Have you read the controversial New Yorker profile of Rahm Emanuel? It's controversial because it uses that word, in describing Rahm, a bunch of times, and also it pissed off some liberals.

Of course liberals are notoriously easy to piss off, and the people most able to piss them off are, strangely, other liberals. So this piece, in a liberal magazine about a Democratic Chief of Staff to a liberal president, written by a writer from another liberal magazine, is basically a big slap in the face to liberals everywhere. Because this "Letter From Washington" profile by Ryan Lizza is not sufficiently critical of its subject!

No, Lizza goes to Rahm's office, and interviews him, and faithfully transcribes things from those interviews, and goes to some of Rahm's colleagues for a little color and some insight into Rahm's in-your-face style, and there is some narrative stuff about how precisely Rahm (in his own telling) worked the stimulus in Congress. So, you know, it's a terrible travesty of a piece, according to Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald.

The story didn't mention how Rahm is totally implicated in the Blagojevich case, and it didn't mention how Rahm is responsible for all the cabinet vetting problems, and Lizza totes just wants "access" to Rahm for his upcoming book on Obama's first year. Which, like, ok guys, we agree with all your criticisms of Rahm's radical centrism or whatever, and think he is indeed a self-aggrandizing dick, but you know this is a Letter From Washington profile piece, not, like, an actual commentary? That's just how those pieces "work," for the most part. Maybe it's not the best profile the New Yorker's ever run, but it was a pretty good read!

Not every story is the definitive take-down! It's actually totally OK that they didn't call Paul Krugman for comment after this bit:

"They have never worked the legislative process," Emanuel said of critics like the Times columnist Paul Krugman, who argued that Obama's concessions to Senate Republicans-in particular, the tax cuts, which will do little to stimulate the economy-produced a package that wasn't large enough to respond to the magnitude of the recession. "How many bills has he passed?"
Now, my view is that Krugman as an economist is not wrong. But in the art of the possible, of the deal, he is wrong. He couldn't get his legislation."

The stimulus bill was essentially held hostage to the whims of Collins, Snowe, and Specter, but if Al Franken, the apparent winner of the disputed Minnesota Senate race, had been seated in Washington, and if Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, had been regularly available to vote, the White House would have needed only one Republican to pass the measure. "No disrespect to Paul Krugman," Emanuel went on, "but has he figured out how to seat the Minnesota senator?" (Franken's victory is the subject of an ongoing court challenge by his opponent, Norm Coleman, which the national Republican Party has been happy to help finance.) "Write a fucking column on how to seat the son of a bitch. I would be fascinated with that column. O.K.?" Emanuel stood up theatrically and gestured toward his seat with open palms. "Anytime they want, they can have it," he said of those who are critical of his legislative strategies. "I give them my chair."

Like, the reader does not have to unquestioningly accept Rahm's argument here, because its flaws are basically self-evident and it's a response to criticism, not an unprovoked attack. Readers are grown-ups! The New Yorker doesn't have to say "BTW Rahm suuuuuuucks even though he thinks he's sooo cool." Well, they can have Hendrik Hertzberg say that on a blog or something but it doesn't need to be included here.

In short, Liberals, we agree with you 100% on the politics here but man you gotta let shit slide sometimes.