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Rahm Emanuel recalls that, as a White House aide early in the Clinton administration, he and others compiled a joke binder, full of real and imagined inducements--battleships, bridges, buildings, whatever--that could be offered to members of Congress in exchange for their support of Clinton's effort to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement. They titled it "1-800-NAFTA ('Cause you hafta)," and when he showed it to Clinton in a meeting one day, the president roared with laughter but ordered it destroyed, lest it fall into unfriendly hands or leak to the press. In the health-care debate, Emanuel notes, everybody was asking for Obama "to become Lyndon Johnson" and twist arms. "If we ever did even attempt to do a third of what Lyndon Johnson did--or Ronald Reagan, or Bill Clinton--we couldn't do it." Indeed, Emanuel says, such efforts would probably have prompted not just unflattering stories but a special prosecutor.


By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 02:05:10 PM EST
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