I’m a Rahm agnostic. I think HCR was a huge win that he may deserve some credit for, but I don’t think he’s great at politics in the sense of winning elections or understanding how voters think outside-the-beltway. The fact that he cares so much about what Bobo thinks is evidence of the latter:
In March 2009, I wrote a column arguing that Obama was not the fiscal moderate he pretended to be. Rahm asked me to stop by his office that afternoon. I came wearing my asbestos underwear, but Rahm calmly made his case with graphs and charts.
Last year, I wrote a column opposing health care reform. First, I acknowledged the arguments for the bill. Then I criticized the lack of cost control. Rahm called that morning, but with a smile in his voice: “Hey, I loved your first four paragraphs!”
Over the summer, I wrote a tough column wondering if Obama had the tenacity to fight a long war in Afghanistan. That week, I ran into Rahm at a Bruce Springsteen concert. He was clearly angry and would barely shake my hand. “That column. …” he said, icily, and then walked away.
Or maybe he doesn’t care, maybe he views Bobo as a potentially useful idiot. That’s a waste of time too, as in the end Bobo is always going to go back to wanking about Burkean caution and the dangers of liberal overreach.
Or maybe Rahm was just angling for an overwritten send-off comparing him to Augie March and Urban Cowboy.