November 21, 2008
Getting To Know Patrick Gaspard
NAME: Patrick Gaspard AGE: 41 NEW APPOINTMENT: White House political director (the position Rahm Emanuel initially held under Clinton) HOW HE KNOWS OBAMA: Worked as the campaign's political director from June 2008 until the election; now associate personnel director for the transition. OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Until de-registering a few weeks ago, he was lead political operative (lobbyist) at 1199, the SEIU's mid-Atlantic healthcare labor union; also national field director in 2004 for America Coming Together (ACT), a 527 get-out-the-vote group. KNOWN FOR: Organizing successful ground operations f
More White House Staff
The transition team announced more White House staff today. Patrick Gaspard, the campaign's political director, will serve that same role in the White House's Office of Political Affairs. (It's a controversial post that some have called to eliminate.) Jackie Norris, who was the campaign's Iowa state director, will be chief of staff to Michelle Obama. Cathy Russell, a long-time friend and adviser to the Bidens whose appointment had already leaked, will be Jill Biden's chief of staff. Cynthia Hogan, a legal adviser to Joe Biden's Senate office, will be the vice-president's counsel.
Who Is Jim Jones?
With many, including us, focused on the likelihood of Barack Obama naming James Steinberg as his national security adviser, word comes today that the job may go to Marine General James L. Jones, who retired last year after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander of U.S. European Command. If true, like a Steinberg appointment, it would reinforce the impression that Obama is surrounding himself with powerful advisers known for their pragmatism. Jones has been less bipartisan than nonpartisan, hewing to the traditional idea of an apolitical military.
Puttin' On The Ritz, Inaugural Style
On Thursday night, the inauguration came early to Washington's Ritz-Carlton, where perky p.r. staff welcomed guests to an expo of Obama swag. Jazz musician Bliss Ananda played 50 Cent's "In Da Club" and the Fugees' "Ready or Not"--allegedly some of Obama's favorite tunes--on his neon blue violin. Chefs served Hawaiian roast pig and towering chocolate sculptures. A boutique soap company offered bars of Amber Waves of Grain and Purple Mountains Majesty.
I deeply approve of Barack Obama's appointments thus far. You already know what I think of Rahm Emanuel. I couldn't be higher on Tom Daschle being given the health portfolio which when medical care becomes a truly exercised human right its enemies won't be able to call it socialism because those enemies have already nationalized the banks, that is, as the Marxists used to say, the means of capital and production. Moreover, Eric Holder knows how law and justice enhance society and knows also their limits. (No, I don't approve of his opinion to President Clinton on Marc Rich.
Bobos In Power (cont'd)
One more thing about that David Brooks column that Mike Schaffer nicely deconstructs below. I don't know if Brooks's point that the Obama administration will boast unusually strong academic credentials even holds up. Here's Brooks's lede: Jan. 20, 2009, will be a historic day. Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) will take the oath of office as his wife, Michelle (Princeton, Harvard Law), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including perhaps Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale Law), Jim Steinberg (Harvard, Yale Law) and Susan Rice (Stanford, Oxford D.
November 20, 2008
Keep TARP Alive
If nothing else, the Treasury’s $700 billion bailout has been a boon for unintentional black comedy. Take an announcement last week by Hartford Financial Services Group that it’s buying a Florida bank for $10 million, just so it can qualify for $3.4 billion in bailout funds. That’s a good one! Or take a plan by San Jose to nab $14 billion of the bailout, even though its annual budget is just $3.3 billion. Zing!
Remember The Name "exelon"
It could be a good first test of whether the Obama administration really is all that different. From a Politico piece about Rahm Emanuel's short but lucrative i-banking career: One signature transaction was the $16 billion merger of Unicom Corp. and PECO Energy Co. into Exelon Corp., now one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with nearly $19 billion in annual revenue.
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.