House Democrats, who voted in caucus today to oppose the tax deal, are in essence at war with the Clinton years — with Obama in the middle.
Barack Obama swept to power promising a new day and a new way, and he brought with him a cadre of top aides forged in the fire of the presidential campaign and the politics of Chicago.
The most visible Clinton alum, Rahm Emanuel, returned to Chicago to run for mayor.
But an array of other Clinton vets has stepped up to handle the sales job on taxes on the Hill and in town. Key names include: Lawrence Summers, Gene Sperling, Ron Klain, Jack Lew and John Podesta. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is an early Obama advisor, but he’s philosophically in tune with the economic views of the Clinton types.
Meanwhile, campaign honchos David Axelrod and Jim Messina — two Obama Originals — will soon be headed back to Chicago to lay the groundwork for the president’s 2012 campaign.
The significance of this staff shift is beyond the operational. The Clinton-era alums, by outlook and experience, represent a centrist, pragmatic, pro-business “wealth-creation” wing of the Democratic Party that flourished during the Clinton presidency in the 1990s.
But now the president finds himself in the same kind of environment that Clinton — as governor — encountered (and learned to thrive in) during his rise in the 1980s. It is one in which conservative Republicans control the terms of debate, if not all the levers of power.
It is therefore not surprising that Obama would turn to the Clintonites to sell some $800 billion worth of tax cuts to his fellow Democrats.
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- The Clinton Crew Takes Over (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama’s Compromise Not ‘Reaganesque’ or ‘Clintonian’ (politicsdaily.com)
- Henry in the House: Search for Summers’ successor drags on (cnn.com)
- Obama gets the Clinton band back together (politico.com)
- Inspiration vs. Substance (time.com)
- Don’t primary Obama, change Congress (salon.com)
- You: Remake of Obama Economic Team Broadens Scope (nytimes.com)