OCTOBER 2009 GALACTIC PROFILE
by Alex Miller
“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste. They are opportunities to do big things.” —Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff for the Obama Administration, has kept a fairly low profile during this first year in office, but his reputation as a combative, controversial partisan inclines one to believe this won’t last for long.
Born 29 November 1959 in Chicago to a Jewish family with a strong Zionist background, Emanuel comes by his combativeness naturally. The family name of Auerbach was changed to “Emanuel” in the late ‘30s in honor of an ancestor, Emanuel Auerbach, who died in a skirmish with Arabs in Jerusalem in the early twentieth century. Rahm’s father Benjamin is a pediatrician, and his mother Martha, herself daughter of a Chicago union organizer, is a psychiatric social worker. One brother is an oncologist and bioethicist, another a Hollywood talent agent.
Emanuel graduated from New Trier West High School in Chicago, spending summers in camp in Israel. His mother insisted on ballet lessons to balance the testosterone; Emanuel excelled at the discipline and was offered a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet, but opted instead for a liberal arts education at Sarah Lawrence College. After graduation in 1981 he gained his Masters in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.
His career as a political staffer began in college, when in 1984 he worked for Paul Simon’s (D-IL) successful Senate campaign, followed by a stint with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1988. He then served as chief fundraiser and senior advisor for Richard M. Daley’s mayoral run in Chicago in 1989. Emanuel signed on early to the Clinton presidential campaign, directing its fundraising operations, and it was his insistence on an early focus on national fundraising which many credit with knocking rival Paul Tsongas, who withdrew for lack of funds after beating Clinton in New Hampshire, out of the race. Following Clinton’s election in 1992, Emanuel was made a senior White House advisor, a post he held until 1998, when he resigned to pursue a career in investment banking which netted him $16.2 million in just two years.
Appointed by an outgoing Clinton to the Board of Directors of the federal mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac in 2000, Emanuel resigned this position in 2001 to prepare for his own congressional run. Illinois’ 5th District seat was being vacated by Rod Blagojevich, who went on to mount a successful campaign for governor. Emanuel bested other contenders with more political experience to gain the nomination, overcoming charges by rivals that he was a millionaire carpetbagger.
Easily winning that November’s general election in bluest-of-blue Chicago in 2002, Emanuel was named to the House Financial Services Committee, and in 2005 became chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the chief fundraising apparatus of House Democrats nationally. His strategy for the 2006 Democratic take-over of Congress, focusing on targeting specific districts, conflicted with Party Chair Howard Dean’s “fifty state strategy,” which was ultimately adopted and proved successful, with Democrats gaining 30 seats in the House and wresting control from Republicans after 12 years in the minority. Emanuel was considered instrumental in this victory regardless, for his careful recruitment of superior candidates and acknowledged mastery of fundraising.
Emanuel’s reward for his hard work in helping Democrats regain control of the House might have been the post of Majority Whip, but newly elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi persuaded him not to challenge South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, senior candidate for the position, accepting instead the job of Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, fourth ranking position in the Party hierarchy. A reliable liberal vote on social issues, Emanuel supported the Iraq War, as a staunch proponent of Israel, and assisted the Bush Administration in passing its budgetary requests related to the war after the Republicans lost the House.
Known as a bitter partisan of Democratic candidates and office holders, Emanuel has acquired the nickname “Rahm-bo” for his no-holds-barred style of political persuasion. He once mailed a dead fish to a pollster who had angered him, and after Clinton’s re-election in 1996, Emanuel punctuated his speech at a celebratory dinner by repeatedly stabbing a steak knife into the table while listing the names of those he felt had betrayed the president, uttering “Dead!” after each thrust.
His loyalty to the Clintons caused him to signal his support for Hillary’s 2008 presidential run as early as April 2006, but fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama’s entry into the race in January 2007 caused Emanuel pause. In his own words, “I'm hiding under the desk. I'm very far under the desk, and I'm bringing my paper and my phone.” Emanuel remained neutral until after the final primary on June 3, when he announced he would support Obama.
One of Obama’s first appointments after winning the November 4, 2008 election was that of Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff, which Emanuel accepted on November 6. Emanuel resigned the House seat he had just won re-election to, and focused on filling staff positions for the new administration. If, as rumored, Obama chose Emanuel as a practical liaison between the White House and the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, someone who could keep the House Democrats in line with administration policy goals, the choice must seem a disappointment so far. Lack of coordinated response between the two entities has been a crucial feature of the emerging debacle of the healthcare debate, and this central pillar of the Obama Administration may well go down to defeat because of this non-cohesion.
Born 29 November 1959, Rahm Emanuel’s nativity shows a vital Scorpio stellium which is the undoubted source of his reputation as a hard-nosed power player who takes no prisoners. Neptune at 7 Scorpio, conjunct a Black Hole at 6 Scorpio, leads the show, with the Moon also in Scorpio and a close conjunction of Mercury and Mars at 25 and 26 Scorpio, conjoined a Quasar at 27 Scorpio, rounding out the sign.
Mercury/Mars describes the rather passionate nature of Emanuel’s discourse and the verbal combativeness for which he is noted; in Scorpio, there is a special sting to his words that others dread, and the Quasar contact ensures that it is one of the most prominent and notable things about him, a highlighted feature of his character. An impassioned (Mars) advocate (Mercury), the square from Chiron at 23 Aquarius inclines Emanuel to take things to heart, feeling personally wounded or betrayed when others do not follow through with their support of those he endorses. Mercury/Mars is also squared by Uranus at 21 Leo retrograde, lending a quality of rashness or unpredictability to his explosive outbursts. Asteroid Chicago at 26 Scorpio exactly conjoins Mars, depicting the venue where Emanuel cut his political teeth and learned how to street fight, a town noted for its rough politics.
The Sun at 6 Sagittarius conjoins the Black Hole at 5 Sagittarius and is exactly squared by Pluto at 6 Virgo, itself exactly atop another Black Hole. Any Sun/Pluto square inclines the native toward increasing personal power, not always by the most open and obvious means, but one with double Black Hole contacts can be truly obsessive about increasing its power base, manipulative and controlling, and none too squeamish about the means it uses to attain its ends. In general, Black Hole Sun natives are compelling and magnetic, with a chameleon-like ability to adapt to their current surroundings and fit into any given situation, sometimes almost invisibly. They often “remake” themselves at intervals, adopting a new persona or taking a dramatic new direction, much as when Emanuel made his sudden shift from political operative to financial advisor. But for Emanuel, with the Pluto square exerting its pull, the attraction to power, as opposed to mere high finance, brought him back to his roots, this time in a more public position, first as House Representative and now White House Chief of Staff, a position conferring Cabinet status.
Pluto also trines Saturn at 5 Capricorn, itself conjunct another Black Hole at 4 Capricorn. Saturn/Black Hole is the signature of one who funnels a great deal of energy into his career, and often prefers to be the unseen power behind the throne, the one pulling the strings and setting the agenda, while others present and enforce the policies he originates or promotes. Pluto aspecting Saturn has much the same flavor, of one attracted to the levers of power without necessarily wishing to be seen manipulating them. Natal Saturn is also broadly conjoined both asteroid House, for the House of Representatives, at 14 Capricorn, and asteroid Barry (the name by which Barack Obama was known in youth) at 28 Sagittarius, these two aptly describing the most well-known and high profile jobs of Emanuel’s career.
Jupiter at 11 Sagittarius conjoins the 6 Sagittarius Sun, another indicator of the attraction of politics for Emanuel, and his tendency to take politics very personally. From this degree Jupiter activates a Galactic Grand Trine composed of Black Holes at 9 Sagittarius and Leo, and the Quasar at 10 Aries, a powerful engine driving his ambition (Jupiter), capable of opening doors and providing unexpected opportunities (Black Holes), and virtually guaranteeing success and accomplishment (Quasar).
Venus at 20 Libra is squared the Black Hole at 19 Capricorn, emblematic of Emanuel’s financial wizardry and gift for fundraising. He is adept at amassing large amounts of capital, for himself (as witness his windfall profits from his short stint in investment banking) or others. Venus’ conjunction with asteroid Washingtonia at 26 Libra indicates the primary venue for these talents as the nation’s capital; in tight semisquare to the Sun, it denotes personal charm and the degree to which Emanuel’s success depends upon his direct involvement.
Emanuel’s Sun and Jupiter fall in Obama’s Tenth House, giving a boost to his employer’s career. The Mercury/Mars conjunction closely conjoins Obama’s Quasar Midheaven at 28 Scorpio from the Ninth House, suggesting Emanuel is a driving force (Mars) in executive or high profile (Midheaven) decisions (Mercury) and policy making (Ninth House) at the White House. Asteroid Emanuela, for Emanuel, at 26 Scorpio in Obama’s chart, tightly squares his 25 Leo Uranus and sextiles the 25 Capricorn Saturn. Also squared to asteroid Chicago at 24 Aquarius, these form a T-Square that defines Obama’s power base, the town of his political roots and the fellow Chicagoan who is his chief administrative prop.
The recent Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction at 26 Aquarius squared Emanuel’s natal Mercury/Mars conjunction, perhaps softening his edge at just the time when some political backbone is apparently what the White House sorely lacks. The muddled (Neptune) politics (Jupiter) of the administration’s approach to the healthcare (Chiron) crisis has been atypical of Emanuel’s normally forceful (Mars) pronouncements (Mercury), suggesting he may be too caught up in administrative detail to contribute to overall policy implementation, or the marshaling of the administration’s wavering congressional allies. As of late July, less than half of the senior policymaking positions needing Senate confirmation had been filled, indicating that Emanuel still has a very full plate of set-up responsibilities, more than six months after the administration took office. As the administration matures, we’re likely to see more of Emanuel, and more of that temper which defines his public image.
Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org.