Finally, President Obama has decided to change the tone of the West Wing. Rahm Emanuel, whom we predicted last December would leave before the end of the year, has been sent packing back to Chicago. His leadership for the White House saw a bewildering loss of political capital, an alienation of the party base and deadlock with the Republicans.
Not all can be laid at the feet of Mr. Emanuel. But when you have a reform-minded president determined to break new ground in the manner Mr. Obama was, you need a conciliating and stabilizing influence in the West Wing, not a confrontational, profane street fighter. Mr. Emanuel was the wrong man for the job. It may or may not have been his fault. It was Mr. Obama’s choice. He will not get another chance to make it right if it is a second underperforming and uninspired choice that he selects to lead the staff of the White House. Only the president will be left to blame and it will be too late then to make much of a difference.