Oh, Rahm. Why must you meddle? Emanuel and White House political director Patrick Gaspard tried to force New York governor David Paterson out of the 2010 election to make room for Andrew Cuomo and they just made everything worse.
Gaspard, who is besties with Cuomo, had a little meeting with Paterson last week. Paterson apparently neglected to decide on the spot to hand the the governor's mansion over to a legacy admission, and so, a week later, the White House arranged a front-page New York Times story on how the White House did not support this stupid incompetent unpopular Democratic governor of New York (half of whose staff is currently made up of Hillary Clinton vets).
And that was stupid. Because this is not Chicago and people do not take kindly to Rahm Emanuel muscling in on local matters. And Paterson would have to be an incredibly weak-willed and self-loathing politician to decide to step aside now. It's incredible to imagine that no one in the White House foresaw the Times gambit making the Governor dig in, but that appears to be what happened. And there is precedent:
Lloyd Grove, who's been around, remembers when Rahm tried this exact same tactic with a conservative Democratic senator in 1993. That little Senator grew up to be Richard Shelby, still a senator from Alabama, but now a Republican. (This tone-deaf approach to political hardball also suggests that Rahm is much better at whipping up support in the House than in the incredibly self-important and thin-skinned Senate.)