This year's Washington meeting of the National League of Cities was all about the love from the Obama administration. Multiple cabinet secretaries addressed the meeting and talked up a new "partnership" between the feds and the locals, and seemed to meet it.

But the actual intergovernmental guy drew some groans. Valerie Jarrett, chief captain of Obama's intergovernmental team, had to cancel her appearance. She sent her chief of staff, Mike Strautmanis, in her stead.

Strautmanis said he hoped the crowd would forgive the switch. "I know you all have chiefs of staff back home and won't mind hearing from a chief of staff."

The notion that these small-town budget directors, mayors and city managers can boast chiefs of staff was greeted by certain but polite cries of, "Noooo!"