As President Obama contemplates governing after November 2, he has several times reminded his senior staff that he would like to see more women in positions of authority. That's not just for the sake of appearances, in the president's mind: it's that he is sensitive to, and accepts, to some degree, the criticism, that his turret of top staff has become too male and cloistered. (Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett is the obvious exception, but she does not want to become Obama's next chief of staff).
So who might be promoted in the White House of Obama, 2.0?
Democrats connected with the White House say that Carol Browner, currently, the president's senior adviser on energy and the environment, and the former EPA secretary under President Clinton, is a plausible candidate to be appointed White House chief of staff next year. Browner, 59, has no national security experience, but that qualification isn't a prerequisite for a chief of staff. She has more than enough experience dealing with Congress, with the rest of the government, and is a subject matter expert on the subject that will occupy a considerable amount of the President's attention in the next two years. More recently, Browner supervised the response to the BP oil well spill, and the President is said to think that she did a terrific job with the limited sets of tools the government turned out to have. Browner knows the administrative rule-making process, and there will be plenty of that over the next two years. Finally, as anyone who knows Browner can attest to, she can be tough. (CNN's Ed Henry reported over the weekend that Pete Rouse, the current chief of staff, could stay on through the 2012 elections.)