November 17, 2008
A Suitable Boy
I've known Greg Craig for four decades. He still looks like a boy. That's the only resentment I have towards him. Quite to the contrary: this is an excellent appointment. Greg was made for the office of White House counsel: scrupulously honest, very bright, a sense of what history commands of the present and an inclination towards scholarship that deepens his own respect for the law as it constrains naked power. One more thing: he has a grasp of China that is also rare. A very practical intellectual.
November 16, 2008
Filling Out The White House Staff
Obama has announced more top White House appointments: Pete Rouse, his Senate chief of staff, will be a senior adviser; Jim Messina, the campaign's chief of staff, will be a deputy White House chief of staff; and sharing that role with Messina will be Mona Sutphen, a onetime foreign service officer who did tours in the Clinton NSA and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Also, Politico is reporting that Greg Craig, who defended Clinton during impeachment, will be White House counsel. --Seyward Darby
November 15, 2008
Let Lieberman Live
On Tuesday, Democratic Senators will decide the political fate of Joe Lieberman. For the past several years, Lieberman has been a persistent thorn in their side--a relentless critic of Democratic attempts to end the war in Iraq and a no-less-vocal advocate of President Bush’s surge strategy. Relations have grown considerably worse since he endorsed John McCain for President last December and delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention this fall.
Ever since Election Night, the specter of 1994 has loomed over the Democratic Party. Would the Democrats “overreach”? Would this bright new dawn of liberalism come crashing down as rapidly as the last one had?The 1993-1994 period took place long enough ago that the feeling it engendered has been forgotten, and the causes of the Democrats’ failure have mostly receded into myth.
Spitzer As Senator?
Ben Smith has an intriguing proposal: If Hillary becomes secretary of state, appoint Eliot Spitzer to replace her. I like it. Say what you will about the guy, he knows a thing or two about taming Wall Street excesses. And, as luck would have it, he shares some thoughts on the subject in tomorrow's Washington Post: The new president's team must soon get to the root causes of the mistakes that have brought us to the economic precipice.
This is very upsetting. Do members of Congress not realize how much worse the economy could get if we do (almost) nothing between now and January 20th? You get the impression it's not just Republicans who are okay with bagging on a real stimulus package till then. I understand the impetus to wait and start the new Congress/administration with a legislative bang, but it could really be too late by that point. Check out the editorial in our latest issue for more. --Noam Scheiber
The transition team announced three top White House staff appointments today: Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's three transition co-chairs, will be senior adviser and assistant to the President for intergovernmental relations and public liaison (the Times has more on Jarrett's role here); Ron Klain will be Biden's chief of staff; and Phil Schiliro will be assistant to the President for legislative affairs.
November 14, 2008
Goodbye to All That
WASHINGTON--Of course, President-elect Barack Obama's most urgent task is to repair an ailing economy.
Damascus’s Deadly Bargain
The Bush administration has quietly authorized U.S. forces to attack Al-Qaeda bases around the Middle East--an escalation in the war on terror that Eli Lake first revealed two weeks ago in The New Republic and that The New York Times reported on this week.
The list of infrastructure crises over the last three years reads like an almost biblical catalog of calamity: The I-35W bridge falling into the Mississippi River during rush-hour traffic in Minneapolis; a steam pipe explosion in mid-town Manhattan; and, of course, the drowning of New Orleans. These disasters have inspired a national what I call "infrastructure epiphany" about the need to reinvest. The economic stimulus package being cobbled together on Capitol Hill, which includes a whopping $19 billion for highways and transit, provides the perfect opportunity to do so.