The appointment of Mr. Daley begins a reshuffle of the senior White House staff that is expected to bring more business experience into the president's inner circle, administration officials say."Where "the American people" equals Wall Street executives.
...The president has been reaching out directly to U.S. companies, meeting with 20 chief executives last month to ask for ideas on policies that would inspire them to invest and hire. And on Feb. 7, Mr. Obama will cross Lafayette Park from the White House to the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, his longtime political nemesis, to discuss working together on job creation.
"The administration took some positive steps recently, striking a bipartisan agreement to extend current tax rates, moving the ball forward on the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, and reaching out to the business community," says Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber's president. "We're not going to agree on everything, but there's a lot we can get done for the American people."
Meanwhile, Obama is also set to name Gene Sperling as director of the National Economic Council. I like Sperling: He was Clinton's chief economic advisor during her campaign, and he helped run an international charitable project designed to assist women in developing countries start and run their own businesses.
The catch is that the helped run it for Goldman Sachs, and got $800,000 for his services. He's also made about $200,000 in the past few years as a speaker for various Wall Street firms.
As much as I like Sperling for some reasons, appointing him to head the NEC isn't a move that dissuades the appearance that Obama's administration is too enmeshed with Wall Street financial firms and the banks. I don't believe there's no one in the nation who's got the same talents at Sperling but doesn't have what ought rightly to be considered a conflict of interest re: ties to Wall Street.
Also: Sperling's had the job before. He headed the NEC from '96-'00 under Clinton. Ezra Klein notes:
Obama's personnel decisions have shown a strong preference for prior government experience. William Daley, who was named chief of staff earlier today, is a former Secretary of Commerce. Jack Lew, who replaced Peter Orszag as head of the Office of Management and Budget, held the same position under President Clinton. Robert Gates, who leads the Defense Department, was a holdover from George W. Bush. Larry Summers, who Sperling is replacing, was Treasury Secretary under Clinton. And the list goes on. Expectations that Obama would begin to turn to people whose primary experience was outside government have not, thus far, been borne out in his staff shakeup.Hope and change looks more and more like the same old shit.