Some of the calls for a White House shake-up are now coming from inside the building.
Frustrated current and former West Wing staffers, speaking on condition of anonymity, told POLITICO they hoped Tuesday night’s humbling losses would persuade President Barack Obama to pursue a much more sweeping fix than just the “natural” post-election churn of personnel his administration has insisted will take place.
Many of those changes are already being seriously considered, among them: replacing Political Director Patrick Gaspard with a former top aide to Rahm Emanuel; replacing Deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, who is expected to move to Obama’s 2012 campaign, with Legislative Affairs Director Phil Schiliro; and possibly giving White House energy czar Carol Browner expanded policy responsibilities.
But if Obama’s critics are focusing on his agenda and messaging, many on his team are urging him to address what they see as a major organizational flaw: an amorphous, ill-defined chain of command in the West Wing that concentrates too much power in too few hands, hampering efficiency, accountability and communication.
“If there’s still only five, 10 people making decisions, then we haven’t learned our lesson from Tuesday,” said one aide, who believes the problem starts with Obama’s insistence on giving his senior advisers, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, broadly sketched responsibilities.