"Foul," cry progressive bloggers who convinced themselves that Obama would undertake a vast progressive agenda and see Rahm Emanuel's centrist Democratic past as an impediment to the big leftward swing and his insider status as an abandonment of the big "change" meme. "Hypocrite," screeched right-wingers attempting to throw Obama's healing message of bipartisanship back in his face by referring to Emanuel's taste for political warfare.
Both complaints miss the point.
For one, Obama does not come to the Presidency borne upon a platform of greater liberalism; he's a fairly conventional center-left politician in terms of policy. He rises on a rare combination of temperament and talent and judgment, not ideology. Many liberals admired the former and somehow intuited the latter, based upon nothing but their own hopes and dreams. Obama is a progressive, but he lives around the center. His choice of Rahmbo as chief of staff is clearly aimed not at Emanuel's own centrist political ideals, but at his ability to get things done.
And that means getting things done on Capitol Hill - and not by changing the minds of Republicans, but by keeping Democrats in line. Rahm Emanuel's job is not to turn red state reps blue, but to whip the Democrats into a tightly-disciplined tool of Obama's center-left policy. To put it bluntly, his job is put some spine in Reid and Pelosi on President Obama's behalf...
...If Rahm Emanuel has to break a few congressional heads to get it done on behalf of President Obama, well - that's the Chicago way.
And I'm all for it.
Read the rest of TW's post here.
Also, I liked this from Roy at Alicublog:
Matthew Yglesias observes that the cry of "he must govern from the middle" is already going up. But these people don't know where the middle is. The government owns a majority interest in several heretofore private banks, is embroiled in foreign adventures for which it cannot pay, and, from the looks of the various referenda results, is riven with significant cultural divisions. It looks more like Lord North's Britain than what we usually think of as America. The new President is better advised to seek solutions rather than some mythical center line to toe.
Have a look at the prominent conservative thinkers who are working on a conservative "game plan", trimming like little Clintons in search of the Joe the Plumber vote that brought John McCain all the way to 163 electoral votes. They're looking for the middle because they have nothing else to do. It's a fittingly harmless occupation for people who are not going to be making policy anytime soon.