Emanuel and Schumer at the helm


By Howard Fineman

Campaigns are sailboats. You build them and rig them to catch whatever wind comes up. This year, the Democrats had the best team of boat builders their congressional party has seen in decades: Rep. Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Chuck Schumer. The Democrats’ successes on Election Day — and there will be many — will be due in large part to this pair of intense, detail-obsessed and well-connected strivers from Chicago and New York, respectively. “Rahm” is a one-word Washington synonym for action; “Schume,” as the tabloid headline writers sometimes call him, for shrewd authority.

Preparation is everything, in their view…

… The two men together represent the next stage in the nationalization of congressional campaigning. Tip O’ Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” Twenty-five years ago, when he made that proclamation, congressional campaigns still were largely built from-the-ground-up. No more. Both men plunged unabashedly into the work of picking candidates, using money as a lure and a weapon, encouraging the reluctant to run, telling the problematic “forget it.”


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