Washington insiders say he will quit within six to eight months in frustration at their unwillingness to "bang heads together" to get policy pushed through.A Simpsons quote seems to be appropriate here. "But why now? Why not two years ago?"
Mr Emanuel, 50, enjoys a good working relationship with Mr Obama but they are understood to have reached an understanding that differences over style mean he will serve only half the full four-year term. Friends say he is also worried about burnout and losing touch with his young family due to the pressure of one of most high profile jobs in US politics.
"I would bet he will go after the midterms," said a leading Democratic consultant in Washington. "Nobody thinks it's working but they can't get rid of him – that would look awful. He needs the right sort of job to go to but the consensus is he'll go."
He never should have had the job to begin with. The only heads he ever banged were progressive and Congressional reps; if you were a blue dog senator, he treated you like a king. No matter how useless you were.
An official from the Bill Clinton era said that "no one will be surprised" if Mr Emanuel left after the midterm elections in November, when the Democratic party will battle to save its majorities in the house of representatives and the senate.Yes, it was. But, clearly, Rahm didn't know how to do it. All he knew how to do was water down legislation so much that nobody would give a damn if it passed, not to ensure that people vote for quality legislation. That was the source of the "frustration"; his "pragmatism" is based on little more than a wholesale lurch to the right.
It is well known in Washington that arguments have developed between pragmatic Mr Emanuel, a veteran in Congress where he was known for driving through compromises, and the idealistic inner circle who followed Mr Obama to the White House.
His abrasive style has rubbed some people the wrong way, while there has been frustration among Mr Obama's closest advisers that he failed to deliver a smooth ride for the president's legislative programme that his background promised.
"It might not be his fault, but the perception is there," said the consultant, who asked not to be named. "Every vote has been tough, from health care to energy to financial reform.
"Democrats have not stood behind the president in the way Republicans did for George W Bush, and that was meant to be Rahm's job."
There were sharp differences over health care reform, with Mr Emanuel arguing that public hostility about cost should have forced them into producing a scaled down package. Mr Obama and advisers including David Axelrod, the chief strategist, and Valerie Jarrett, a businesswoman and mentor from Chicago, decided to push through with grander legislation anyway.And, again, this shows just how blinkered Rahm was. The public wasn't just angry about cost, they were angry about cost and the corporate handout. The public probably would have supported a public option, even if it was pricier—though it wouldn't be—since they wouldn't have thought that their hard-earned money was going to the Dems' elite buddies in the insurance industry. Yes, you would have still had tea partiers screeching about deficits. But anybody in Rahm's position should have figured out that they were never going to pull the "D" lever in the first place. Rahm didn't, but that's why Rahm shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Hell, the guy was only there as a concession to the Clinton faction. That battle is long over, so why not jettison Emanuel? He serves no useful purpose except pissing off progressives, protecting DINOs, and taking credit for what Dean accomplished in 2006. He's a big reason why Obama's situation is "troubled" in the first place.