White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recently took a shot at The Brookings Institution, suggesting it didn't live in the political real world. He probably didn't expect the esteemed think tank to respond.
"Let's be honest," Emanuel said in an interview with the New York Times on health care reform costs. "The goal isn't to see whether I can pass this through the executive board of the Brookings Institution. I'm passing it through the United States Congress with people who represent constituents."
William Galston, the institution's senior fellow, sent a pretty harsh response:
It may surprise you to learn that many of us here at Brookings like politics as much as you do, and some of us even know something about it. But we don't understand it exactly the way you do.
Yes, politics is the art of the possible. But leadership is the art of expanding the possible. Leadership without politics is futile. But politics without leadership is blind.
Galston ends the letter, posted on The New Republic, by identifying himself as being associated with "The infamous den of useless utopian thinking known as the Brookings Institution."