Green Room

Daley Stepping Down in “Rare” White House Shake-Up

posted at 10:40 am on January 12, 2012 by

The New Hampshire primary preempted my mockery of this New York Times article, which had the audacity to run the above headline — without the quote marks — in marking the departure of White House chief of staff William M. Daley:

It was a distracting shake-up in a White House that has prided itself on a lack of internal drama, with a tightly knit circle of loyal senior advisers playing a steadying role.

In the real world, no president has gone through as many chiefs of staff in their first term as Obama has to date. And that’s just for starters, well beyond the shuffling of people like David Axelrod to Obama’s reelect campaign.

Consider Obama’s original economic team. Peter Orszag, Christina Romer, Larry Summers and Jared Bernstein are all gone, as is Austan Goolsbee, leaving tax-cheating Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner as the anchor of Obamanomics.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is gone, as is Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton and White House communications director Anita Dunn.

Melody Barnes was the White House’s chief domestic policy adviser. Not anymore.

Gen. Jim Jones is no longer Obama’s National Security adviser, after a tenure marked by sniping that sent Deputy National Security Adviser and Chief of Staff to the NSC Mark Lippert back to military service. That happened before Obama’s major Pentagon shakeup last April in which the vacancy caused by the departure of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was filled by Leon Panetta, whose seat at the CIA was filled in turn by Gen. David Petraeus.

Moreover, two books suggest there were plenty of factions and infighting during the president’s term. One of them was written by Jodi Kantor — a reporter for the New York Times.

The NYT’s propaganda here is risible, but interesting nonetheless. Reporting on a White House in disarray would underscore what happens when we elect someone with no executive experience. It would also raise the issue of whether any of these people were simply scapegoats for the failures of progressive policy.

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Didn’t know there were so many. This new book by Kantor would imply that all is not rosy too. My admittedly amateur view of the Obamas is that they never welcome views that do not match theirs exactly. Looks as if that may be the case.

jeanie on January 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM

The NYT’s propaganda here is risible, but interesting nonetheless.

It’s not just that it’s propaganda. It’s bad propaganda, as if they just don’t care any more or don’t have any competent people any more. It’s in line with making Debbie Wasserman-Schultz the voice for the Democratic party, she’s clearly not ready for prime time and yet the powers that be chose her? Do they not have anyone else competent to pick from?

rbj on January 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM

… It’s in line with making Debbie Wasserman-Schultz the voice for the Democratic party, she’s clearly not ready for prime time and yet the powers that be chose her? Do they not have anyone else competent to pick from?

rbj on January 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM

DWS was chosen in part because she is so “controllable”. She’ll say whatever they tell her to say because she’s too dumb to do anything else.

climbnjump on January 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Obama’s core group of Chicago advisers has always been on the left of the Democratic party, and those are the ones staying in place — Jarrett, Axelrod, Plouffe and of course the missus. It’s the ones who have come in from the outside with either more moderate (Daley) or more pragmatic (Rahm) credentials who have been chased out of the White House.

Combine that with the fact that the head man remains a beta male and completely dependent on others doing the heavy lifting for him, and it explains why Obama isn’t following the Clinton-Morris triangulation formula and instead is going for defiant class warfare and blaming the Republicans for gridlock. He can’t triangulate, because there’s no one in his inner circle he feels comfortable with who is willing to triangulate — odds are they would have been happier in 2009 if Obama had followed the wishes of the furthest left in the party and gone full Hugo Chavez on his conservative enemies, and think so highly of their own campaign skills they truly believe a 2012 demonization/scorched earth effort against the GOP will succeed.

jon1979 on January 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I think we too easily forget Jimmy Carter didn’t become the Jimmy Carter that we all remember today until his last year in office. Then the media was finally forced to connect the dots of all the stupid, petty things he’d done in his first three years.

Obama has been a colossal failure but the media is just now starting to a) figure it out and/or b) admit it. The avalanche is about to happen.

I would really be surprised if Obama gets much over 40% of the popular vote.

MaxMBJ on January 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

The NYT is sort of like global warming. No matter what happens or what your eyes tell you, the models are more important than the real world.

pat on January 12, 2012 at 5:40 PM

It would also raise the issue of whether any of these people were simply scapegoats for the failures of progressive policy.

Well, we have been told over and over and over (and over) again that the policies are brilliant, they’re just poorly executed. As opposed to the scapegoats, who are usually executed pretty well.

Marxism is for dummies on January 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Well, we have been told over and over and over (and over) again that the policies are brilliant, they’re just poorly executed. As opposed to the scapegoats, who are usually executed pretty well.

Marxism is for dummies on January 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

I laughed–thanks for that :D

Mr. Prodigy on January 12, 2012 at 6:02 PM

“You know, I’d make a good chief of staff.”

Barack Obama, 2010

SukieTawdry on January 12, 2012 at 6:08 PM

In the real world, no president has gone through as many chiefs of staff in their first term as Obama has to date.

See, it is a rare occurrence in the White House. Just not in the Obama administration…

RoadRunner on January 12, 2012 at 9:46 PM

It’s Ayers and the other ‘social justice’ themes. That’s all there ever was. Anyone one else not vetted by that circle is window dressing and expendable. Are there any radicals in there that have left? Answer: NOPE.

What’s it like having ‘White House’ on your resume? Ask the no-name activists permeating the admin and replacing any non-radicals. Top Down and Bottom Up. Top = positions of authority or decision making. Bottom = local action, like ‘grassroots’. After the Obama Admin, it’s auto-access to further their careers.

John Kettlewell on January 13, 2012 at 2:14 AM