On the appointment of William Daley as White House chief of staff, Daley having written in a Washington Post op-ed a year ago: “The agenda of the party’s most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans …The leaders of the Democratic party need to move back toward the center”:
The Daley statement of a year ago is a perfect statement of what Obama wants the country to think he’s doing, and will do, for the next two years. This is a classic example of repositioning. I don’t believe it’s actual repositioning in the sense that he’s changing his ideology. The election in November did not give him a road to Damascus moment in which he decided he’s going to become a centrist. He’s not.
But he’s a smart man and he understands there’s no way in the next two years, while the House is Republican, that any of the liberal agenda is going to pass. So the next two years are devoted to presenting himself — and acting — as a centrist. Which is smart. That’s the only way he’ll get reelected. And then if he wins reelection, he’s got a free hand in the next four years.
Daley is the perfect guy. In the early ’90s, he was the man who shepherded NAFTA and the Chinese trade agreement, which is of course anathema to unions. So he’s a free trader. He’s the guy who opposed Obamacare. He’s the guy who also as a lobbyist and a worker for J.P. Morgan had opposed the financial reform.
So on all the major, liberal, semi-radical items that Obama had gotten through in the 111th Congress, he’s against it. He ’s the guy you want as the face of this administration for the next two years. From a political perspective, it’s exactly the right choice.