Inside the Obama Administration
highesty level of government. While he has been repeatedly meeting with union
leaders over the last two years and playing golf, he has not been so attentive
to his cabinet members, and all is not peaceful. The Nobel Peace Prize winner
needs to work his magic close to home.
in New York magazine by veteran journalist John Heilemann, Obama has not yet
conferred with some six Cabinet members since becoming President. He certainly
has been busy appointing czars and czarinas, however, and advisers such as
Elizabeth Warren who is the de facto head of the Consumer Financial Protection
rebellious mood. There have recurring reports over the last few years that
Barack Obama relies on a small, hard-core group
of advisers to make and enact policy. He does not like “new people.”
Post reports that the White House is in repair mode-trying to tamper the
News this week of the first departure of a Cabinet secretary from the Obama
administration comes amid a wide-ranging effort under the new chief of staff, William
M. Daley, to repair badly frayed relations between the White
House and the Cabinet.During the first two years of President Obama‘s
term, the administration fully embraced just a few of his superstar picks —
people such as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and
Education Secretary Arne Duncan. But many
more agency chiefs conducted their business in relative anonymity, sometimes
after running afoul of White House officials.Both sides were deeply disgruntled. Agency heads privately complained that
the White House was a “fortress” that was unwilling to accept input and that
micromanaged their departments. Senior administration advisers rolled their eyes
in staff meetings at the mention of certain Cabinet members, participants said.Obama himself said his advisers were relying on him too frequently as a
messenger, rather than letting his appointees carry important themes to the
country, senior administration officials said. And the president felt isolated.
“One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I want to see these people more
often,’ ” Daley
said in an interview.
The top tier is prized, with Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F.
Geithner in good stead. So, too, is Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.,
even after some early angst over his decision to hold a controversial terrorism
trial in New York. They head the traditional “big four,” the original
departments created by George Washington, with the heftiest portfolios.
Additionally, aides said, Obama cherishes Duncan, who is a basketball buddy and
a charismatic advocate.Everyone else has had problems, to widely varying
There were internal battles among Cabinet members as well, but there is no
denying that the White House dropped the ball in managing the officials chosen
to lead the nation.
insulting, especially given the time spent on the golf links, at East Room
musical soirees, vacations, and pick-up basketball games with NBA
that the Obamas have found time to brew themselves at the White House, another