Obama and his enablers, has settled it is my hope that Penny Pritzker will be pried from the University's Board of Trustees and the school's reputation may be restored.

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