The Emanuel Myth

In the pages of the same newspaper that has promulgated a recent stir of Rahm Emanuel intrigue, columnist David Broder today beats back at some of the implications of his colleagues, Dana Milbank and Jason Horowitz, in their recent well-read pieces on the chief of staff.

His point: all the questions over whether President Obama should listen more to Rahm have probably been planted by some of Emanuel's buddies in Congress--though it is not suspected that Emanuel himself has been leaking accounts to the press:

None of this would rise above the level of petty Washington gossip except that some of Emanuel's friends are so eager to exonerate him that they are threatening to undermine the president. Milbank, presumably reflecting what he hears, calls Obama "airy and idealistic" and says he readily succumbs to "bullying" from Republicans and Democrats alike. I hope the mullahs in Iran don't believe this.

This is a point Marc argued, originally, in reaction to Milbank's column that started the recent Emanuel buzz: that these stories were the result of pro-Emanuel leaks, probably from his allies and not the chief of staff himself, and that the Post's writers have taken those leaks a step too far--verging into full-on pro-Rahm analysis.

A question Marc raised--and one that Broder deals with--is whether all this talk is an entree to Emanuel stepping down as chief of staff.

If it is a product, as Broder suggests, of Emanuel venting frustrations to some of his pals, rather than an orchestrated leak, one has to think it's not. An Emanuel resignation would certainly satisfy liberals, but now that there's an impression that Obama hasn't listened to his chief of staff on big tactical maneuvers, parting ways with Rahm wouldn't allow the White House to disown any of its politics up to this point.