December 11, 2013

Podesta joining Obama carries implications beyond Obama

John Podesta, former Clinton Chief of Staff (1998-2001) is joining team Obama and it is purely as a result of the presidents abysmal and dropping job approval ratings.  It's a political move through and through.  Expect Podesta to clean house with White House staff, or at least appear to clean house in order to put some support and to the hopes of Democrats, a floor under Obama's flagging job approval ratings.  Whether it works or not remains to be seen, although for it to make a difference, it would have probably had to have happened a long time ago.  The damage is probably irreparable by now.  The real implications however, lie elsewhere - many of them, with Clinton.
Expect to not see this.  But it will still be there.

Firstly, a lot of  supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline project initially viewed Podesta's onboarding as a death knell for the project.  They were right to worry.  Although news came out that he will recuse himself from Keystone XL discussions, it isn't like he won't discuss the matter with Obama in private.  It still portends bad news for the pipeline's supporters.  There isn't really going to be a firewall between him and Obama on the pipeline.

It also should retroactively raise an eyebrow for those who supported Bill Clinton's presidency if they care at all about jobs and his legacy as the supposed economic wunderkind (no, you can thank the Republican wave of 1994 for the economic resurgence during the Clinton presidency).  If Podesta does and did value vague, half-truth climate histrionics over jobs and economic prosperity, then what does that say about him being part of Bill Clinton's inner circle?  It means that Clinton may very well have been on the same page, despite being able to read the tea leaves on public sentiment about economic growth and prosperity post-1994.

Another Clinton angle is that Podesta would certainly be a member of a Hillary Clinton presidency and getting Podesta in there can serve as an ear and a heads-up to Clinton about decisioning coming out of the White House.  She'll be better prepared to comment on presidential items as she will have advanced notice and time to prepare.  Additionally, Podesta "cleaning house" might be designed to serve as window dressing from Obama's perspective, it could also help clear the way to put Clintonian elements in key positions for her coming presidency.  Should she win, she could hit the ground running so to speak with her agenda.

Frankly I'm much more worried about the Clinton implications than the Obama implications of Podesta coming on board with the White House.

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