the national interest

Everybody Hates Rahm Emanuel

Former White House Chief of Staff and Current Mayor-elect of Chicago Rahm Emanuel speaks to supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama during a campaign fundraiser at Navy Pier April 14, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The event was one of three fundraisers the president attended today in Chicago to help raise money for his 2012 re-election campaign. Tickets for the events ranged from $100 to the legal maximum of $35,800.
I know it was you. You broke my heart. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

When the Obama administration was formulating the Affordable Care Act, policy advisers wanted to include medical malpractice reform. President Obama had advocated for it in a 2006 article, and advisers expected to do it. Then one of them had a talk with chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who comes across in this scene as every inch of his cynical, profane caricature:

I’m also working on the medical malpractice proposal I told you about,” I began.

He immediately cut me off: “Shut the f— up! We are not doing malpractice. Period. Every time the AMA comes in here, they don’t talk about malpractice.” Their first, second and third priority, he said, was the formula used by Medicare to determine doctors’ pay. “We don’t need to do malpractice for the doctors, and I am not alienating the president’s base for nothing,” he barked. “Stop it.”

Nice guy, huh? It’s also notable because the source for this anecdote is Emanuel’s brother.