Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Question for Liberals

There's a new NYT profile of Jacob Lew today. It's at least the third one I've seen recently, but none of them seem to generate much discussion, at least from what I've seen. So, let's do one on Lew: how do you think he's doing as White House Chief of Staff? Would you like him to move to Treasury? Stay at the WH for now?


  1. I'd definitely prefer him in the Treasury than Bowles. Though I'd be happy with Lael Brainard heading up Treasury too.

    From everything I've read, Lew's been a low-key no-drama Chief of Staff trusted by the Prez, which I like. I've been hearing rumors of Tom Donilon being switched over to CoS and Susan Rice as national security advisor if Lew moves to Treasury.

  2. Is it absolutely necessary to shuffle these folks around if they're doing a good, reliable job in their current position?

    Does the music always play in each inter-election period? And why, when it stops, do we generally find that people are in worse spots than in the first administration?

  3. It's tough to evaluate how a chief of staff is doing from the outside. My general impression is that I've liked the direction the White House has gone since Lew took over. I thought Pete Rouse did a good job and then Bill Daley's tenure was (predictably) terrible.

  4. I think 2012 was very successful compared to the Bill Daley period of 2011. Not so much because lots of stuff got passed, because not a lot did, but the white house was a lot better at "Presidenting" than in 2011, especially in relationship to re-electing Obama which wasn't Lew's main job but was a important part what the White House needed to do in 2012. So I think he's a good pick.

    It also strikes me as a good point about how terrible the Senate has become with GOP filibusters, now you really have to be very strategic about who you pick in terms of getting them confirmed. This has always been true to some extent, but it's especially true now. There's lots of complaints about Susan Rice, but their largely based on a what she did or didn't say on a Sunday talk show. No one talks about if she'd be good at the job or not. To get a cabinet person in Obama really has to pick someone who can "fly under the radar" and not be linked to the "Obama is a corrupt monster" meme the GOP has been doing of late. So Lew is a good pick because he's already gotten through the fillibuster gauntlet before, and Obama can always hire is own new Chief of Staff (the Senate doesn't have veto powers of that, thank God.)

  5. Dr. B,

    As interested as I am in Bangladeshi commodities importing, I think perhaps that belongs in another thread?

    1. Hasibur? Yeah right, David Brooks we all know it's you.

      @JB Yglesias has some great old commercials he's been posting on his facebook page. It's like the greatest hits of "The War on Budgeting" including this golden oldie from 2000, in which we learn that a President Gore would turn our surplus into a deficit! Also here's some innovative policy stuff about taxes from Dole/Kemp. Apparently we need to lower the rates and fundamentally reform the system.

    2. Ah, taken care of. I do always read the comments, but not always promptly.

      On the good side, I haven't noticed any real comments getting filtered out by the blogger filter lately, so that's good.

  6. The question omits whether he wants to stay CoS - and my impression is he'd much prefer Treasury (or head out of government service). I think he's done a reasonably good job as CoS, much better than Daley or Rahm. While I'm not wild about him going to Treasury he'd be a vastly better pick than Bowles. Given his record at NSC, Donilon should be a good CoS (if he gets that nod instead of a cabinet post).


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