Rahm Emanuel's power as White House Chief of Staff was a thing of legend.
He allegedly confronted congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) in the congressional gym shower, naked as a jaybird, and poked his chest because the New York congressman wasn't going to vote for President Obama's budget.
"He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive," Massa said of Emanuel's desire to lock up vital votes on health care reform. "You think that somehow they didn't come after me to get rid of me because my vote is the deciding vote in the health care bill? Then, ladies and gentlemen, you live today in a world that is so innocent as to not understand what's going on in Washington, D.C."
Turns out, the White House is sorely missing that sort of bully tactic.
The guy who went to replace Emanuel, Chicago Bill Daley, is reportedly not up to the job of handling the volatile Washington D.C. Politics.
The 63-year-old scion of Chicago political royalty was brought in as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff to provide fresh blood, corporate-world experience and adult supervision to a young, free-wheeling White House staff. But critics inside and outside the West Wing are questioning whether he is the tough, competent manager needed to shake up the operation and propel Obama into the 2012 election year.
To some extent, Daley has been a victim of the increasingly difficult political circumstances Obama has had to confront this year. But he’s also been hampered, paradoxically, by his own inexperience, and particularly by the fact that he lacks the deep Capitol Hill connections of his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel.
As a banker and former secretary of commerce, Daley’s ability to soothe relations with Republicans was a major justification for bringing him from Chicago — much to the disgust of many Democrats who wanted Obama to take a more combative approach after the 2010 elections. But Daley’s failure to achieve any negotiating successes has only intensified the chorus of criticism from Democrats that Obama is too willing to compromise.
Specifically Daley is being blamed for creating a mess around President Obama's planned speech to the joint sessions of congress this month. Daley believed that House Speaker John Boehner had given his tacit approval for the speech on Sept. 7, when in fact he had not. Daley's mistake led to an embarrasing turnaround for the president.
There are plent of grumblings that the president will need to shake up his staff significanlty in order to save his reelection chances. Daley appears to be the fall guy in waiting.
That something that Emanuel wouldn't have let happen to himself.