A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s network television appearance as a surrogate for John McCain. For me, it was an opportunity to size up Pawlenty as a potential vice presidential pick for the Republican ticket. I noted at the time that Pawlenty had the misfortune of being paired with Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Emanuel’s trademark combative style made Pawlenty seem passive by comparison, which ultimately didn’t further his case for the number two spot.
Today, Politico runs an interesting piece speculating on what the future might hold for Congressman Emanuel. A rising star after his virtuoso performance as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 midterm elections, Emanuel could be in line for appointment to Barack Obama’s Illinois Senate seat, should Obama win in November. But the article suggests that Emanuel is much more interested in ascending to Speaker of the House sometime in the next ten years.
This strikes me as a plausible scenario, although it would be difficult for Emanuel to turn down the Senate seat, should Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich seek to appoint him to serve out Obama’s term. Unlike Obama, Emanuel is a creature of the Washington political scene, so I don’t see any great interest for him in returning home to run for governor at some point in the future. Also, his legislative style is well-suited for the rough and tumble political environment of the House of Representatives. So perhaps this would indeed be one of those rare cases when a politician declines to have his ticket punched to the Senate. In any event, Emanuel will certainly be someone to watch over the next decade.
Post your comment below.