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October 4, 2010

Rahm and the Hard Sell

John Gress/Getty Images North America
John Gress/Getty Images North America

We can shake hands if you want to, but you’ve got me in a spot here.

…Frankly, it’s the best picture I’ve seen so far of Rahm’s management style and his  stylistic effect on the White House over the past two years.

Out of the whole slide show, the expression in #6, 7 and 9 (far right) are also interesting.

(caption: Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (R) shakes hands as he campaigns for Chicago Mayor at an ‘L’ station October 4, 2010 Chicago, Illinois. Emanuel resigned from his White House position October 1, in order to run for mayor of Chicago.)

  • matt

    perhaps a bit arcane…

    the big red lettering on the woman’s shopping bag looks like the hebrew letter “hay,” which brings to the jewish mind a few notes:

    1 – the letter “hay” is used as a definite article (“the”) when placed in front of any word.

    could it be that emanuel may have a bit of a challenge defining himself and his brand in chicago politics? “the ________”

    2 – in the jewish mystical tradition of kabbalah, each letter of the alphabet was assigned a numerical value, then used for exegesis of liturgical and biblical texts. this is called “gematria.” (see the darren aronofsky movie “pi” for an excellent explanation.) the gematria value of the letter “hay” is 5.

    emanuel’s famous missing half-digit hovers in his outstretched hand right above the “hay” in the photo. four and half fingers? might he “come up short” in his next political endeavor?

    3 – jews often substitute the letter “hay” for god’s name, which is composed of four letters that straddle the vowel/consonant division, including two “hays.” since the pronunciation of this combination of letters is ambiguous, jews substitute other words when reading it aloud to guard against a mispronunciation. ‘yaweh” and ‘jehovah’ are examples of attempts at pronunciations; both are shunned in the jewish community. (jews on the more observant, orthodox end of the spectrum won’t even write a “hay” to signify the four-letter name of god, choosing instead to substitute another letter “kuf” to avoid even the chance that the written reference to god may be destroyed or thrown away.)

    i’ve already seen a few articles in chicago and israeli papers discussing the work emanuel may have to do to secure support in elements of the chicago jewish community who have been upset by some view as the obama administration’s pressure on israel and overtures to iran.


    i’m sure others will focus more on the camera’s in the background or the black/white dynamics of this photo. but that’s what jumped out at me today.

  • KO

    Sheesh. He’s got his work cut out for him.

  • Stan B.

    How many times in her life will she have to dance with the devil just to get by…

    • AJ

      Great comment – that’s exactly what I picked up on as well. She has no choice, all those cameras; she’s trapped. She has to put her hand in motion to meet his. She probably needed a shower afterward – I would have.

    • cmac

      Why? Is this the new bandwagon – hate Rahm?

      Honestly, I don’t get it.

  • ggibber

    Looks like he’s offering her the “shocker”.


  • Michael Shaw


    It’s a pretty graphic association you offer at Rahm’s expense because of the missing part of his digit. At the same time, though, it’s exactly what I’m talking about in that Rahm, even if he’s trying his best to reach out, still has the effect of being (socially) assaultive.

    I’m hoping other readers will weigh in on this photo, too, because, as matt alluded briefly above, there is so much going on here.

  • psychohistorian

    The first thing I saw in the picture was the womans’ eyes and expression of distrust bordering on contempt. Then I noticed that Rahms’ posture looks like a salesman of some faith based product with that little cock of the head.

    The selling of a sociopath by the morally and ethically vacuous of Madison Avenue and their enablers. All it takes is money as evidenced by the Grayson race in Florida. America is a very sick and polarized society with sociopaths in control…..this will not end well, but will hopefully end soon.

  • thirdeye pushpin

    the pen in the left hand…what policies will this man write. Would you buy a used car from him with his body language?

  • Michael Shaw

    Ahh, the pen! Great pick-up, thirdeye. Having studied the picture, I had seen it with my 3rd eye, but still, I didn’t see it. The pen’s loading, if you look at the whole slideshow, is to essentially reinforce Rahm’s celebrity status and the fact — these citizen’s being SO lucky to have such a political rockstar running for mayor — that he could pop off the cap at any moment to autograph your (city issued) shirtsleeve!

    • black dog barking

      Bob Dole, old school Republican, often carried a pen in his paralyzed right hand. Wiki says it was to signal that he couldn’t shake hands with his right. I always thought it made the hand look less useless, a sort of camouflage by accessory.

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