November 20, 2008
Democrats aren't squandering any time getting the ball rolling on new energy legislation. Yesterday, Rahm Emanuel told a gathering of business leaders that an economic stimulus package heavy on "green infrastructure" would be Obama's first priority after he's sworn in: Mr. Emanuel promised that a major economic stimulus would be "the first order of business" for Mr. Obama when he takes office Jan. 20.
Here's a look at some tensions that could arise if Robert Gates stays on as Secretary of Defense, beyond disappointment from the get-out-of-Iraq chorus. Since at least spring, Gates has been issuing a series of far-reaching policy documents which explicitly try to set the future direction of U.S. defense policy.
The Restless Mr. Kerry (cont'd)
The Boston Globe is reporting that John Kerry will be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is what people in his circle told me last summer was his ultimate goal. I suppose this doesn't rule out his going to State or (less likely) Interior, but it's definitely looking more and more as if Kerry will be staying in the Senate. --Jason Zengerle
November 19, 2008
In the spring of 2007, long before Sarah Palin became a feminist icon, before Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers reared their unreconstructed heads, before Hillary Clinton ever questioned his readiness to be president, Barack Obama's greatest nemesis was a 29-year-old paralegal named Joe Anthony. Anthony had attracted tens of thousands of fans to a MySpace page he'd set up for Obama—a testament to the legions of new voters the candidate was inspiring. But, back in Chicago, all Anthony's site inspired was indigestion.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to fire up a crowd before a concession speech. Yet on an Arizona stage on election night, there stood Hank Williams Jr. and Big & Rich’s John Rich, alone with their guitars and trying, in vain, to rouse John McCain’s admirers shortly before McCain officially threw in the towel. In an election full of culturally symbolic moments, here was another: the sight of two country stars, from two different generations, looking testy yet powerless--visual proof that among the many losers in last week’s elections was country music itself.
Secretary of Debt
With Hillary Clinton likely to be appointed as Secretary of State in the coming days, what happens to the $22 million in debt she accrued during her run for president? One of her best options for whittling down the debt was rolling it over to her 2012 Senate reelection campaign--an option that would seem to be off the table if she accepts the cabinet post. While she could still file for debt settlement with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), that would forbid her from ever running for public office.
The Bored Identity
A few days ago, I wrote a column about identity politics and Democratic presidencies. My argument was that the focus on social issues in general and identity politics in particular derailed the first two years of the Clinton presidency, and the return of identity-politics mau-mauing represents a threat to Obama’s presidency.Ann Friedman of The American Prospect has written a response that offers a symptom of the illness I tried to diagnose. Very little of her rebuttal even attempts to engage with my argument.
Obama announced more White House appointments today, some of which come as no surprise. As leaked reports had indicated, David Axelrod, Obama's chief campaign strategist, will be a senior adviser, and Gregory Craig will be White House counsel. Lisa Brown, former counsel to vice president Al Gore, will be staff secretary. Chris Lu, executive director of the transition, will be Cabinet secretary, a position that Patti Solis Doyle reportedly was approached about a few weeks ago. UPDATE: Why was the Solis Doyle rumor floated? Because she was Rahm Emanuel's pick. --Seyward Darby
The Obama Strategy
Ross Douthat has a smart post on the incoming president's political strategy: Here's a fearless prediction: On an awful lot of issues, the Obama foreign policy will end cutting to the right of Bill Clinton's foreign policy, which was already more center-left than left. Even with the GOP brand in the toilet, Republicans are still trusted as much or more than Dems on foreign policy, mostly for somewhat nebulous "toughness" reasons.
So much health care news, so little time to blog. But let me weigh in on the news, via, CNN, that Tom Daschle will be Secretary of Health and Human Services. He will also serve as the White House point person on health care reform. This is a perfect role for Daschle. Although he was always been interested in health care, in the last few years he's become a true wonk on the subject, publishing a book called Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.