Wednesday, January 5, 2011
"He spearheaded the drive to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement, much favored by big business, and went on to a top-level career as a corporate executive, first at SBC Communications, then at JPMorgan Chase."
by Patrick Martin
President Obama concluded his Hawaii vacation Tuesday and flew back to Washington, amid press reports that he would soon announce the addition of several prominent figures drawn from the financial industry to his White House staff.
The media speculation focused on William Daley, brother of the retiring mayor of Chicago, former Clinton administration commerce secretary, and currently a vice chairman at JP Morgan Chase, one of the top five US banks. Bloomberg News and the New York Times both reported that Daley was under consideration for White House chief of staff, as the permanent replacement for Rahm Emanuel, who resigned in September to run for mayor of Chicago.
The chief of staff position has been filled on an interim basis by Pete Rouse, a long-time Senate aide who joined the White House when Obama took office. Rouse is heading an effort to reorganize the White House staff, including selecting a permanent replacement for Emanuel, and could himself be chosen for that post.
The selection of Daley, which press reports described as “not imminent,” would be the clearest signal yet of the Obama administration’s shift to the right in the wake of the Republican victory in the 2010 congressional elections.
Daley was one of the most right-wing figures in the Clinton administration, at least on domestic and economic issues. He spearheaded the drive to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement, much favored by big business, and went on to a top-level career as a corporate executive, first at SBC Communications, then at JPMorgan Chase. He has served on numerous corporate boards, including at Boeing and Abbott Laboratories.
In the internal politics of the Democratic Party, Daley stood on the right, opposing any serious effort to fight the theft of the 2000 presidential election, when he was Gore’s campaign chairman. In an interview last year with the New York Times, he criticized congressional Democrats and the White House, saying they had overreached and attempted policies that were too liberal. “The election of ’08 sent a message that after 30 years of center-right governing, we had moved to center left,” he said, “not left.”