President Obama has chosen his next chief of staff, and the winner is Bill Daley, the former Commerce Secretary under Bill Clinton who has worked for J.P. Morgan Chase since 2004.
Daley has two notable things in common with his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel: Chicago roots and a career in finance.
Criticism of Daley's background has been swift. Blogger Michelle Malkin, who never has anything nice to say about the Obama administration anyway, took the Chicago-machine angle, charging that this staff move "looks, smells, and tastes like a rotten Chicago deep-dish pizza."
True, both Daley and Rahm have their origins in Chicago machine politics. Daley is the son of America's exemplary political machine. His father was the legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley; his brother is the current Mayor, Richard M. Daley. Emanuel worked for the current mayor, building a political network in Chicago before winning a congressional seat there.
But the finance ties are perhaps more interesting.
Daley took the job of Midwest chairman at J.P. Morgan Chase in 2004, having served as president of SBC Communications and a director of Merck & Co. after the end of the Clinton administration. He landed the job at SBC with his Rolodex, not with telecom experience, and made $2.7 million. Connections seemed to play a role in his J.P. Morgan job: Though he didn't handle Chicago business according to Jamie Dimon, the J.P. Morgan chairman and CEO who hired him, the bank underwrote Chicago's development of Millenium Park early in Daley's tenure. Chicago Magazine outlined the transition to J.P. Morgan in a profile of Daley in a February 2005 profile. Daley later became head of corporate responsibility, the position he holds now.