Do not believe one word of White House spin about the status of Chief of Staff Bill Daley. My read: His role has been diminished and redefined, but it would be very damaging for President Obama if he were to quit. So, being the gracious man that he is, he is willing to put up with the unflattering, contorted explanations about his past performance and future responsibilities.

This reflects poorly on Obama as a manager. The best managers can get good work out of a variety of personalities with different strengths and weaknesses. Daley is a titan of American commerce, law and politics. It's a bad sign that someone as mature, accomplished and practical as he is can't be used effectively.

Perhaps this White House is no place for successful, credentialed, somewhat less partisan leaders. Example: Gen. Jim Jones was Obama's national security advisor from January 2009 to November 2010, but there was always speculation that he was there only as a token, to suggest that Obama was comfortable with national security hawks.

With the exception of a few adults on the national security staff, the Obama White House is mostly full of yes-men, clerks and family favorites. My political side appreciates that they're unlikely to produce the policy victories or economic results that could make an Obama reelection more likely. As a citizen, however, it alarms me that a guy like Daley can’t fit in.