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Blog Buzz: Liberals mixed on Daley

A few liberal bloggers made their thoughts known on President Obama's potential appointment of Bill Daley as his next chief of staff.

"Some blogs are going to explode," predicted Balloon Juice's mistermix, although he wonders more about his Washington D.C. credentials than his past resume.

Putting aside his ideology, which I assume would take a back seat to Obama’s goals, I wonder about the wisdom of appointing a CoS who has slight acquaintance with Congress, since wrestling with Congress is going to be the main job of most of the White House apparatus.

At Daily Kos, Joan McCarter quoted a New York Times article about liberals' reaction to Daley: "A decision to bring Mr. Daley into the heart of the administration could further annoy Mr. Obama’s liberal base, who frequently accused [Rahm] Emanuel of encouraging the president to compromise on liberal principles to achieve legislative goals."

Yes, it would. Because, a) investment bankers really just haven't had enough influence in our country's governance in the last decade; and b) anyone who thinks health insurance reform modeled on Mitt Romney's Massachussetts plan and negotiated with every major player in the healthcare industry is a liberal overreach might just be a tad out of touch with the Democratic base. And the majority of Democratic law-makers. And the large chunk of Americans who basically support the health insurance reform bill and think it wasn't liberal enough.

Later in the day, McCarter updates her post to reflect a quote from an April Wall Street Journal article that said Daley, then an executive at J.P. Morgan, told then-Chief of Staff Emanuel that his boss, Jamie Dimon, did not believe a new consumer financial-protection agency was necessary because he believed "sufficient consumer safeguards were already on the books."

McCarter responded:

This escalates Daley to beyond mere hippie-punching. It makes Obama look like some kind of masochist--this guy has engaged in Obama-punching, attacking two of the keystone efforts in the first two years of his administration. Strange.

The left-leaning Huffington Post, who originally brought up the Wall Street Journal article, observed:

It's conceivable that Daley was merely passing along JP Morgan header Jamie Dimon's beliefs. Not his own.

That said, the potential appointment of someone who was sour on the major elements of the president's domestic legislation to the top-ranking presidential position creates some uncomfortable optics. So too does Daley's position, from 2005 through 2007, as a co-chair of the Chamber of Commerce's "Commission on the Regulation of Capital Markets in the 21st Century" -- a committee that played a role lobbying on derivatives regulation and consumer protections -- as well as the fact that JPMorgan Chase, where he served as an executive, had a $30 billion subprime mortgage business.

The administration, in the end, may feel like Daley's expertise as a manager and his close ties to Wall Street are assets too valuable to let go. But the questions about policy frictions and the negative press that an appointment will engender seem likely to compete with, if not outnumber, the positive stories about Daley's capacity for the job.