When Bill Daley first took on the job as White House chief of staff I wondered whether he realized what he was getting himself into. There was little doubt then or now that the real power in the White House is Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s comrade in arms for two decades now, going back to the days when Obama was paling around, as David Remnick confirms, with Bill Ayers in their jointly run education policy effort, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
The latest confirmation of this comes in the form of Jodi Kantor’s new book which contains anecdotes indicating clearly Jarrett’s central role. And, of course, as I have suggested here many times in the past the cement that holds Jarrett and the Obamas so closely together is ideological.
After a year of breaking his tough head against the Barack-Michelle-Valerie troika – and with a few important victories under his belt – Daley has decided to bow out.
Under the circumstances, who can blame him? But the real question is what now? It would appear that the Daley decision – and the President and media reporting makes clear this was Daley’s decision – clearly took the President by surprise. Daley is an important link between the White House and major business figures and that has to include major potential donors to the Obama campaign. So one possibility here is that this resignation could have negative implications for the President’s reelection campaign.
It has also been reported that Daley was a critical player in pushing the Obama team to deal seriously with threats like Osama bin Laden in the face of opposition from Jarrett. Thus the future relationship between the inner circle around Obama and the wider national security team now would appear to be in doubt.
Like a pebble thrown into a still lake, the ripples from this event will spread far. Stay tuned.