As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Massive White House Turnover a Smart Move

POLITICO’s Carol Lee and Glenn Thrush have a good piece up this morning on who’s in the running for various positions in the West Wing.

This amounts to the most sweeping turnover in a West Wing that I’ve ever seen. Almost everyone is changing jobs or leaving, except the president. It looks like Valerie Jarrett stays as a top adviser. Everyone assumes Pete Rouse moves from acting to permanent chief of staff.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton
Bill Burton: "Dude, I can totally do this."
Photo by Keith Koffler

Big question mark on the press secretary post. Gibbs is leaving the post, and seems likely to assume a senior White House role, though it’s still uncertain he’ll stay. Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton wants the job bad, and he’s shown he can handle the briefings. But whether President Obama will put the public face of his presidency in the hands of a relatively inexperienced 33 year old is unclear.

The Obama White House takes a lot of cues from the last two-term Democratic president. At about this point in his presidency, in 1995, Bill Clinton brought in Mike McCurry, a veteran hand who turned out to be one of the most effective press secretaries ever and who helped save Clinton twice – from defeat in the 1996 campaign and from the jaws of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

I love writing “sex scandal.”

David Plouffe, the man most responsible for bringing you President Obama, ends his outside role and enters the White House in January, possibly the first week of the month. He’s a detail guy who might make the place a more professional type outfit than it’s been so far. His role seems to correlate to that of David Gergen, whom Clinton brought into the White House during his first time to provide some badly needed adult supervision.

With Plouffe and Rouse running the show, possbily along with Gibbs and Jarrett, the adults will be in charge. And Republicans need not get overconfident.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

9 Responses to Massive White House Turnover a Smart Move

  1. re: sex scandal
    Let’s be mature here and call it “The Incident of the Blue Dress” or “Dry Cleaning is a President’s Best Friend”.

    MrPlouff is supposedly going to be the point man in the re-election campaign. A job inside the WH would seem to put him in an awkward position to run a national campaign.
    If I were the current POTUS, MrClinton would be my main press man.
    He loves the podium and nobody does it better.

  2. Adults? We will differ on this one, Keith. Jarrett is an inside operator–for her own self-interest. Plouffe is purry-voiced and sneaky-sounding. Goulsbee–well, no comment. Gibbs–always sounds so amateur-hour, won’t miss him. Can’t stand Burton. Since when are adults some gold standard?I hate being an adult. What’s that mean, anyhow–bossy, think they are so great. (OK, this may say something about my childhood, LOL.) At least tell me they will still have that speech writer who used to get falling down drunk during the campaign–when he was probably almost singled-handedly responsible for the blab-a-thons that got Obama elected. At least he was not an adult!

    • Remember, this group made someone with no apparent qualifications for the office president. They ran a campaign that made Hillary’s veterans look like amateur hour. Gibbs speaks slowly but is extremely smart. And purry voiced people can be adults! Rouse ran the Senate. They will put someone of stature and probably with Wall Street experience at NEC.

      • As I said, we differ on this puppy. I see no value in adults–being one and being controlled by others has almost ruined my life. I don’t consider any of these people an authority figure I respect. We thought we were electing adults to keep an eye on macroecnomics, to keep things going–look how that turned out!