I can applaud the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as the President-elect's chief of staff because it's evidence of Obama's executive skill. You get the meanest sumbitch you know to make sure the trains run on time. It's not that you necessarily WANT the meanest sumbitch (that's just icing on the cake, far as I'm concerned); it's because Emanuel has a proven track record of getting stuff done.
But we haven't forgotten how wrong Rahm Emanuel was back in the spring of 2006 when he got into a shouting match with Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean over how best to run the fall races that year. The meanest sumbitch in the Democratic Congressional caucus met his match in Howard Dean, who had taken over the DNC in 2005 with the express intention of launching a 50-state strategy.
Dean was right. Emanuel was wrong. Dean, in fact, deserves no small credit for what just happened last Tuesday. Without Howard Dean's change of direction from the Clinton-era tactic of triangulation and targeted spending (a.k.a., giving up on over half the land-mass of North America), Barack Obama would never have won North Carolina. Nor probably Virginia. Nor Indiana. I won't go on, though I could.
We have no quarrel with Emanuel's hard-nosed effectiveness and don't even blame him for flaming out with Dean over a difference of opinion. We're just glad he's going to be in the White House to take orders from Obama. Someone said on TV last night that Obama seems to be a "born executive leader," and having a dependable hit-man is what every born executive needs for Christmas.