Emanuel is a serious Democrat insider. He made his bones in Chicago poliltics (not known for the cleanest tactics) as senior adviser and chief fund raiser for Mayor Richard Daley in'89. Went on to be a Clinton adviser from '92 to '98.
What's particualarly significant: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman since '02. This guy has got to know some serious dirt on just everybody in Congress. Make no mistake, this dude is a shark.
And now he's Obama's chief of staff, the conduit between the President and Congress. He might be the THIRD most powerful man in the White House, behind the Prez and the VP.