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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/24/2010

Friday question

By Jennifer Rubin

Reports suggest that the president is looking outside the administration for a new chief of staff. Whom would you recommend and why? All answers should be in by 6 p.m. Sunday.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 24, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Friday question  
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Comments

I'd recommend Groucho Marx if he weren't already occupied. Failing that I'd love to see Dana Perino get in there and shake things up. But I'm sure Obama would never consider anyone he and Michelle couldn't intimidate. And I doubt that Dana would do it even if he asked her. For her it would be lose/lose from beginning to end.

Posted by: Mortisimus | December 24, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Jon Kyl. Make sure to surrender all policy and staffing responsibility.

Posted by: cavalier4 | December 24, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I would appointment Krauthammer,among the leaders of punditville,he has the best understanding of recent events.

Obama's new start
COMMENT
406 Comments | View All »
By Charles Krauthammer
Thursday, December 23, 2010; 8:00 PM
"Riding the lamest of ducks, President Obama just won the Triple Crown. He fulfilled (1) his most important economic priority, passage of Stimulus II, a.k.a. the tax cut deal (the perfect pre-re-election fiscal sugar high - the piper gets paid in 2013 and beyond); (2) his most important social policy objective, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell"; and (3) his most cherished (achievable) foreign policy goal, ratification of the New START treaty with Russia.
Politically, these are all synergistic. The bipartisan nature of the tax deal instantly repositioned Obama back to the center. And just when conventional wisdom decided the deal had caused irreparable alienation from his liberal base, Obama almost immediately won it back - by delivering one of the gay rights movement's most elusive and coveted breakthroughs.
The symbolism of the don't ask, don't tell repeal cannot be underestimated. It's not just that for the civil rights community, it represents a long-awaited extension of the historic arc - first blacks, then women, now gays. It was also Obama decisively transcending the triangulated trimming of Bill Clinton, who instituted don't ask, don't tell in the first place. Even more subtly and understatedly, the repeal represents the taming of the most conservative of the nation's institutions, the military, by a movement historically among the most avant-garde. Whatever your views, that is a cultural landmark.
Then came START, which was important for Obama not just because of the dearth of foreign policy achievements these past two years but because treaties, especially grand-sounding treaties on strategic arms, carry the aura of presidential authority and diplomatic mastery.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/23/AR2010122303877.html

Posted by: rcaruth | December 24, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Is it beyond the pale to suggest Sarah Palin? She has executive experience. She has in-depth knowledge and experience with energy issues. She would break the cocoon of yes-men and liberal group-think that currently hampers the White House's efforts to steer to the middle of the political spectrum. Above all, she could guide the President in understanding and relating to red-state America, and give him a healthy introduction to the importance of self-sufficiency in America's character.

Posted by: CylonCat | December 24, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I would say Ed Rendell. He is a mainstream liberal, but that's the best we can expect from Obama. At least Rendell has significant experience as mayor and governor and has shown some comprehension of fiscal realities. He is widely respected and a serious person in his own right rather than strictly a DC functionary. He's been an executive, has dealt successfully with legislative bodies, and is married to a federal judge; he should know how government works. His appointment would be a signal that grown-ups are in charge again. (Whether he would take the job at 67 is, of course, another matter. Maybe as a two-year deal.)

Posted by: Mahon1 | December 24, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I'd nominate Governor Chris Christie.

He'd be everything that Obama would want in a decisive, principled, articulate head of office. Further, he'd ably assist Obama's 'pivot toward the center' of American citizen opinion, opening the path to re-election in 2012 via an adroit, hoop-like course reversal. We might even hope that he'd go head-to-head with, and demolish in argument, the toadies Axelrod and Gibbs - publicly of course, with myself in front-row seating.

Nothing would provide a better Christmas gift to the average American citizen.

Posted by: InsufficientlySensitive | December 24, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@:rcaruth | December 24, 2010 1:33 PM
"I would appointment Krauthammer"
________

If you did, Krauthammer would appointment you back.

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 24, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I recommend Nancy Pelosi for the president's chief of staff. Together with Joe "BFD" Biden it completes a trifecta from hell.

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 24, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Longshot: Bob Corker. One of the smartest and most pragmatic R's in DC. Picking him would signal Obama is really committing to a bipartisan centrist path. He voted for START and knows how to work across the aisle.

A little more likely: either Erskine Bowles or Bruce Reed. Put one of them them in charge and make Bowles Simpson the top legislative priority for 2011.

Posted by: EricR1 | December 24, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I always liked Ari Fleischer, but my guess is that he will not be offered the position. How about Bob Beckel? He's a Dem, but not a shrill mindless partisan. A moderate and mature Democrat is probably what this administration could use after November 2.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | December 24, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Judd Gregg, if he'd take it. Or Erskine Bowles, to show a commitment toward fiscal reorganization.

Posted by: DrBerkeley | December 24, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The best chief of stuff is a political power person who has no personal ambitions, but is excellent in "behind the screens" sort of dealings. For a democrat like Obama, he needs a Clinton era person. I would go with Terry McAuliffe, who knows everybody, and is capable of coaxing the remaining (mostly liberal) democrats on the Hill to side with Obama rather than Nancy Pelosi. When it comes to intra-party fights, liberal vs. ultra-liberal style, Obama needs every friend he can get, or otherwise say good bye to getting done anything at all (and thus his reelection chances).

Posted by: Mhym | December 24, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Thomas A. DASCHLE - Would make a perfect Chief of Staff

Posted by: tintin081 | December 24, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Aw geeze....
I noticed most of these comments named people pretty much INSIDE government.
Given the landscape, maybe he should go outside the country....Tomy Blair or Bono?
Whomever Obama might pick probably matters little. Should be fun to analyze who actually wins the slot.

Posted by: daskinner | December 24, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

It just amazes me that a quorum of right-wing looney tunes remains in DC over the holidays and finds the time to lard the Post's website with their idiocies. Oh, Santa, let me lift up a rock and shed a little sunlight on these Dutch Cleanser-smoking, ersatz conservative, janissaries: even with the recently announced census changes, there won't be enough idiots in the nation in 2012 to functionally alter Congress or the White House--even if President Obama were to select Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan as his chief-of-staff. Better that Sheen or Lohan be chosen to fill Michael Steele's shoes. They'd assuredly make more sense than he did, or Mitch McConnell or Betsy-Wetsy Boehner do in their respective positions.

Posted by: woodmack | December 24, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I like Woodmack, based on the last comment. That would pretty much assure a GOP win 2012, but he probably doesn't count. Sarah Palin and Groucho Marx have already been taken. Too bad. Obama could pick one of the two adults left in the administration, Hillary or Leon Panetta, but they might give him a time out and make him stand in the corner. Bo the dog would have more intellectual heft and gravitas than anyone Obama would want, so he's out. Michelle would have LESS intellectual heft and gravitas than anyone he would want (nice arms though), so she's out too. Richard Daley would have a nice symetry, but why would he take a step down? Arianna Huffington would be fine, but he couldn't understand a word she said with that accent. So at the end of the day I have to go with Jerry Brown, if only to head off a primary challenge in 2012. Brown has had two or three hundred years of experience in politics, and he will be out of a job by way of recall in about two months. A perfect marriage.

Posted by: Larry3435 | December 24, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@woodmack | December 24, 2010 8:32 PM
"there won't be enough idiots in the nation in 2012"
_______________

Are you leaving?

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 24, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd recommend Shirley Sherrod. She has the pulse of poor people, and group that Obama has neglected.

Posted by: monamlisa | December 25, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

You are serious, right? This isn't some free-for-all joke, right?

If he wants a woman then Caroline Kennedy, because she is thorough and has excellent political sense (it got him elected, didn't it?), and if he wants a man then Arnold Schwarzenegger, he's loud and can tell anybody "Ef You" and people back away (plus he's wide enough to block the door to the President). lol.

Yes. woodmack, "a quorum of right-wing looney tunes remains... over the holidays and finds the time to lard the Post's website..." with our funny comments, come now, its Christmas! lol.

Posted by: darkasnight1234 | December 25, 2010 4:35 AM | Report abuse

I would recommend Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy. Pardon him and put them in the white house. For Israel's sake! Whatever is good for Israel is good for us.

Posted by: wpost16 | December 25, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Colin Powell, Ed Rendell, Ari Fleischer, Fareed Zakaria, Erskine Bowles, Paul Krugman, Bill Richardson and Bill Clinton would all be good Chief of Staff in there times we need to think differently on governing

Posted by: tomi1 | December 25, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I'll venture a serious suggestion: Ted Kaufmann. He was Biden's former Chief of Staff and now has two years in the US Senate. A low key guy as a successor to Rahmbo.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 25, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Colin Powell, Ed Rendell, Ari Fleischer, Fareed Zakaria, Erskine Bowles, Paul Krugman, Bruce Reed, Bill Richardson, Thomas Daschle and Bill Clinton would all be good Chief of Staff in there times we must think differently on governing

Posted by: tomi1 | December 25, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Does no one here except tintin081 understand what the Chief of Staff does?
Just watch West Wing reruns.

Thomas A. DASCHLE was Obama's original first choice for HHS, and, considering that ACA is #1 GOP priority for repeal/hearings/defunding, Daschle would indeed make a perfect Chief of Staff.

The only way for Obama-Reid-Pelosi to salvage ACA is to work with the Senate on how to split ACA into reform priorities in 2011. If they refuse to reform, they will be consumed, because, by April, ACA will be more definitively linked with lagging job growth. Small businesses with less than 20 employees are already being dropped by their health insurance carriers.

Bill Clinton would be a good pick in that then we would actually have a president in the WH, but I think he would be better as Press Secretary :)

Looking forward to the Friday question as to who will replace SecDef Robert Gates!


Posted by: K2K2 | December 25, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

H. R. Haldeman

Posted by: chasart | December 25, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson. He knows the world outside the bubble pretty well and isn't all that impressed by the bubble itself. Knows how to talk to idiots...

Posted by: thanksforfish | December 25, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I have to second the motion in nominating Ed Rendell as Obama's new Chief of Staff. Not only was Rendell a successful politician in a key state the Dems need to recapture -- he was a District Attorney and Mayor of Philadelphia and governor of Pennsylvania -- but he is also a former chairman of both the DNC and National Governors Association. He appeals to both the liberal base and to more moderate Democrats. Despite his liberal views, he is respected by Republicans and has tried to reach out to Conservatives through his frequent appearances on Fox News. He might be the one Democratic able to work with new Republican majority in the House and act a go-between with Harry Reid and the more conservative members (Republicans and Democrats) of the Senate. While he is most definitely a liberal when it comes to social issues, he might be able to assuage the surging Tea Party with his record of cost-cutting and balancing budgets when he was mayor and governor. Yeah, he would be a good choice.

Posted by: braunt | December 25, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Let me suggest Robert Mugabe. He could give Obama pointers on how to complete the job of turning this country into a socialist dictatorship! Oh, wait! Mugabe is taken. He's still destroying Rhodesia! Well,

Posted by: georges2 | December 25, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking Haley Barbour. It's a win-win.

Obama gets to show he really is committed to bipartisanship while Haley shows that he secretly wasn't a member of the KKK growing up - or at least he's put it behind him.

And as an added benefit Haley actually has executive experience and knows how to govern.

Posted by: jay22 | December 25, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I would recommend a prominent active or former Governor , Cabinet Secretary or Senator (from a Red State )a Blue Dog Democrat or Independent e. g., Charlie Christ of Florida .

Posted by: dmfarooq | December 25, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Jon Bon Jovi would like a promotion from that advisory panel he was just appointed to.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 25, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought about Crist, but no DC experience and off a humiliating campaign. Richardson is angling for SoS in the second term.

@K2^2 - Seems an odd statement from you. Why wouldn't Biden's former Chief of Staff (and now an ex-Senator) be qualified for the post?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 25, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

YOU. At least then we wouldn't have to be bothered by your inanities anymore.

Posted by: frb2749 | December 25, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

YOU. At least then we wouldn't have to be bothered by your inanities anymore.

Posted by: frb2749 | December 25, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Another 24 hours have passed, and what does one find? Just more right-wing nut-bag gibberish (the nomination of J. Pollard was especially rich--we should have executed that SOB and his father years ago).

In answer to M. LeGrand: yes, I did in fact leave, and in Europe I can save myself much embarrassment by suggesting that I am a Canadian.

Meanwhile, M. LeGrand's gene pool in France finds the cult of ersatz conservatism and thug fundamentalist christianity in America amusing enough to ridicule in "Le Canard Enchaine".

Posted by: woodmack | December 25, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Some very interesting and thoughtful suggestions.

However, fussing over the chief of staff position overlooks the root of the problem. My recommendation would be that Oboobma and Biden resign together and let President Boehner pick up the pieces after this disaster.

Posted by: thebump | December 25, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

If I'm limited to chief of staff nominations, my vote is Bill Ayers.

Posted by: thebump | December 25, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

@woodmack - good riddance

Posted by: thebump | December 25, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

If he wanted to succeed, it should be Bill Clinton — to whom he already once surrendered the podium. Bubba as chief of staff would ensure a second term. But I'd rather Obama not succeed with his agenda.

So ... I nominate Valerie Jarrett. The closer he can tighten his inner circle, the less effective in achieving his agenda he will be.

Posted by: jlakely | December 25, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, who hit the ridiculous button on these responses? The Chief of Staff should be someone who shares the goals of the president and can be a trusted surrogate with a passion for managing people, staying out of the spotlight, and remembering that the guy who got elected (the president) is ultimately in charge. It's not clear to me how, for example, Sarah Palin (!) would fit those criteria.

Personally, I think Robert Reischauer would be a great selection. PhD economist, ran the CBO, has been a leader in a variety of organizations both inside and outside of government, has expertise in a variety of fields, and is a person of great integrity who doesn't crave the spotlight.

Posted by: jeffwacker | December 25, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin

Posted by: ZoltanNewberry | December 26, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin.............

Yes, Sarah Palin

Posted by: ZoltanNewberry | December 26, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin.............

Yes, Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin

Posted by: ZoltanNewberry | December 26, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin

Posted by: thebump | December 26, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade: I did not see your suggestion of Ted Kaufman until after mine got posted. And, I almost added a second to your nomination, so I shall do it now. Every time I saw Ted Kaufman as a Senator, I was very impressed. He would be an excellent Chief of Staff, except for my suspicion that Obama will want someone he really trusts, and Kaufman may be too close to Biden. The 'palace intrigue' factor.

I always thought Tom Daschle was the best choice for Obama's first Chief of Staff back in 2008. They are very close. And I truly believe ACA 'ObamaCare' will eat Obama alive in 2011 unless he has a strategy to work with the Senate to balance whatever the GOP-led House is going to do.

Otherwise, I suppose Obama could re-assign General Petraeus as CoS to deal with the counter-insurgency on Capitol Hill???

Posted by: K2K2 | December 26, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

True to form...Obama should form a commission dominated by his fellow Republicans and let them decide on the next chief of staff. Then Obama should shove down the throats of the opposition Democratic Party.

Did you ask who should direct Obama's 2012 campaign....of course that should be no one other than his Republican buddy Karl Rove. I would suggest Obama pick Contdilisa Rice for his running mate.

The dems better get a real leader of the working class for 2012 or I'm voting for Palin as a protest vote....assuming Nader doesn't run again.

Posted by: go2goal | December 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Gee, reading these comments leaves me surprised that so many Republicans read the Washington Post. Unfortunately, it's the Republican version of reading, since it's clear they haven't learned anything.

Posted by: donaldcallen | December 26, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@k2k2 - Agreed. It seems like Biden is a trusted right hand man. Even though I was totally for Hillary, that would have been an uneasy relationship. Can't say as I can complain as she's a sensational SoS.

Daschle would be a great pick, though I wonder if the Republicans have set fire to too many bridges. I think Powell would be an interesting pick at Defense, but CoS isn't in the cards.

B

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 27, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

@woodmack | December 25, 2010 9:12 PM:
"In answer to M. LeGrand: yes, I did in fact leave, and in Europe I can save myself much embarrassment by suggesting that I am a Canadian."
_________

Europe was a good choice. There are many villages that have a resident-idiot vacancy. Canadians are especially prized.

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 27, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@Cyloncat wrote:Is it beyond the pale to suggest Sarah Palin? She has executive experience. She has in-depth knowledge and experience with energy issues.
___________________________________________

ok suggesting Palin is not beyond the pale, just beyond intelligence. First, she has experience at quitting. Just because someone can chant a slogan,*Drill baby drill* does not give her knowledge about energy issues. I would like to suggest someone who uses only sign language as form of commuincation. The reason is when he or she gives the repugs the middle finger everytime they come up with some lame slogan it can be excused. This way president Obama can tell the repugs where to go & what to do( like we all know he wants to) he can't be blamed or attacked. This is a win/win for the president and the american people because we all want to tell repugs where to go & what to do while they are there...

Posted by: Realistic5 | December 28, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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