December 16, 2008
Le Grand Old Party?
As the Republican Party in America frantically tries to regroup after its losses in November, it may want to avoid the mistakes of another party that finds itself in a similar predicament: the French Socialists.
Ambinder's post on Jarrett also drew my attention to the appointment of Michael Strautmanis as her deputy. I'll try to post more on the notoriously charming Strautmanis later, but at first glance this seems like a natural partnership. Jarrett and Strautmanis (who became fast friends during Obama's Senate race) worked together on outreach quite a bit during this campaign--including on Team Obama's efforts to win over members of the traditional black leadership, back in the day when much of that leadership was still in the Clinton camp.
Beware Valerie Jarrett
Look out, Washington, it appears that Valerie Jarrett will be heading the newly combined offices of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison. In light of the influence Jarrett’s office will have over the spending priorities of the Obama White House, Marc Ambinder is predicting Jarrett will, after Rahm Emanuel, wind up being the second most important person in this administration. This seems like a safe bet. For years now, neither Obama has made much of a move without Jarrett’s input.
December 15, 2008
An amusing tidbit from today's Times story on Obama appointees whose spouses have potential conflicts of interest: Several other spouses of people tapped for top Obama administration jobs have careers connected to government. Susan E. Rice, the United Nations ambassador pick, is married to a producer of the ABC program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel designate, is married to a graphic designer who has worked on Postal Service stamps. And the wife of Timothy F. Geithner, who is Mr.
Photo Of The Day
What the--? Did someone throw another shoe?? (Getty: US President George W. Bush gestures during a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on December 15, 2008. US President George W. Bush arrived in Afghanistan on December 15, after a making a farewell visit to Iraq, according to the White House. MUSADEQ SADEQ/AFP/Getty Images) --Michael Crowley
December 12, 2008
The Not-So-Angry Left
WASHINGTON -- Oh, my: Barack Obama is still more than a month away from assuming the presidency and already there are reports about "the left" being dispirited about change they no longer believe in. These fears -- in this case expressed by a rather small number of bloggers and writers--are aggravated by praise for Obama's transition choices from conservatives who seem relieved that the president-elect is neither Lenin nor Robespierre. There is nothing new about anxiety among progressives that the candidate they just elected is destined to break their ideological hearts.
Epic Movie Fail
In a village somewhere in the Middle East, an American doctor paces tensely around a cramped room. He’s lecturing his wife, a fellow doctor, on the nature of their mission. “We’re the frontline of civilization,” he tells her. “We’re here to help these people up--bring them from the Third World up to our level.” Whether the locals want it, he adds, doesn’t matter: “The point is, they need it.
As of Friday night, it still appeared the Bush Administration was prepared to do what Senate Republicans wouldn't: Rescue the auto industry.
In a surprise announcement this week, the EPA declared that it would drop plans to modify two rules on coal-plant emissions. One of these rule changes would have made it easier for coal plants to expand their capacity without triggering the New Source Review process, which generally requires a plant to install improved emissions-scrubbing technology. This would have been a major change to the way the Clean Air Act is enforced, and the fact that it's not going to happen is a major victory for environmental groups. So why did the EPA change its mind so suddenly?
When the Senate Republicans killed the auto bailout last night, Mitch McConnell looked like a genius (NBC's Mark Murry: "it’s amazing how McConnell was able to run circles around Reid.") But if the White House follows through on its suggestion that it might use TARP funds to stave off bankruptcy, the GOP maneuver will have been a total disaster. Remember, the Republicans have leverage because they still have 49 Senate seats and the auto companies need their loans right away.