On Monday, President Barack Obama's chief of staff, William Daley, resigned. He was replaced by Budget Director Jacob "Jack" Lew, set to be Obama's fourth chief of staff in as many years. Does that represent alarming instability at the top advising position in the White House?
Daley was supposed to be an improvement over the previous two appointees. Obama's first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was a former Illinois Congressman, and was supposed to provide good connections to Capitol Hill, dominated at the time by Democrats.
But all of that changed when Democrats lost Congress. The acerbic Emanuel became a liability, and went on to win the Chicago mayor's race, according to US News and World Report. He was replaced by Pete Rouse, a longtime Senate adviser. But Rouse did not stay long. He never had the term "acting" removed from his title, and now serves as a special adviser to the president.
Daley was supposed to be different. He had ties to the business community, according to Yahoo News. As Clinton's secretary of commerce, he had dealt with a Republican majority. Plus, he had experience with the media, and would provide a better spin on the Sunday talk shows.
But the rightward lurch of the new Republican majority made even the most routine of Congressional actions into a war zone. Daley just wasn't up to the rough-and-tumble days of old, stepping down after barely a year in office. He felt that Rouse was getting more presidential influence.
Obama has now had four chiefs of staff occupy the top position in the Executive Office of the Presidency and his four-year term is not yet complete. George W. Bush had two while Bill Clinton had four, but both were in office for eight years. George H. W. Bush had three, while Ronald Reagan had four in eight years. Jimmy Carter had two, as did Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman only had one each.
Does one need a good chief of staff? According to a White House report by Professors Charles E. Walcott, Shirley Anne Warshaw and Stephen J. Wayne, former President Gerald Ford was quoted as saying: "I started out in effect not having an effective chief of staff and it didn't work. So anybody who doesn't have one and tries to run the responsibilities of the White House I think is putting too big a burden on the president himself. You need a filter, a person that you have total confidence in who works so closely with you that in effect his is almost an alter ego. I just can't imagine a president not having an effective chief of staff."
- Politics & Government
- Politics & Government/Government
- President Barack Obama
- William Daley
- Rahm Emanuel