On Bill Daleys Appointment

Robert Borosage

Bill Daley is an experienced corporate lobbyist, a skilled strategist, and a smart operator. That’s presumably why he was hired.

But it is bizarre to say that “few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to the job,” as the president did. Or to describe him as having a “well-rounded resume” as the New York Times reported. The Times summarized this “well-rounded resume well: (parens added)

“a (corporate) lawyer in private practice, a bank president, a telecommunications company executive, a political strategist, a fund-raiser (from corporations and their execs), a lobbyist for foreign corporations….a commerce secretary in the Clinton administration,” and over the last years, the chief lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase, focused in significant degree in diluting, delaying and defeating the financial reform that the president says is one of the great achievements of his first two years.

This is an impressive resume for a corporate lobbyist and executive. Bill Daley is an impressive man. “Well rounded” it is not. “Breadth of experience?” Not so much.

Substantively, Daley has been on the wrong side of major economic choices. He championed the corporate trade and financial deregulation initiatives of the Clinton administration that contributed to unsustainable trade deficits, disemboweling of manufacturing, growing inequality, and a financial casino that eventually spun out of control. He then worked to oppose Obama’s reforms in health care and financial reform. He’s a master of big money politics, exemplary of big business as usual in Washington.

A Chief of Staff serves the president. I don’t believe in the old Russian peasant myth that if only the Tsar knew,he wouldn’t let his aides be so cruel. The Tsar knows. It is his choice. Perhaps the president will use Daley to work driving the progressive reform agenda that is vital to this country’s future. Perhaps he’ll use Daley to abandon that agenda. In either case, the president will decide.

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