Personnel is policy.
Obama’s policy is the Perpetual Campaign.
Which is why he has surrounded himself with nothing but campaign goons.
Dan Gerstein has an excellent column on all the president’s hacks:
The president’s top advisers are not just overly political, they are almost totally political. Indeed, this West Wing is stacked with “hacks”–campaign professionals who are acculturated to think, act and win in the hothouse environments of elections, not to govern a bitterly divided country in extremely difficult times.
That doesn’t mean these staffers are unprincipled or unqualified; they are widely known to be smart, skilled team players. But they (and the few loyalists who fill out the Obama inner circle) come collectively to their highly influential jobs with a monochromatic mindset. And increasing evidence over the last several months–most notably the dramatic drop the president has suffered among independents–has indicated that this mindset is limiting, diminishing and potentially finishing to the Obama presidency.
Now, new presidents always bring trusted campaign advisers into their administrations. But they usually mix them with a range of serious governing professionals, who come with a very different ethos, to balance out the politicos and bring diverse perspectives into the presidential inner circle. This White House is disproportionately different. But Obama’s West Wing is devoid of governing wise men (think Leon Panetta for Bill Clinton, James Baker for the first George Bush and Clark Clifford for multiple Democrats). It is stocked almost exclusively with political pros and a handful of Friends of Barack whose main and often dominant frame of reference is partisan or personal.
Or as I put it: Nothing but tax cheats, crooks, and cronies from A to Z.