Rahm Emmanuel is Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Japan. This is an odd choice. They don’t come much less diplomatic than Emmanuel, and the Chicago gut puncher seems particularly ill-suited to represent us in Japan, a country that is ritualistically polite.
However, presidents should have the ambassadors of their choice, barring exceptional circumstances. I see no circumstances that should preclude Emmanuel’s confirmation.
The Democratic left sees some, though. The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crowd considers Emmanuel’s selection outrageous. The New York congresswoman stated:
This nomination is deeply shameful. As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald — a mere teenager when he was shot 16 times in the back by a Chicago police officer.
Two other squad wannabes, including Cori “Campout” Bush, added:
As Black Americans, we find the Biden Administration’s decision to nominate [Emmanuel] not only professionally and politically indefensible, but personally offensive.
Fortunately for Emmanuel, it is the Senate, not the House, that will decide whether he’ll be confirmed. So far, no Senate Democrat has spoken out against the nomination.
Cory Booker and Raphael Warnock, two leaders of the police demonization movement, have been silent. Only Jeff Markley has had anything mildly negative to say about the selection of Emmanuel, and he has confined himself to noting that some Oregonians have a problem with the former Chicago mayor’s response to the shooting of McDonald.
Yeah, and some Oregonians get their kicks from attacking police stations.
The absence of on-the-record criticism of the Emmanuel nomination doesn’t mean that leftwing Senators are pleased by it. A Democrat Senate staffer told the Washington Post that a half-dozen Democratic senators would like to give Emanuel “some heartache,” but might not want to embarrass Biden.
That sounds right if we change “might not” to “probably won’t.”
Emmanuel can also take comfort from the fact that he has support from some Senate Republicans. Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Roy Blunt reportedly have said they will vote to confirm. It seems likely that Lisa Murkowski will, as well. Other Republicans may join them.
Thus, even if a few Dems vote against Emmanuel, and it’s far from clear that any will, he will very likely be confirmed.
I want to conclude with a few words about Chuck Schumer. The Post reports that he has been silent about the Emmanuel nomination so far. It also notes that Schumer “is up for reelection next year in a liberal state where Ocasio-Cortez has not ruled out a primary challenge to him.”
My view, for what it’s worth, is that Schumer has nothing to fear from a challenge by Ocasio-Cortez. For all the money she could raise, and the sum might be record breaking, my sense is that Schumer would trounce her. He might do so even in New York City where pro-cop candidate Eric Adams won the Democratic mayoral primary earlier this year.
If Ocasio-Cortez has any political sense, she’ll keep her platform in the House unless she’s already tired of being a legislator.