Jon Chait on yesterday’s infuriating Rahm Emanuel healthcare story:
I see two potential explanations. Either Obama doesn’t know what he wants to do, and his deputies are spreading conflicting stories in order to see what takes, in which case he needs to make up his mind pronto. Or else he wants to do what he says he wants to do, but his chief of staff is out there subverting his agenda and making Congress doubt his seriousness, in which case Obama needs to shut up Emanuel or fire him.
I can’t imagine that the president would go on national television for the State of the Union and urge Congress not to “run for the hills” — a major line in the address — and then sanction Rahm Emanuel to basically suggest that the White House is running for the hills. This leads me to believe that Rahm either misspoke or he was merely relating one possible option. But it doesn’t matter. The chief of staff is a weak link, and this is a perfect example. Unacceptable.