There is a widespread theory that Obama is using symbolic gestures, such as having Rick Warren as a featured speaker at the inauguration the "symbolism" of keeping Robert Gates as Sectary of Defense, in order to provide himself political cover for passing left-wing legislation. So, conservatives get symbols, such as the person managing the largest federal department of all, but progressives will get policy. According to this theory, progressives who are upset with Obama over one thing or another are childishly upset over symbols, and ignoring the progressive reality of the governing to come.
With that in mind, consider the following anecdote about Rahm Emanuel and 2007 Bush Dog Tim Walz (Walz being one of the few Bush Dogs to drop off the list):
Members said [Emanuel] had a phenomenal knowledge of their districts, and he kept up to date well after the campaign ended. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) said one of his supporters wrote a letter to the editor of a small paper in his district, complaining about his vote on a rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Walz mentioned the letter to the editor to Emanuel on the floor and was stunned by his response.
"You mean the one about how you should caucus with the Republicans?" Emanuel shot back. "That's a good letter. Makes you look bipartisan."
(Hat tip: commenter triangunation)
In this case, Rahm Emanuel's thought it was a positive development that actual congressional votes on actual reprehensible legislation that actually passed into law stirred up public, left-wing anger toward the minority of Democrats who supported that law, as it made those Democrats look more bi-partisan.
This throws a lot of cold water on the notion that the only things conservatives have coming toward them are symbols, while progressives will receive actual legislation. In the above case, conservative legislation was viewed as a posiitve in that it created more "symbolic" gestures that would make Democrats appear more favorable to Republicans. The legislation itself wasn't even as important as the symbols. Emanuel could have said something like "don't worry, you did the right thing," or "don't worry, you voted your conscience." Instead, he pointed to the progressive anger that arose from actual votes on actual legislation as a positive for those Democrats on the receiving end of that anger.
This might be an isolated incident, and play out differently over the next few years, but it throws a lot of cold water on the notion that conservatives are only getting symbols, while progressives will get legislation. If you find yourself on the left, be prepared, at least from Rahm Emanuel, for a direct, consistent, even strenuous, effort to piss you off. That is part of Rahm Emanuel's strategy. And remember, btw, that Emanuel is one of the examples of a liberal appointment under Obama.