The major difference between Emanuel and Daley is one of temperament. Emanuel is fiery, profane, intense; Daley is calm, gruff, matter-of-fact. In this, Daley -- whose appointment was announced Thursday -- resembles the man who was installed on Wednesday as speaker of the House, John Boehner.
There are more than a few similarities between these men who were born a year apart and grew up in the 1950s. They come from large Catholic families and were involved early in their (quite different) family businesses. They both speak in bluff tones in thick Midwestern accents. Neither pretends to be a profound political philosopher.
From my interchanges with them, infrequent but over the span of two decades, I've found that they both have good political judgment on both people and issues, including a keen sense of when their own side is about to get clobbered.
Boehner clearly understood that his party was headed for a thumping in 2006, when other House Republicans were professing optimism. Daley in a Christmas Eve 2009 article in The Washington Post argued that to hold onto their majority Democrats needed "to steer a more moderate course on the issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan."
Daley and Boehner have not dealt much with each other in the past; Boehner was only a junior member when Daley was whipping votes for NAFTA. But it's not hard for me to see these two guys negotiating agreements on major issues.
On the debt ceiling, for example, Boehner has indicated that he knows it must be raised but that he demands spending cuts in return. He's obviously having trouble rallying Republican votes. Daley surely understands this and is capable of putting together a package of concessions on spending.
The question is whether Obama will approve. He clearly wants potential job creators to think he will follow the advice Daley gave 13 months ago. But he didn't follow it then. Will he now?