Leading article: No crisis in the White House

Share
Related Topics

The departure of Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, to run for mayor of Chicago marks, more than any other single event, the end of the first chapter of the Obama presidency.

The hard-driving Mr Emanuel was chosen for arguably the most pivotal job in the American system of government. His aggressive style, combined with his previous experience at the Clinton White House and later as part of the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill, made him the ideal person to force through Mr Obama's ambitious legislative agenda.

There is a pattern to American presidencies. A president's power to have his way with Congress is never greater than early on, when memories of his national electoral mandate are fresh, before scandals and the inevitable missteps sap his popularity and his authority. So it has been with this White House.

Mr Emanuel's tenure saw the passage of the largest economic stimulus package in US history, the most sweeping overhaul of healthcare in half a century, and new financial regulation for Wall Street – all in the teeth of unyielding Republican opposition in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now the initial activist phase is over, and Mr Obama's energies for the next two years will be focused less on changing the country than securing his own re-election in 2012.

Mr Emanuel's going is not a moment of crisis for the President. Burnout comes quickly in the White House pressure cooker, and chiefs of staff rarely serve a full presidential term. Probably he would have stayed longer, but the job of mayor – one to which Mr Emanuel had long and openly aspired – suddenly came open, and he threw his hat into the ring. But the changeover also presents Mr Obama with an opportunity. The quiet-spoken Pete Rouse, Mr Emanuel's temporary successor, will bring a different, less frenetic, tone to the White House. However, Mr Rouse too is part of the President's tight-knit inner circle. It makes sense not to bring in an outsider now, with mid-term elections just a month away. But with other top aides also departing, Mr Obama should act quickly afterwards to bring fresh blood to the White House.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
 

Never underestimate the power of the National Trust

Boyd Tonkin
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss