News that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley would not run for reelection produced almost instantaneous speculation that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, not shy about his ambitions to be Chicago's mayor, would make a run for the post.
It also quickly produced the reflexive Rahm-bashing that has become a staple of the progressive community, which increasingly views him as the point person for the ills that have beset this White House.
"Rahm is unfit to represent Democrats in office," Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green said. "He's a cancer on the Democratic Party. Democrats' current 2010 situation is due to a weak Rahm Emanuel mentality that says water down real reform at the urging of Republicans and corporations, thus making Democratic reform less popular with voters than the real deal would have been. If Democrats had passed the overwhelmingly-popular public option and broken up the big banks when they had the chance, they'd be cruising for a landslide victory right now."
Over at Slate, Dave Weigel makes the argument that the PCCC statement is primarily a fundraising venture. And, indeed, Green's first push was a petition, already signed on its release by more than 1,700 people pledging not to support Emanuel for any run for political office.
But the crux of Rahm-hatred is not simply institutional benefit. There is a genuine sense that the White House Chief of Staff took the euphoria of the Obama brand and whittled it down into something more compromised and corporate. With that in mind, it would seem to make sense for the PCCC to cheer Emanuel's departure from the administration, not to lash out against a move to Chicago.
Wouldn't Emanuel leaving the White House fit the PCCC's larger objective? "Yep," Green replied. But, he added, "He should flatly go away. No golden parachute..."