What Staff Changes Reveal About White House Policy and Political Aims

Meet the bipartisan, pro-business, "Rubinite" White House

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The White House is making what could be a significant staff shake-up, starting with the departure of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the possible ascension of JP Morgan chief William Daley to Chief of Staff. We covered the reaction to those two staff changes in the previous two linked posts. But what does the larger shuffling mean for the White House strategies for policy and politics as they face the new realities of the 112th Congress? Here's what White House watchers are saying.

  • Hoping for More 'Bipartisan Deal Making'  The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jackie Calmes say Obama wants to "recharge his administration" in an "effort by the White House to bring on experienced Washington hands with records of bipartisan deal making as it faces the realities of a Republican-controlled House, a slimmer Democratic majority in the Senate and a resurgent grass-roots conservative movement."
  • 'Mend Ties' With Business Community  Reuters's Caren Bohan and Alister Bull connect the departure of economic adviser Paul Volcker to the Chief of Staff candidacy of William Daley. "Obama, who has been trying to mend frayed ties with the business community, is considering whether to shift the focus of the economic panel to one that has a greater focus on business outreach," they write.
The thing about the Clinton administration is that Jimmy Carter’s administration ended in 1980. So if you're going to create an economic policy team for Barack Obama ... it seems to me that it’s extremely prudent for a president to desire that the majority of his economic policy team be composed of people with previous executive branch economic policy experience. That means basically a lot of 'Rubinites' plus various exceptions around the margin. Maybe Obama could recruit Stanley Fischer away from the Bank of Israel to run the National Economic Council. But even so, you’d need a lot of 'Rubinites' to staff an administration.
  • Howard Dean: No More 'Contempt'  "The core issue," Dean told the Huffington Post, " is the contempt, which not just the progressives were treated by but lots of people were treated by, by senior advisers around the president who have been here for 20 years and thought they knew everything and we knew nothing. That is a fundamental flaw in any kind of administration. As they say, 'Don't let the door hit you in the you-know-what on the way out.'"
  • Actually, It Means Very Little  "This is pretty standard stuff, not 'a major housecleaning,'" Outside the Beltway's James Joyner writes. "A handful of top people from the 2008 campaign are heading off to focus on the 2012 campaign and a couple other people are leaving the grueling, low paying life of a White House staffer for more lucrative opportunities. Oh, and some people are moving on from the staffs of Joe Biden and Michelle Obama. Not exactly a big F-ing deal."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.