President Obama announced Monday that his chief of staff, William Daley, is stepping down after a tumultuous year on the job. Daley is a veteran Washington insider who was brought on board to improve relations with Congress and business leaders, but reportedly didn't mesh well with the rest of Obama's staff, not to mention Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. Daley will be replaced by budget director Jack Lew, who will be Obama's fourth chief of staff in three years. (Rahm Emanuel was the first, followed by interim chief Pete Rouse for three months, then Daley.) Is this a sign Obama's White House is in turmoil, or is a fresh start just what the president needs?
The White House is sinking into turmoil: Even over two terms, most presidents don't burn through as many staff chiefs as Obama has, says Conn Carroll at the Washington Examiner. It's dizzying. Obama hired the experienced, moderate Daley to improve relations with business leaders, and now he's replacing him with a "committed liberal." Clearly, Obama is committed to running a populist re-election campaign that demonizes the same folks Daley was supposed to woo. It looks like the Obama "White House dysfunction" is spinning out of control.
"Battle for capitalism"
Obama is better off without him: Daley's departure "should be a net positive for the Obama administration," University of Akron political science professor David B. Cohen tells Politico. By leaving in January, Daley has given Obama plenty of time to adjust before the general election heats up later this year. Plus, Lew is "a seasoned White House player" and former congressional staffer who can repair the damage Daley did to relations with Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders.
"Does Daley departure mean trouble?"
This changes little — Daley wasn't in Obama's inner circle: Don't believe the president when he "says he was surprised to hear that Daley wanted to leave," says Timothy Noah at The New Republic. The mild-mannered Daley's influence had been waning for months, and "the Obama White House has done better lately by being more confrontational." The Daley approach — effectively, "being more conciliatory" — didn't work. "He's a nice man, but he won't be missed."