Last year, the White House brought on William Daley as chief of staff to manage the second phase of Barack Obama’s presidency. Republicans had just won a huge majority in the House of Representatives, and Daley was seen as someone with the skills necessary to cut deals and build relationships. But that didn’t work out. Republicans were committed to right-wing dogma and a strategy of complete intransigence that, when combined with a concilliatory White House, led to feckless compromise, legislative hostage taking, and a general sense that President Obama was ill-suited for the Oval Office.
Between his push for the American Jobs Act and his newfound aggressive posture, Obama has regained some of that lost confidence. But Daley, as something of an emissary to both Republicans and Wall Street, just isn't right for this new confrontational approach. As a result, The Wall Street Journal reports, he’s been moved away from the day-to-day responsibilities of the White House chief of staff. Taking his place is Pete Rouse, a veteran aide to President Obama, who worked with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for nearly 20 years before joining Obama’s Senate campaign—and then, office—in 2004.
One thing to keep in mind as the media discusses this change: White House chiefs of staff aren’t known for their longevity—there have been 15 in the last 30 years, with an average tenure of about two and a half years. This particular institutional arrangement is unusual for a White House, but short-tenured chiefs of staff are almost par for the course.