All signs point to an appointment later today by President Obama of William Daley as White House chief of staff and Gene Sperling as the economic advisor, according to the conventional wisdom.
Daley and Sperling are an interesting combination if only because of what their prospective appointments suggest about Obama 2012 re-election campaign strategy. That in turn points to a circle in the Democrats' campaign planning that almost certainly cannot be squared.
Daley, who is brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and a JP Morgan Chase senior executive is very much identified with Wall Street. He was also President Clinton's Secretary of Commerce in the previous Democratic administration, so he is an experienced Washington hand who doubles as a Wall Street rainmaker on the cash and influence accounts.
Sperling was also a Clinton administration White House economic advisor and is identified with that era's Third Way Democratic policy stances. He wrote a book entitled "The Pro-Growth Progressive," that lauded liberal social justice aims, but reminded liberals that the profits and prosperity made possible by capitalism are essential to being able to fund government aid to the poor.
Bringing in two such high-visibility advocates who can be credibly viewed as at least pro-big business suggests Obama's strategy for 2012 will be focused on three things: Jobs, jobs, jobs. And yes, he will claim his economic policies of the first two years of his administration brought about the growth spurt that appears to be gathering in the post 2010 election months.
But such a strategy is not gathering unanmous plaudits on the left. In a post on the Sunlight Foundation blog that is likely be widely discussed on the left side of the Blogosphere and the mainstream media, Paul Blumenthal is highly critical of the presumed Daley re-appearance in a Democratic presidential administration:
"The President once told a meeting of bankers that he was 'the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks.' That apparently wasn't good enough.
"Picking Daley would send the message that the pitchforks--normal people--matter less than the continued flow of campaign donations from the uber-wealthy.
"Barack Obama raised $39 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector in his 2008 bid for president, the most raised from this sector by anyone seeking political office in the United States ever.
"Even more problematic than the need to corral donors for 2012 is that Daley's presence would allow him to control the time of the president.
"Daley could choose who the president sees and what information gets to the president. Based on the praise the financial sector has for the Daley selection, it is clear who those people and what that information would be.
"In essence, Daley would act as a stovepipe for the interests of Wall Street, as if bankers didn't have enough influence already."
It's difficult to see how those on the Left who agree with Blumenthal will be happy with the likely policy tone and temper from the Obama White House between now and 2012. Go here for Blumenthal's complete post, which is entitled "The revolving door shouldn't spin twice for Daley."
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