November 26, 2008
What will be Barack Obama’s policy towards the Middle East? During the campaign, this was a question that flummoxed partisans of both the Israeli and Palestinian causes. There was enough conflicting evidence of his intentions to lead everyone to believe that they would have a friend in the White House. But now, we have actual foreign policy appointments to look at. And, guess what? They haven’t clarified the direction of his administration. In fact, there’s a chance that we will be in store for at least four more years of muddle.
Too Many Cooks?
It’s hard to complain about Obama’s decision to name Paul Volcker as yet another top adviser, as he did this morning in Chicago. But here it goes. Obama already faces two enormous challenges regarding the economy: The crisis itself and the fluid contours of the government’s regulatory structure. Who would have expected the Fed to have such an expansive policy role--or the FDIC, for that matter? What is the right way to structure regulatory bodies like the SEC and the CFTC, which all sides agree need significant reform?
Martin Kramer is one of America's great scholars on Arab and Islamic affairs. With a PhD from Princeton, he has written nine books including Ivory Towers on Sand, which was actually a revelation in and to the academy of how intellectually and financially indentured is much of the professoriate in the field. Via the Shalem Center: "Engagement" is the new buzzword in Washington and the Middle East.
From The Tnr Archive: Larry Summers
Larry Summers was officially tapped yesterday as a top White House advisor and the next head of the White House's National Economics Counsel. Summers' part in Obama's economic "dream team" is no surprise, as he's been a mainstay on the national economic scene for nearly two decades.
November 25, 2008
Until this month, I never quite realized I had become a loyal alumnus. In the nearly two decades since I’d graduated from my private high school, I’d thought of the place often, and fondly--though usually with that embarrassed sort of affection that a certain class of liberals feel for those essentially inegalitarian institutions responsible for making us the worldly folks we are today. Then a funny thing happened just after the election: The new First Family was looking for a school, and all of a sudden the chattering class was chattering about old alma mater.
Pragmatists 'R' Us
WASHINGTON--President-elect Barack Obama has now made three things clear about his plans to bring the economy back: He wants his actions to be big and bold. He sees economic recovery as intimately linked with economic and social reform.
Barack Obama announced today that the chair of his Council of Economic Advisors will be Christina Romer, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on government fiscal and monetary policy. As Romer stood beside him at the press conference, Obama uncharacteristically stumbled over his words in introducing her. He seemed to be learning who she was as he spoke--and that may say more about the appointment than the actual words of praise he uttered. Obama has been criticized for excluding progressive Democrats from his administration. I think that’s nonsense.
Open for Service
Last month, retired Air Force General Merrill McPeak, one of Barack Obama’s highest-ranking military supporters during the campaign, reiterated his opposition to openly gay service. When McPeak participated in the debates over lifting the ban in 1993, he was Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Ed Kilgore makes some typically smart points about just what exactly Obama might do to fulfill his pledge of bipartisanship. Hint: it might not involve keeping Gates at the Pentagon or finding some out-of-the-way cabinet post for the likes of Jim Leach. There is, however, one form of "bipartisanship" that Bush never took seriously, and that is very consistent with everything Barack Obama has said on the subject.
Obama tapped two more members of his economic team today. As rumored, Peter Orszag, current director of the Congressional Budget Office, will head the White House Office of Management and Budget. His deputy will be Rob Nabors, who currently serves as staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. --Seyward Darby