Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Did Rahm Emanuel Block Howard Dean From A Cabinet Post?

Was Howard Dean cockblocked by Rahm? By now you probably know that former Governor Howard Dean -- author of the successful 50 state strategy -- has been tapped to become a CNBC contributor. From Politico:

"Howard Dean, who joined CNBC today as a contributor, is staying out of the network’s recent battle with 'The Daily Show.'

"'I’m going to be neutral between Jon Stewart -- who I’m enormously fond of -- and Cramer,” Dean told POLITICO this afternoon.

"While familiar Stewart’s criticism -- which he called 'healthy' for the media -- Dean said he didn’t watch the infamous Cramer sit-down. And Dean, by his account, started talking to CNBC about a month ago, well before the recent brouhaha.

"After appearing on CNBC from the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Dean was told he might be good a as a network contributor. Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist and former DNC communications director, helped move things along.

"This morning, Dean appeared on 'Squawk Box,' where the news was announced.

"Under his CNBC deal, Dean can appear on NBC networks or the broadcast networks, but needs permission to go on the cable news channels.

"Having once worked on Wall Street, but more recently being DNC chairman, Dean said that CNBC will bring him on for a variety of issues, but there's no set number of appearances.

"'I like CNBC because I can offer them a different perspective that they would find useful,' Dean said."

Spoken like a true New Englander. "Usefulness," like "gumption" -- which Dean also has in abundance -- are the right components for public spiritedness. That having been said, wouldn't Howard Dean have been more "useful," as, say, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Dean is a former medical doctor as well as former Governor) that as a cable newser and talking head?

The answer as to why Dean is on cable and not in Obama's cabinet is, quite possibly Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff, a man who did not play well with Rahm Emanuel during the Congressional elections of 2006. From last week's The Boston Globe, which clearly caught the attention of the suits at CNBC:

"In January, when Obama visited party headquarters to present his pick for chairman, Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, Dean was not invited and received only a perfunctory tribute from the incoming president. Instead, Dean went to American Samoa, the last stop on a pledged tour of every state and territory as part of his '50-state strategy.'

"Dean's strategy was dismissed by many Democratic leaders, including then-Representative Rahm Emanuel, now Obama's chief of staff. But it clearly bore fruit for the president.

"'Everybody likes to think they did it all by themselves,' Dean said in an interview. 'I don't believe in the great-man theory of history. You really have to see change as a continuum. It doesn't come in packets, it comes in waves.'

".. Although Dean made clear he was interested in serving in Obama's Cabinet, he acknowledged shortly after the election that internal forces - including Emanuel's appointment as chief of staff - could thwart his bid, according to one of his brothers.

"'He totally got Obama's situation,' said Jim Dean, who chairs Democracy for America, the political action committee that grew out of the 2004 campaign. 'He understood he was not going to be entitled to anything.'

"Now, for the first time since he became governor in 1991, Dean is not figurehead of a state, campaign, or party. The renegade no longer has to play organization man.'"

What is good for the suits at CNBC, who read this article, is the loss for Obama, HHS and, alas, this country.

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