Sources say the White House chief of staff is tired of the administraiton's "idealism." He is expected to resign within 6 to 8 months.
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."
Can the Obama administration's inability to smoothly implement its agenda really be due to an excess of pragmatism? How will this change the makeup, perception, and workings of the White House?