Guy Benson

Katie's already posted on the big news of the day: President Obama's White House Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, is stepping aside at the end of the month.  His replacement will be Jack Lew, Obama's current budget director -- who is set to become the president's fourth Chief of Staff in three years.  These events may be dismissed by some as yet another DC shake-up, but they are not insignificant developments.   Let's recall why Daley was (ostensibly) brought into the fold in the first place, one year ago this week:
 

His selection of the defiantly moderate Bill Daley as his new chief of staff, which drew predictable fire from liberals Thursday, underscores Obama’s determination to run from the center in 2012 and somewhat neutralize the outright hostility of many business groups to his administration.


Twelve months later, the pro-business moderate wants out and the centrist experiment is over.  Time to fire up the left-wing base.  This shouldn't come as much of a shock; Daley has never quite seemed at ease in his perch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and has challenged the party line a few times too many for liberals' liking.  A few examples, via the RNC:
 
(1) Admitting that excessive, job-killing federal regulations are "indefensible."
 
(2) Telling the truth about Medicare's fast-track to insolvency. (Are you listening, Debbie?)
 
(3) Cautioning against raising taxes in a weak economy.
 
(4) Conceding that Congressional Democrats' refusal to put forth a budget is "kind of ridiculous."

Daley's successor is a committed and unapologetic liberal, who by all accounts is a nice guy.  As I mentioned above, he also happens to be Obama's outgoing budget director.  In other words, the man who helped craft the president's disastrous 2012 budget (not to mention the forthcoming 2013 blueprint) will now lead all White House operations.  Rejoice, lefties.  That says a lot about this administration's commitment to relatively apolitical budgeting. In defending their surreal budget proposal last year, Lew made this claim:

"Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we're not adding to the debt anymore; we're spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt."
 
Left-leaning Politifact rated this statement as "false."  I think the evidence merits a "pants on fire" grade.  Obama's unanimously-defeated 2012 budget would have added nearly $10 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, and at no point even came close to reaching "primary balance" (eliminating the annual deficit)  -- even with it's insanely rosy revenue projections and trillions in new taxes.  Yet Lew and his boss were eager to "look the American people in the eye" and knowlingly repeat a completely inaccurate statement.  I think that's called "lying."  Now that Lew's been promoted, who will remain as the White House's top budget guru?  This woman, a political operator with no formal budget qualifications:
 

 
 
She received a fierce grilling from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), the ranking Republican on the committee, who has made it his mission to challenge the breathtaking array of mistruths, canards, falsehoods, and outright fiction emanating from the White House in regard to the budget (more on that here). Higginbottom seems like a nice enough person, but Sessions ultimately outs her as a poor saleswoman selling an even poorer product. But hey, at least she’s qualified!
 
What could go wrong?
 

UPDATE - Right on cue...
 

US Debt Is Now Equal To Economy

The amount of money the federal government owes to its creditors, combined with IOUs to government retirement and other programs, now tops $15.23 trillion. That's roughly equal to the value of all goods and services the U.S. economy produces in one year: $15.17 trillion as of September, the latest estimate. Private projections show the economy likely grew to about $15.3 trillion by December — a level the debt is likely to surpass this month.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography