The business community wants policy, not people
In addition to opposing health-care reform, it looks like Bill Daley also opposed the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And this report he co-chaired for the Chamber of Commerce in 2007, which primarily concerns itself with loosening the post-Enron rules on accounting and audits and getting the SEC to do less rulemaking and more "providing informal guidance" to financial players, is also raising eyebrows.
This speaks, I think, to Daley's presumed qualifications for the job, which is that his presence in the White House "would almost certainly improve icy relations between the Obama administration and business leaders." It's frankly slightly insulting to business leaders to say that their relationship with the White House relies on how many close personal friends they have in the building. It's not that that stuff doesn't matter, but what really matters, as you'd expect, are actual policy decisions. And the reason Daley is well liked by business, at least right now, is that he has been siding with them on major disputes. If he gets to the White House and stops doing that, he won't be as well liked among them.
If the administration wants more support from the business community, that's going to mean giving the business community more things that it wants, or at least fewer things that it doesn't want. So far, that's not happened because the administration has thought that good policy meant pushing some high-profile changes -- such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- that the business community really didn't like. If the administration decided it was wrong about that, and has resolved to not do things business doesn't like going forward, it can build a better relationship with the business community even without Daley. Conversely, if the administration plans to keep pushing policy it likes even if business doesn't like it, then relations with corporate America will be icy even if Daley is working the phones morning, noon and night.
You know the old saying, "nothing personal, this is just business"? Well, the business community knows it, too.
Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images.
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