Rahm will resign Friday to begin a “listening tour” in Chicago in preparation for a mayoral run. Multiple sources also confirm that White House senior adviser Peter Rouse will be named as acting chief of staff. The whispers are that the “acting” part is likelier than not to be dropped.
Rouse is an old Hill hand, a former chief of staff to Tom Daschle, and the co-chair of the Obama transition team. But there is no reason to think he’ll be any more successful as a moderating force behind President Obama than was Emanuel. Consider, Rouse convinced then-Senator Obama to vote against the confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court:
It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator — still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office — was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts’s intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn’t want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.
And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no.
That’s from an informative 2007 WaPo profile on Rouse as “the outsider’s insider.” So influential was Rouse in Obama’s rise to power that when Obama sought to hire Rouse as his chief of staff, the freshman said — in a rare moment of humility — that despite being able to “give a good speech,” he knew little about organizing a Senate office, and wanted to “form a partnership.” Indeed, the profile, written before Obama’s victory was declared an inevitability by whole swaths of the media, lays bare just how unremarkable were Obama’s legislative record and governing instincts.