January 10 2012
What Does Bill Daley's Departure Mean?
Outgoing White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley may have a lousy personality. I don’t know. But here is the reason he is leaving after little more than a year on the job:
Bill Daley is a moderate with deep connections to Chamber of Commerce types and Wall Street titans.
When Obama made his hairpin turn to the right in response to the Democrats’ mauling in the midterms, Daley was his guy.
Now, with the advent of Obama as populist economic warrior? Not so much. …
“The Daley departure marks the end of Obama’s attempt to look pro-business, launched a year ago with his much-touted [Wall Street Journal] op-ed promising regulatory reform,” said Phil Kerpen, vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group aligned with the tea party.
Daley was always a talking point or perhaps window dressing for an administration that doesn’t like business but wants to say it does. The Wall Street Journal calls the Daley departure “truth in advertising” for this reason.
The Journal editorial denotes Daley's tenure as chief of staff as “Bill Daley’s lost year.”
Daley's achievements were meager but not entirely non-existent:
Mr. Daley's main policy victory was the passing of three free-trade agreements that House Democrats had stalled for four years. By the spring of last year, Mr. Obama was trashing Paul Ryan in personal terms and demanding that the price of even token entitlement cuts was $1 trillion in new taxes. Mr. Daley knew Bill Clinton, a friend for whom he worked as Commerce Secretary, and Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.
It is distressing that at the same moment the departure of Daley signals just how deeply anti-business the Obama administration really is, Republican candidates are vying to see who can be nastiest in attacking Mitt Romney for the sin of having succeeded in business.
Romney’s “sin” of being a success would no doubt have come up in the general election anyway. But Republicans who supposedly believe in the free-market should not be pursuing this line of attack.
Just for the record, Daley’s replacement, Jacob Lew, is the third White House chief of staff under Obama to have made a bundle in the much-denigrated (by the White House in particular) financial industry. Lew is a former hedge fund executive.
So I guess we’ve got hypocrites on both sides, which is nothing new.