The nominations underscore how little time Obama has left
to accomplish an enduring governing legacy, and that on-the-job training, political drama and the unpredictability he discovered in some of his outside-the-Beltway nominees last time around have no place in a second-term administration. Nearly all of the men — and so far they are all men — have been with Obama, one way or another, since his first presidential campaign or early days in office.
“Unlike the first term, which was often referred to as a team of rivals, I think this is going to be more like a band of brothers,” said Karl F. Inderfurth, an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
It is not an uncommon approach for second-term presidents to take. But it leaves Obama vulnerable to criticism, including from his supporters, that he is burrowing deeper into an insular inner circle rather than reaching out for new people and their ideas about how to work most effectively with a sharply divided Congress.