Emanuel vows to ‘throw long and deep’

EMANUEL VOWS TO ‘THROW LONG AND DEEP’…. My biggest concern about Rahm Emanuel becoming the next White House chief of staff is his record of incrementalism.

With that in mind, it was hard not to find his comments yesterday very encouraging. Talking to a group of CEOs and business leaders, Emanuel said incremental changes wouldn’t be enough, and urged his audience to work with the Obama administration’s push for universal health care.

“When it gets rough out there, a lot of business leaders get out of the car and say, ‘We’re OK with minor reform.’ I’m challenging you today, we’re going to have to do big, serious things,” Rahm Emanuel said, speaking to The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, a conference convened to elicit corporate opinion on the challenges facing the new president. […]

Mr. Emanuel promised that a major economic stimulus would be “the first order of business” for Mr. Obama when he takes office Jan. 20. The focus of spending will be on infrastructure, specifically “green infrastructure,” which he said would include mass transit, upgraded electricity transmission lines, “smart” electrical meters that allow consumers to save money by using electricity at off-peak hours, and universal broadband Internet access, which he said would encourage telecommuting.

He stressed that the new administration would “throw long and deep,” taking advantage of the economic crisis to push wholesale changes in health care, taxes, financial re-regulation and energy. “The American people in two successive elections have voted for change, and change cannot be allowed to die on the doorsteps of Washington,” Mr. Emanuel said.

The Wall Street Journal posted the video of Emanuel’s remarks.

Greg Sargent noted, “While the devil will of course be in the details, the fact that Rahm himself is setting the bar very high for the incoming administration’s expected health care reform efforts is welcome.”

Quite right. This didn’t sound like an incrementalist, promising to go slow and work around the edges; it sounded like someone ready to help the president make real changes real soon.

The reports didn’t indicate how Emanuel’s remarks were received by the business audience, but they have every reason to get onboard with the Obama agenda, especially on health care.