No great surprise, as his was the only name leaked out of the White House over the last few days, but still a curious choice. On the upside, William Daley has plenty of experience in both the private sector and in government; he worked for Bill Clinton as Secretary of Commerce for three years, and spent the last few years at JP Morgan Chase as an executive. But with Daley replacing the man who wants to replace Daley’s brother, some questions about the Chicago Way are bound to arise:
President Barack Obama is hiring William Daley to be his chief of staff, choosing a veteran political manager with Wall Street ties to direct an operation now steaming toward re-election mode.
Daley will step into one of the most important and influential jobs in American government as an adviser and gatekeeper to Obama. He will replace Pete Rouse, the interim chief of the last three months, a behind-the-scenes Obama adviser who did not want the position permanently and recommended Daley for it.
Rouse will remain as a counselor to the president, an elevated position from his former job as senior adviser.
Two senior administration officials confirmed Obama’s decision to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced.
Daley gives the administration something that it has lacked, which is expertise in the private sector. However, that expertise should have come to Obama’s economic panel, not to his chief of staff. Daley will certainly have influence in Obama’s policy, but Daley’s value as CoS will come from his insider position in politics, not Wall Street.
Meanwhile, Obama has yet to choose anyone to replace Larry Summers despite Summer’s announced departure in September and his actual departure last week. So much for “singular focus.”
The decision to choose Daley offers a rather intriguing scenario, too. Rahm Emanuel left the White House to run for mayor of Chicago, after Richard Daley (William’s brother) surprised people by declining to run for re-election. Now that William gets Rahm’s old job, will Richard endorse Rahm? If so, that will make this look like a somewhat sleazy political deal to get Rahm in control of the Chicago Machine.
And as has already been commented, the Chicago ties make even less sense for a President looking to broaden his support. Obama came to Washington purportedly as a reformer who opposed “business as usual” and the Beltway mentality. Now he’s managed to extend Chicago-sur-le-Potomac rather than try to change the culture of either political arena.