[Posted by Karl]
William M. Daley was hired to help resuscitate Barack Obama’s presidency after deep Democratic losses in 2010. Ten months into his tenure as chief of staff, Mr. Daley’s core responsibilities are shifting, following White House missteps in the debt-ceiling fight and in its relations with Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
On Monday, Mr. Daley turned over day-to-day management of the West Wing to Pete Rouse, a veteran aide to President Obama, according to several people familiar with the matter. It is unusual for a White House chief of staff to relinquish part of the job.
A little unusual, yes. Basically, Daley had no grasp on dealing with Congress. He blew relations with Speaker Boehner during the debt ceiling debate — and gets blame for botching the scheduling of Obama’s economic speech to a joint session of Congress. Daley’s relationship with Sen. Maj. Ldr. Reid was not much better. By September, Congressional Dems were taking potshots at him in the HuffPo. And while Patterico avoids linking directly to Politico, Daley’s recent interview with Roger Simon likely enraged Cong Dems. So now Bill is reduced to gladhanding the likes of Alan Greenspan and former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Jim Johnson.
The shake-up is a concession that the post-midterm shake-up is a failure. Installing Rouse — who was on the ground floor of Obama’s 2008 campaign — is the confirmation that it’s all campaigning from now on.
Update: Upon reflection, two things strike me about the coming re-shake-up. First, the Keystone Kops quality of the way Obama has handled the CoS position. Rahm Emanuel was installed for his knowledge of Congress. He was not all that well liked in Congress, but at least he knew Congress. That supposed qualification meant less when the Dems had commanding majorities in both houses, as Obama generally let Pelosi and Reid do whatever was necessary to squeeze his agenda through, over GOP and general public opposition. The result was a midterm drubbing. Obama then decided to bring in Daley to improve his image, rather than his substance, at the moment when Emanuel — or Rouse, who also knows Congress (he was a Daschle guy before he was an Obama guy) — may have been the better choice. Rouse is now installed at the moment that the notion of getting things done with Congress is pretty much dead, while Daley hangs around to tell his business pals that his boss really doesn’t mean all the class warfare rhetoric he’ll be spewing for the next year.
The second point is implicit in the first. The Carousel of Chiefs of Staff reflects Obama’s self-delusion that his problems stem from the daily management of the White House. His real problems are the economy and his misplaced policy priorities. It’s mostly too late for a do-over on either of those. Thus, another round of musical chairs is substituted to suggest Obama is doing something about his predicament.