I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) is fiercely partisan, having worked as a top adviser to the Clinton Administration. He's also largely credited for the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress (which isn't a bad thing, as we see it.) An unapologetic elbow-thrower, Emanuel comes on strong and rubs many the wrong way. He gets shit done, but the appointment of a rough-and-tumble political "fixer" to Chief of Staff may be viewed by some as "politics as usual."
On the other hand, the COS has a couple of core duties: the first is to protect the King, and there's nothing to suggest Emanuel won't be a hell of a gatekeeper for President Obama. The second is to advance the Executive's legislative agenda. Here, too, the Illinois Representative seems particularly qualified. Best of all, Emanuel's appointment will allow Obama to continue to present himself to Congress as thoughtful and open-minded, but if the game gets rough, he'll have a solid defense.
So all, in all, it's a smart pick. But I probably would've gone with a more low-key appointment first — maybe Education Secretary — as to avoid accusations of partisanship.
Did you know Emanuel studied ballet?