Great news: New Obama chief of staff might be ... William Daley

I know what you’re thinking. When I first saw the name, I thought, “The guy who just retired as mayor of Chicago?!” Silly: That’s Richard Daley. Besides, do you really think The One’s political universe is so small and incestuous that he couldn’t find someone outside his tiny circle of Chitown cronies and strongmen to serve as the second most powerful man in the White House? This is the president of the United States we’re talking about. He could recruit anyone he wants for the job, from any field in the western world.

So naturally — allegedly — he went and recruited … Richard Daley’s brother.

President Barack Obama is considering naming William Daley, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive and former U.S. Commerce secretary, to a high-level White House post, possibly as his chief of staff, people familiar with the matter said.

Such a move, which is still under discussion and which White House officials wouldn’t confirm, would bring a Washington veteran and someone with strong business ties into the administration as Obama enters the second half of his term. The president is faced with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and is trying to accelerate the U.S. economic recovery while addressing the budget deficit…

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Daley served as an Obama economic adviser. After the election, he was a co- chairman of Obama’s transition team.

Daley, the younger brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, was commerce secretary from January 1997 to June 2000 under former President Bill Clinton. In 2000, he chaired Vice President Al Gore’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Says David Frum, “Do I have this straight: a Daley resigns to make room for Rahm, Rahm resigns to make room for another Daley, and nobody thinks this fishy?” Excellent point; I wonder how long it’ll be after William Daley is officially named to the post that Richard Daley will decide to endorse Rahm for mayor.

Anyway, three obvious points about Daley if he is indeed the new man in charge. One: Obama’s relationship with Wall Street is still poisonous and his inner circle is famously lacking business experience, a point not lost on America’s CEOs. Daley’s appointment is an attempt to change that. Two: Obama’s inner circle is famously insular, with even Democrats starting to grumble about him expanding his horizons to deal with the new Republican House. Daley’s appointment is, er, not an attempt to change that. And three, and perhaps most significantly: Ben Smith points on Twitter to this Daley op-ed from last December calling on Democrats to embrace the big tent and plot a more centrist course. Proof that The One is ready to inch back towards the middle over the next two years? Quote:

The announcement by Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith that he is switching to the Republican Party is just the latest warning sign that the Democratic Party — my lifelong political home — has a critical decision to make: Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come…

On the one hand, centrist Democrats are being vilified by left-wing bloggers, pundits and partisan news outlets for not being sufficiently liberal, “true” Democrats. On the other, Republicans are pounding them for their association with a party that seems to be advancing an agenda far to the left of most voters…

All that is required for the Democratic Party to recover its political footing is to acknowledge that the agenda of the party’s most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans — and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan.

Expect some enjoyable tantrums from the nutroots if this guy’s the choice. Exit question: We’ve had Rahm as chief of staff, and now a Daley. Who’s next on the list of influential Chicago Obama buddies? Oprah?