A Dark Horse for Chief of Staff?

More
Schiliro.jpg

One of Marc Ambinder's White House sources lays out what the president will be looking for in his next chief of staff if, as many people expect, Rahm Emanuel departs after the midterms:

One White House adviser who is familiar with personnel matters...predicted [that the president] will choose his next chief of staff by setting criteria and then figuring out who best fills them. Priority one is competency, discretion and trust, qualities that Obama believes are linked to each other. Then comes managerial competence, followed by a fresh set of eyes, a deep knowledge of the policy-making process, and perhaps a distinctive voice -- someone who does not have ties to Chicago politics.

Marc's post is about Tom Donilon's chances. He thinks they're exaggerated, even though Donilon fits the bill. Another person who fits this description (uncannily so, to my mind) is Phil Schiliro, who can be thought of as something like the anti-Rahm. Schiliro is the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, the liaison with Congress. If the name doesn't ring a bell, that's by design. Schiliro, unlike Emanuel, almost never talks to reporters or goes on TV. (He's the mystery guy walking next to the president a lot in pictures like this one.) But he's certainly competent, discreet, and trustworthy, knows the policy-making process inside and out, and has no ties to the Chicago crowd. For about 25 years, Schiliro was chief of staff to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), and joined the Obama presidential campaign in the final stretch.

I'm not predicting that Schiliro will get the job, or that he wants it. I don't know either one. A few months ago, I floated the possibility to someone who insisted, rather indignantly, that it would never happen. So Schiliro is a dark horse. But his name has popped up on a couple of CoS lists in the last day or so. If Obama is serious about legislating and getting bills through Congress in an even tougher environment--and from what I can tell, he is--then Schiliro would be an intriguing choice.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In