Obama “Girds His Loins” In Anticipation Of New Congress
Remember when nominee for vice president, Senator Joe Biden, warned supporters that, if elected, Barack Obama will be tested by “an international crisis” early on in his first term? He also advised the crowd to “gird your loins,” since the tasks ahead for the next president will be “like cleaning the Augean stables man.”
President Obama is “Girding His Loins” in anticipation of Oversight investigations from the new Congress.
Apparently President Obama is shuffling staff (and hiring lots of lawyers) in order to prepare his administration to cope with the changes (and investigations) he anticipates he will be dealing with in the last two years of his term.
The The New York Times reported:
President Obama is planning the first major reorganization of his administration, preparing to shuffle several positions in the West Wing as he tries to fortify his political team for the realities of divided government and his own re-election.
The president is studying how to maximize the power of the executive branch, advisers said, seeking insight from veterans of previous administrations and fresh advice from business leaders to guide the second half of his term.
He is reviewing the restructuring plan during the holidays, aides said, and intends to make the first announcements in the opening days of January.
A reshaping of the economic team, beginning by naming a new director of the National Economic Council, is among the most urgent priorities of the new year. Gene Sperling, a counselor to the Treasury secretary who held the position in the Clinton administration, is among the final contenders to succeed Lawrence H. Summers in the job, along with Roger C. Altman, a Wall Street investment banker who also served in the Clinton administration.
When Republicans assume control of the House on Jan. 5, ending four years of a full Democratic majority in Congress, the president’s approach to policy and politics is poised to change on several fronts.
The White House is hiring more lawyers to handle oversight investigations from the new Congress, even as the president sets up a re-election headquarters in Chicago and considers ways to streamline operations inside the West Wing.[…]
Mr. Obama is reading the biography “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime,” by Lou Cannon, aides said, and recently completed “The Clinton Tapes,” by Taylor Branch, who chronicled the 42nd president through a series of private interviews.
Despite all his time studying the Clinton administration, Mr. Obama told his aides that he had no intention of following the precise path of Mr. Clinton, who after the Democratic midterm election defeats of 1994 ordered a clearing of the decks inside the White House, installed competing teams of advisers and employed a centrist policy of triangulation. In fact, several advisers confirmed, the word “triangulation” has been banned by Mr. Obama because he does not believe it accurately describes his approach.
On Wednesday afternoon, even as lawmakers were approving a burst of Mr. Obama’s legislative priorities in the waning hours of the Congressional session, the president and a small circle of advisers convened to sketch out the next two months. Mr. Obama intends not only to extend a hand to Republicans but also to begin detaching himself more from Congress and spending more time making his case directly to the American people.
“In a world of divided government, getting things done requires a mix of compromise and confrontation,” said Dan Peiffer, the White House communications director. “What are the things you can do without Congress? In some cases, that involves executive orders, but it also involves using the bully pulpit of the presidency to make a political argument about the direction of the country.”
So, the tasks ahead for the next president will be “like cleaning the Augean stables man.”
I wonder if the 112th Congress will feel the same way about their tasks?