If you're a president trying to reposition your administration as centrist and pro-business, you have to be encouraged by the public reaction so far to your choice of former Clinton era Commerce Secretary William Daley as the next White House chief of staff.
Take the response from the business community, for instance. Tom Donohue, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's president, said in a statement:
“This is a strong appointment. Bill Daley is a man of stature and extraordinary experience in government, business, trade negotiations, and global affairs. He’s an accomplished manager and strong leader. We look forward to working with him to accelerate our recovery, grow the economy, create jobs, and tackle America’s global challenges.”
That's what you could call music to an administration's ears, especially after all the bruising punches thrown between the White House and the chamber in the past two years over the health-care overhaul, cap-and-trade energy proposals, among other issues.
Not surprisingly, the centrist group Third Way, on whose trustee board Daley sits, announced the choice as "brilliant."
Third Way's positions on issues parallels those held by many of the political independents the White House covets as it gears up for the president's 2012 re-election campaign. So that can't be anything but good.
From its statement:
“President Obama has made a brilliant choice in naming William Daley, a member of Third Way’s Board, to serve as White House Chief of Staff – and his selection sends a clear signal that he intends to govern and campaign from the center over the next two years.
“In selecting Daley, President Obama has hit the trifecta – a top notch manager, a pro-growth business leader and a moderate Democrat who knows how to work across the aisle.
“Bill Daley is an experienced manager who has run agencies and presidential campaigns; he has the business credentials to help the White House continue to heal the breach between the administration and the private sector; and he is committed to a big-tent politics for the Democratic Party...
And even the discordant tones from those who White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs once disparaged as the "professional left" are exactly the kind of notes that make a White House political type smile. First, it could have been predicted. Second, it can be produced as further proof that Obama isn't the leftist his political opponents paint him as.
From a Daily Kos post by Joan McCarter:
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This isn't particularly good news from a "professional left" standpoint, at least as far as progressives and those of us who aren't corporate interests are concerned. From his Chamber of Commerce ties and opposition to key Obama priorities of the past two years, Daley at first glance was bad news for the non-corporate wing of the Democratic party. As more about his activities since leaving the Clinton administration have emerged, the worse it looks.