Finally, Greg Sargent at The Washington Post’s The Plum Line blog also focuses on the messaging aspect of Daley’s appointment, arguing that the problem with it is that it undermines much of what the president has achieved and argued for in his first two years. After first praising exactly those achievements, Sargent writes that hiring Daley—who has criticized things like the push for health care reform—is capitulating to unreasonable critics.

Republicans and conservatives have uniformly condemned the Obama administration as in the grip of unrepentant leftism run amok. Yet what’s actually happened is that in so doing, Republicans have moved to the right, and we’ve all agreed to move what we arbitrarily call the “center” to the right in order to accomodate this.

The pick of Daley, however, will reinforce the conventional narrative that Obama has recognized the error of his ultraliberal ways and has picked a “seasoned Beltway hand” to steer the adminstration back to the center. Obviously this is only one of many things to consider about the Daley pick, and there may be many other good reasons to pick him that outweigh this problem.
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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.