Emanuel: ‘Bill Clinton Moment’ Needed

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, left, is greeted by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, during the Clinton Global Initiative CGI America meeting in Chicago on June 13, 2013.

The Republican Party has “been take over by a fringe” and needs a “Bill Clinton moment,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says.

Emanuel, a former Democratic congressman,  chief of staff to President Barack Obama and veteran of the Clinton White House, was referring to Clinton changing the direction of the Democratic Party in 1992 and winning the White House after three straight losses. Republicans are simply opposing everything Obama and the Democrats propose, he says.

“There’s a reason you call it a loyal opposition,” Emanuel said today during a Bloomberg Link conference in Washington, D.C. “They’ve lost the loyalty part. They’re an opposing party without opposing ideas.”

Emanuel compared the effort to approve the $800 billion bailout of the financial system in 2008 to Tea Party-fueled attempts to oppose increasing the federal debt ceiling.

“It’s good to have political differences and debate,” Emanuel said. “But it’s not OK to put the country at risk. That’s why the Republican Party needs a Bill Clinton moment to really shake out and deal with how to what I believe be a new Republican Party, the same way that Democrats became new Democrats.”

Emanuel also criticized the congressional redistricting process, saying that while he was a part of helping build Democratic majorities, technology has allowed elected officials to redraw favorable district boundaries and “pick their voters” instead of the other way around.

“We’ve turned the system upside down,” he said, “so it’s not an accident the system is broken.”

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