The AP is reporting that the rumored deal is done: Bill Daley, the "business friendly" Democratic royal who stands for everything liberals hate, will be Barack Obama's new chief of staff. Should you be enraged by this?
Here's a few reasons why liberals hate Bill Daley, brother of retiring Chicago mayor-king Richard Daley and generally respected figure among generations of America's rich and powerful:
- When he was Bill Clinton's Commerce Secretary, he was the point man on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which gave Mexicans all of our jobs.
- He has spent seven years as a senior executive at JP Morgan Chase, the largest of those damn Wall Street banks.
- He publicly chided Democrats for pursuing what he considered a radical leftist health care reform bill, the same one that we on Planet Earth call "Obama's moderate Republican health care reform bill that Mitt Romney invented."
- He lobbied against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was created in last year's financial regulatory reform law.
- He "led the Chamber of Commerce's effort to loosen the post-Enron regulations on the accounting and auditing professions."
- He's on the board of Third Way, a group of rich centrist banker Democrats who are Republicans.
That resume hits all of the most sensitive pressure points for liberal Democrats who've already been groaning about Obama's inevitable rightward move over the next two years. And it does make you worry about just how masochistic Barack Obama has become on the job, now that he's hiring this powerful business leader to lead his administration's defense of health care reform and the CFPA — the two Obama measures that he strongly lobbied and editorialized against, and two of the Republicans' top "gutting" targets with their new modicum of power.
On the other hand! He will "improve Obama's strained ties with the business community," all the pundits suggest, as though Wall Street actually gives a shit about the optics of these sunny, one-news-cycle PR turns. They just want the regulatory policies that they don't like eliminated. And it will be Bill Daley's job to defend those regulations.
So for you liberals, we'd recommend skipping the outrage on this one, even if he is a complete caricature of Democratic selling-out. It's not worth the energy. He'll do what Obama instructs him to do, and hopefully he'll be able to put his personal relationships on the Hill to good use. As we've argued before, "White House chief of staff" is not a job that the president should hold for Noam Chomsky or Paul Krugman. It's a job for sociopathic workaholic insider hacks who can execute the president's many complex requests. People always blamed Rahm Emanuel for policies and tactics they didn't like, and they'll do the same with Bill Daley. But it's always Barack Obama who chooses those policies and tactics. Bill Daley, like Rahm Emanuel before him, will be an errand boy whose advice the president can take or leave.
[Image via Getty]