On first glance, President Obama's remaking of his White House staff "may not look like massive change," says Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times. His new economic policy czar, Gene Sperling, is a "Clinton-trained policy wonk" who is succeeding another one-time Clinton aide, former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers. The new chief of staff, William M. Daley, is a "Chicago-born Washington insider," as was his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel. But the new appointments really "reflect a confirmation and continuation of Obama's move toward the political center, which began last year and was most evident in his decision to compromise with Senate Republicans over the extension of upper-income tax cuts." Daley isn't a partisan warrior like Emanuel, he's a "business chieftain" who was critical of "the liberal, big-government bent of Obama's first year." This is no small difference. It's a sign that the "core mission" of the Obama White House has changed. Here, an except:
The motto of that first Obama White House was Emanuel's famous line: "Never let a crisis go to waste." The administration used its popularity and the Democrats' big congressional majority to push through ambitious legislation, including an economic stimulus package, healthcare reform and financial regulation. And it would have liked to have enacted energy and immigration laws too.
Instead, Democrats ran into a backlash from business leaders and swing voters, and lost control of both the House and (as a practical matter) the Senate. So now, as the economy slowly recovers, the White House is retooling for a different mission. Rather than marshaling Democrats, at which Emanuel was supremely talented, the administration will have to find a way to negotiate productively with Republicans. Instead of boosting the economy through government spending, it will have to convince private-sector business leaders that the administration wants to help them invest, expand and create jobs.