Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich posited in a recent interview that Barack Obama's recent staff shakeup was turning his presidency into a sort of "third term" for former president Bill Clinton.
"It's sort of fascinating: You're sort of seeing the beginning of the third term of the Clintons, because the first two years of Obama was such a failure, in popular acceptance," Gingrich told Human Events. "The very cost of ramming through left-wing spending and left-wing bills, and creating left-wing bureaucracies has been a repudiation on such a scale that the president finds himself drawn more and more -- at the Office of Management and Budget, now at chief of staff -- to people who are Clintonites."
Gingrich came to the conclusion while talking about Obama's decision to name former Clinton officials Bill Daley and Jack Lew to high-profile administration positions. Daley, now the White House Chief of Staff, served as Clinton's commerce secretary, while Lew has been named director of the Office of Management and Budget, the same position he held under Clinton's watch.
But the influence of former Clinton confidants seems to stretch even beyond these high-profile positions. At the end of last year, HuffPost's Howard Fineman noted that Obama had largely relied on a variety of Clinton alums to help market his tax-cut compromise:
But an array of other Clinton vets has stepped up to handle the sales job on taxes on the Hill and in town. Key names include: Lawrence Summers, Gene Sperling, Ron Klain, Jack Lew and John Podesta. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is an early Obama advisor, but he's philosophically in tune with the economic views of the Clinton types.
As The Hill reports, it may all be a consequence of circumstance:
Obama's experience mirrors Clinton's to an extent, too. Clinton lost control of the House and Senate to Republicans in his first midterm election, just as Obama lost control of the House to the GOP after two years on the jobl. Clinton spent much of the rest of his administration pivoting toward the center, and Obama seems to be doing the same.
Whatever the reason, Gingrich seemed to enjoy the thought that the White House staff shakeup was rankling Obama's progressive base.
"It must be fascinating to be one of those left-wing activist groups, that spent so much time and energy beating Hillary Clinton, because they didn't want to see this kind of an administration," he said with a smile.