Politics

December 16, 2008

Heaven Sent
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Normally, we might be talking about President-elect Barack Obama's Monday news conference on energy and the environment. But, no. Thanks to the Democratic governor with a wire-brush mop of hair, a crude mouth and what's alleged to be an inclination to put his state government up for sale, the political world's interest has drifted elsewhere. Rod Blagojevich has been a godsend for Republicans who have been looking on helplessly as Obama's approval ratings climb into the stratosphere.

Le Grand Old Party?
12:00 AM

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.

Jarrett's #2
12:00 AM

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
12:00 AM

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

The Great Postage Stamp Conflict Of Interest
12:00 AM

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
12:00 AM

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
12:00 AM

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
12:00 AM

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.

Why Bush Has To Save Detroit (for Now)
12:00 AM

As of Friday night, it still appeared the Bush Administration was prepared to do what Senate Republicans wouldn't: Rescue the auto industry.

Congress Fights Back On Last-minute Rules
12:00 AM

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?

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