Re the White House re-staffing, a little history to remind us how far we’ve come in pursuit of administrative efficiency at the Executive level.
Before Eisenhower there was no such office as “chief of staff” in the White House. There were presidential assistants like FDR’s Marvin McIntire and Truman’s Clark Clifford but no administrative boss over the president’s staff. Ike introduced the chief of staff concept because, having served his entire life in the military, he liked things channeled through a single deputy.
The idea took hold and all succeeding presidents have had chiefs of staff, including Jimmy Carter who, in typical Carteresque fashion, said he was abolishing the position, then appointed Hamilton Jordan to carry out its function. Nixon had his Haldeman, Reagan his Jim Baker and Donald Regan, Bush 41 his John Sununu and Bush 43 his Andy Card.
Now comes Barack Obama’s second chief of staff, William Daley, said to be a business-oriented functionary with an eye to carrying out his President’s State of the Union pledge to give the American people “a government that’s more competent and more efficient.”
Daley’s first act? He has, according to the Washington Post, “hired his own chief of staff, Emmett Beliveau.”
So now we have a chief of staff to the chief of staff. What, I wonder, would General Ike think?