The hires of Gene Sperling and Bill Daley cemented the conventional wisdom that the Administration would tack right for the 2012 election. I wasn’t entirely certain. They were replacing Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers, after all. I didn’t see a lot of change one way or the other here.
But the hiring of Bruce Reed as Joe Biden’s chief of staff is another matter.
Vice President Joe Biden announced today that Bruce Reed will succeed Ron Klain in the role of Chief of Staff for the Office of the Vice President. Mr. Reed has most recently worked for the Administration as Executive Director of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the Bowles-Simpson Commission. In addition, the Vice President announced that one of his closest advisors, Michael C. Donilon, will be returning to his previous position as Counselor to the Vice President.
“I’ve known and admired Bruce for over 20 years,” said Vice President Biden. “We worked closely together to pass the crime bill in the 1990s and I’ve frequently sought his advice and counsel in the years since. He brings a unique blend of experience and perspective to this position and his leadership will be a tremendous asset to my office, and to the entire White House. I’m also very pleased that my friend and closest advisor, Mike Donilon, will be returning to the White House in his role as Counselor. His wit, humor and guidance have been missed and we are all very happy to have him back.”
Reed was the chief domestic policy advisor to Bill Clinton in the “school uniforms and welfare reform” phase of the second term. After that, he headed the DLC for the entire Bush Administration. And then he was picked as the executive director of the Cat Food Commission.
Resume a go-go.
I don’t recall Ron Klain having one iota of involvement in policy debates when he was Joe Biden’s chief of staff for the first two years. But Reed is being given a larger portfolio; he’s an assistant to the President as well as Chief of Staff. In addition, with the departure of Emanuel, Biden has taken on a greater role in negotiations with Congress. He nailed down the tax cut deal with Mitch McConnell, and played a role in getting new START done. And now, the former DLC chair and Bowles-Simpson executive director will be his top deputy.
The last big project I remember Reed involved with before Bowles-Simpson was a policy book with Rahm Emanuel. He has been the face of corporate-friendly Democrats for at least a decade. And despite the increasing irrelevance of the DLC over the course of his tenure, clearly he’s a dragon you cannot slay in Washington.
Ironically enough, this hire probably signals the end of the DLC as an organization, as Reed has basically been the only name keeping it alive for the past few years. But the ideas live on in a Democratic White House.