I'm not an Emanuel fan, as it happens. In most of my reporting, he was not particularly pleased with doing a big health-care reform bill in the first place, and at multiple steps along the way, he's argued for scaling it back dramatically. But his personal opinions aside, I'm not sure what else he could've done in shepherding the bill through the process. And if Martha Coakley hadn't insisted on mocking Red Sox fans, health-care reform might well have been signed by now and the White House would've pivoted to a more populist argument about jobs and banks while being able to brag about the largest legislative achievement since Lyndon Johnson.So, "bad luck" explains the series of problems -- not the administration's top political strategist. For contrary opinions, including my own, see: Democrats Offer Scathing Criticism of Obama's Senior Staff.
Bad luck has left them in a very different place than that, and a lot of people want someone to blame. But given the precise contours of Emanuel's job -- keep the White House running smoothly and help craft its strategy with Congress -- I'm not convinced that he's the right guy. What's clearly the case is that his strategy stopped being suited for the circumstances the day Scott Brown won the election. But after a week of readjustment, the White House seems to be doing what it can to take control of the process, and I'd say it's too early to tell whether its new approach will work.
Earlier this year, Klein defended Obama against liberal critics who argued that by dropping the public plan option during Senate negotiations, President Obama betrayed a campaign promise. Klein made the utterly inaccurate assertion that the Senate bill and Obama's campaign proposals were "remarkably similar." See: Ezra Klein's "Pink=Blue=Colors" Logic Regarding Healthcare Reform.
See also on Dissenting Justice:
OK, We Get It: The Washington Post "Hearts" Rahm Emanuel!
Rahm Emanuel: Ghostwriter for Dana Milbank?