Obama's new (sort of) chief of staff, Bill Daley, sat down with Politico for an exclusive interview. And boy did he deliver. The political veteran didn't hold back when talking about Obama's first three years, the deplorable poll numbers, and especially Obama's plans to circumvent Congress.
For starters, when it comes to the first three years of Obama's presidency, Daley called the period "brutal" and "ungodly."
“It’s been a brutal three years,” he explained. “It’s been a very, very difficult three years, an incredible three years. And we are doing all this under the overhang of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. F—k! It wasn’t like all this was happening in good times.”
“Considering the debacle that he came in with, the tough choices he’s made and how there have been few, if any breaks, he says it himself all the time,” Daley said . “He doesn’t know why he’s as high as 44 percent.”
That was supposed to be a joke.
And then there's the plan on running an end-around on Congress. Daley was very candid about that:
“On the domestic side, both Democrats and Republicans have really made it very difficult for the president to be anything like a chief executive,” Daley says. “This has led to a kind of frustration.”
The president’s solution? “Let’s figure out what we can do [without Congress] and push the envelope on some of these things,” Daley says.
Daley recognizes that there are three branches of government and the president leads only one of them, but now is the time for him to flex his muscles and show what he can do without the squabbling, ineffective — and far less popular than even he — Congress.
“On the foreign policy-military side, you can act pretty quickly,” Daley says. “That is why the president, based upon frustration, is doing this ‘we can’t wait.’ He is going to every agency, every department, and saying, ‘What can you do on your own? What can we not have to wait for legislation to do?’ ”
Daley slaps one hand into the other with a sharp crack. “Let’s re-emphasize what powers we have! What we can do on our own! Push the envelope!”
Which is why the president has recently announced new plans to refinance homes, ease the debt burden of some college students and fast-track former military medics into private-sector hospital jobs.
Congress? He don’t need no stinkin’ Congress! There is an obvious downside: Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress soon will grow furious over this. But that is for the future. Obama has to address the here and now, and Congress is getting in the way of that.
“We are trying to do something in this modern presidency that has been very much engulfed by the legislative process, Democrat and Republican, over the last 40 years,” Daley says.
Instead of continuing to butt heads with Congress, the White House is going to turn its back on it when it can. (“Whether it will rise to the level of building a dam without going to Congress, that’s not realistic,” Daley says.)
To be fair, the executive branch does have powers the others don't. But has that ever been flaunted, or combed through, like Daley is suggesting?
Either way, Daley's preparing for what's ahead.
“You can just feel this electorate is very volatile. So strap yourself in.”
(H/T: Business Insider)