Sometimes, when I bring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel with conservative friends, they say they want him to stay on because his presence in the president’s office serves to sharpen the distinctions between the parties.Â His partisanship sets him apart from the mainstream of America and the unifying message of Obama’s fall campaign.
Democratic partisans like him because he is an unapologetic champion of their side and critic of ours.Â With Rahm by his side, the president will continue to steer a left-wing course, pandering to the various liberal groups eager for additional federal handouts and hoping to influence federal policy.
But, if the president replaces Emanuel with a less partisan Democrat adept at Administration and respectful of Republicans, say like former Clinton White Hous Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, he would stand a greater chance of uniting the country and succeeding as president.
The simple question is whether or not the president sees his partisan affiliation as incidental to his Administration or as its defining aspect.Â In the campaign, he made it sound like the former.Â In the past two and one-half months, he made it seem the latter.
Replacing Rahm Emanuel, a hyperpartisan gunslinger, with a dispassionate administrator, even one, like Panetta, committed to Democratic ideals, would help the president fulfill the promise of his campaign and would put my party on the spot, making it far more difficult for Republican leaders to be confrontational.
With Rahm on the job, however, we have only the promise of a confrontational policy and increased partisan warfare.Â And that’s not good for this great nation.