Mr. Emanuel, an Obama friend from Chicago's insular political world, brings to the post a hard-charging, sometimes profane voice that contrasts sharply with Mr. Obama's unflappable demeanor. He spent much of the Clinton administration inside the White House political office, shaping message and policy with a keen eye on its electoral impact.
I think this will prove to be a really good pick. Obama needs someone who is not afraid to get bloodied and draw a little blood. The 133m people who voted in this election ( ~ 67m for Obama ) are expecting big things. Obama has been right to tamp down expectations, but he's also got to make some quick progress when he gets there. Obama will also need to navigate an inflated Democratic majority in both chambers, as well as deal with GOP opposition on major policy priorities like health care reform and environmental protection. Emanuel's experience in the House leadership should prove rather valuable in that regard.
Some are saying that Emanuel is an ironic pick for a president-elect who ran on a message of post-partisanship. They have a point. But while Emanuel has a reputation for no-holds-barred politics, his boss does not. And Emanuel will be taking direction from Obama, not the other way around. The two will balance each other quite nicely. Emanuel will be perfect for the demands of this job: serving as muscle for his boss's agenda.
Plus, it doesn't hurt that this only strengthens the West Wing analogy: Rahm = Josh Lyman.
Obama Pick for Chief of Staff Criticized as Partisan Voice - WSJ.com