Barack Obama scored a key appointment for his administration today, as it is being reported that Rep. Rahm Emanuel has agreed to be Obama’s Chief of Staff.
Politico is reporting that Emanuel has taken the job, and Tom Daschle was the runner up. Emanuel bring a blend of both White House and congressional experience. In the House of Representatives, he is the fourth highest ranking Democrat. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he was the man behind the strategy that led to the Democratic takeover of the House.
What made him especially appealing to Obama was likely the fact that he has executive experience having served as a senior advisor to President Clinton. The fact that Obama considered Emanuel and Daschle signals that he plans on working closely with Congress. The early signs are that Obama is focused on getting things done and passing legislation. This would be a dramatic shift from the gridlock that has existed in Washington since the Republican Revolution in 1994.
Emanuel did think for a day about whether or not to take the job. Wednesday night, he told Chicago TV station WLS, “I do know something about the White House and I have children now. I have a family. This is not a professional choice. This is a personal choice.” He probably needed to think this over, because he has a great position in the House, and taking the job means uprooting his family, and moving them to Washington for at least a year or two.
In the end, this was probably too big of an opportunity for him to pass up. As Obama’s chief of staff, he will be one of the most powerful people in the capitol. He will also have a big role in keeping things running, and shaping legislation on the hill. If Obama wants to hit the ground running, Emanuel was his best choice. He knows both sides of the fence, so having him in such a crucial position gives the new president the luxury of an experienced person who can help implement his agenda quickly.