White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel spent years crafting a reputation as ruthless foul-mouthed cutthroat by sending people dead fish. But today the Washington Post says he's become "more valet than hitman." Ouch.
It is curious that the Post couldn't land a single Republican to complain about Emanuel and his heavy-handed tactics. And it may actually undermine the story's point somewhat—if the GOP is too scared to offer routine criticism of the president's right-hand man for a newspaper profile, then clearly his vengeful habits haven't been completely exorcised. He's just become more discreet. And he's probably thrilled to have the Post calling him a namby-pamby valet. It's an information operation! The guy is that good.
But as the Post puts it, "Rahmbo" has taken a more conciliatory tack than many expected in corralling lawmakers to advance the Obama agenda. He was supposed to be a shiv-wielding maniac, but the Post takes a look at how he's actually been going about his job and found a polite, thoughtful, accommodating young man.
Republicans Peter King and Olympia Snowe stepped forward to sing Emanuel's praises—"He always takes my calls," Snowe said—and the Post couldn't find a single GOPer to badmouth him. The only critical quote is from Newt Gingrich, from the Today show last month, comparing Emanuel to H.R. Haldeman.
He's taken to sending batches of cookies to lawmakers to get them through late-night legislative sessions, and even lets a pussy like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid push him around:
During a recent Senate debate, Reid asked Emanuel to lean on three Democratic holdouts. When Emanuel reported back with a single convert, Reid chastised him that "batting .333 isn't good enough for the major leagues" of Congress. Emanuel responded with a string of expletives but tried again and produced a second vote.
The old Rahm would have pushed Reid's eyeballs out with his thumbs for saying something like that.