A thumpin’

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Speak­ing of James Carville, we were happy to see Illi­nois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chair­man of the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee (DCCC), show up for a re­cent party at the Demo­cratic oper­a­tive’s town house in Old Town.

Af­ter all, the very first pages of the just-re­leased book, “The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruth­less and Ended the Repub­li­can Revo­lu­tion” — by Naf­tali Ben­david, deputy bureau chief of the Chicago Tri­bune — re­veal how Mr. Carville and Mr. Emanuel were at each other’s throats dur­ing the fi­nal stages of the 2006 midterm elec­tions.

Long­time friends, the two were “fre­quently fight­ing,” Mr. Ben­david writes. “Carville would tell Emanuel that the Democrats would fail — ‘It doesn’t look so good out there,’ he’d say.”

“He’s driv­ing me crazy,” Mr. Carville ad­mit­ted to the au­thor. “I’m prob­a­bly driv­ing him crazy.”

When Mr. Carville kept in­sist­ing that Mr. Emanuel change the DCCC’s cam­paign strat­egy, “any tone of ca­ma­raderie evap­o­rated,” the au­thor states.

“Fi­nally, Emanuel’s en­tire body tensed and he ex­ploded at Carville, ‘James — No, James, you lis­ten. Can you lis­ten for one [ex­ple­tive] minute?’ ” Mr. Emanuel shouted. “Un­daunted, Carville kept in­ter­rupt­ing.”

Mr. Ben­david, who had exclusive ac­cess to Mr. Emanuel for more than a year lead­ing up the Novem­ber 2006 elec­tions, says other crit­ics, in­clud­ing Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Howard Dean, were “telling Emanuel he had to take their ad­vice or the Democrats would blow their best chance in a gen­er­a­tion.”

But the feisty con­gress­man, a for­mer Clin­ton White House aide who, dur­ing the cam­paign­ing “was un­able to get through a sin­gle sen­tence with­out sev­eral ob­scen­i­ties,” ig­nored friends and foes alike. And come Elec­tion Day, he de­liv­ered Democrats one of their great­est elec­tion vic­to­ries in his­tory — or what Pres­i­dent Bush called “a thumpin.’ ”

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