I've heard two superficially plausible and, I think, completely contradictory narratives of what the Rahm Emmanuel appointment means.  One:  that Barack Obama is taking his administration in a more pragmatic, less ideological direction.  Two:  that Barack Obama is looking for a hatchet man to beat the snot out of the Republicans.  Which is true?  I'm not enough of an insider to even hazard a guess.  But it's interesting how the same piece of information can plausibly tell two utterly different stories.