The Corner

Left Gives Thumbs Down to Daley Pick

The Professional Left will not be dancing on the streets in response to Bill Daley’s appointment anytime soon. Here’s some reactions:

MoveOn.org’s executive director, Justin Ruben:

With Wall Street reporting record profits while middle class Americans continue to struggle in a deep recession, the announcement that William Daley, who has close ties to the Big Banks and Big Business, will now lead the White House staff is troubling and sends the wrong message to the American people.

Americans are looking to the White House for economic plans that will create jobs and reign in Wall Street’s excesses, and it’s up to Daley to prove that he’s not carrying water in the White House for the big banks that took our economy over the cliff. As the President continues to reshuffle his staff, particularly his economic team, it is now more important than ever that he focuses on rebuilding a middle class and developing policies that create more jobs on Main Street, not on Wall Street.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Adam Green:

This was a real mistake by the White House. Bill Daley consistently urges the Democratic Party to pursue a corporate agenda that alienates both Independent and Democratic voters. If President Obama listens to that kind of political advice from Bill Daley, Democrats will suffer a disastrous 2012.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka:

The president is of course entitled to choose a chief of staff in whom he has complete confidence. Yet President Obama and his Administration will ultimately be judged by results — whether the economy recovers robustly and begins to generate good jobs on the scale needed to improve the lives of working people.

The president needs a chief of staff who will reach out to diverse constituencies and make sure that the voices of ordinary Americans are heard in the White House. We are hopeful that the new chief of staff’s priority is to achieve the strong economy that working people desperately need. This is the time for strong leadership from the White House to invest in America’s future, create millions of good jobs, safeguard our retirement security and health care, strengthen workers’ rights and the role of the unions, and reform our flawed trade policies to restore America’s place in the global economy.

The Daily Kos’s Joan McCarter:

This afternoon, President Obama will announce that Bill Daley has accepted the chief of staff position. This isn’t particularly good news from a “professional left” standpoint, at least as far as progressives and those of us who aren’t corporate interests are concerned. From his Chamber of Commerce ties and opposition to key Obama priorities of the past two years, Daley at first glance was bad news for the non-corporate wing of the Democratic party. As more about his activities since leaving the Clinton administration have emerged, the worse it looks.

Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

The Daley pick will inevitably reinforce a faulty interpretation of Obama’s first two years: That Obama governed from the far left. As many have already pointed out, Daley repeatedly criticized Obama’s agenda as too left-wing. …

The pick of Daley, however, will reinforce the conventional narrative that Obama has recognized the error of his ultraliberal ways and has picked a “seasoned Beltway hand” to steer the administration back to the center. Obviously this is only one of many things to consider about the Daley pick, and there may be many other good reasons to pick him that outweigh this problem.

But in interpreting the Daley pick, many commentators will be pointing to Daley’s interpretation of the first two years as if it’s, well, true. They’ll assert that Obama has internalized it. And maybe the President has internalized the Daley interpretation of his young presidency. But that doesn’t mean it has anything to do with what actually happened.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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