Sure, newspaper archives going back decades are filled with stories chronicling how the White House was reining in the president’s Cabinet. But this might be different.

As Glenn Thrush reported in Politico Magazine last November, in an article entitled “Locked in the Cabinet,” “never has the job of Cabinet secretary seemed smaller. The staffers who rule Obama’s West Wing often treat his Cabinet as a nuisance.”

The thesis I would test in tackling a story about whether this president’s disconnect from his Cabinet is different goes back to that question about how “close” Obama was to Sebelius.

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Steven Brill , the author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight To Fix America’s Schools, has written for magazines including New York, The New Yorker, Time, Harper's, and The New York Times Magazine. He founded and ran Court TV, The American Lawyer magazine, ten regional legal newspapers, and Brill's Content magazine. He also teaches journalism at Yale, where he founded the Yale Journalism Initiative.