Daley Death Watch

by Timothy Noah | November 8, 2011

Bill Daley is clearly on his way out as White House chief of staff. The Wall Street Journal and Politico report that he's turning over his day-to-day duties to Pete Rouse, who was the interim chief of staff after Rahm Emmanuel left and is much better-liked by the White House staff and on Capitol Hill. Both publications say that Daley did himself a lot of damage in an Oct. 28 interview with Politico's Roger Simon. That was certainly my impression. I was particularly exasperated by Daley's statement that "both Democrats and Republicans have really made it very difficult for the president to be anything like a chief executive," which bought into the same asinine false equivalence that Washington pundits have been peddling when it's perfectly clear that the only major problem is deliberate and irresponsible Republican obstructionism. How could Daley not know that? Apparently the comment infuriated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who already didn't like him, and Daley had to phone him to apologize.

What I don't understand is the slow-motion, dithering way that Daley is being let go. The official story is that Daley is useful in dealing with people outside the White House, but give me a break. Apparently he's good at romancing Evan Bayh (who, last time I checked, is no longer a member of the U.S. Senate) and Alan Greenspan (whose views about the economy stopped interesting many people in 2006, when he stepped down as Fed chairman, and most of the rest in 2008, when the economy melted down). Probably Obama thinks he can't afford to cut any ties to the business community, since the supposedly weak representation of corporate types in his cabinet is a familiar knock on his presidency. But since Obama never got any credit for hiring the pro-business Daley in the first place I don't see that firing him now will do him any additional harm. And surely there's somebody else from the business world he can hire if that criticism gets out of hand. Next time he should put that person someplace he can't cause any trouble.

Get ready for another string of Indecisive Obama stories. The president could have avoided these with a swift, humane execution. Now we have to watch the poor bastard bleed to death on CNN.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/timothy-noah/97197/daley-death-watch