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November 20, 2008

The More We Trust the Obama Crowd, the More We Can Do Ourselves

I feel like I'm at a workshop that is being very well run.  I don't have to try to help the process.  They've got it handled.  Or riding in a car with an excellent driver. 

When the folks in charge do a good job of "process", it allows us the opportunity to focus on "content".  In a less needy time, that might mean fully enjoying our personal lives; now it also means figuring out how best to help out with this project of holding our country and the planet together.  Personally it allows me to read and write more about the perils of stormwater on the health of our waterways, and then to use that information to take immediate action by commenting at the Puget Sound Partnership hearings or on learning to make movies so that I can talk about the importance of organizing our neighbors better.  There is a lot to be done but having Obama and his folks moving to take charge is very heartening.

The transition seems to be moving along well.  There is a tone I really like, a tone of non-arrogant confidence.  And, aside from the drama that inevitably hangs around the Clintons, there has been a very clean roll-out so far.  I may not agree with all the choices, but I love the process and I am encouraged by what I see.

I feel like we are in good hands.  These guys are going to run a good government.  Not to say they won't make mistakes.   But I think we will see a thoughtful vision behind what is being done.  Obama is doing a range of smart things in a business-like fashion; this is just what he did as he got himself elected.  He is also avoiding distractions.  Whew!  Is that ever a relief.  When I consider even that the Joe Lieberman thing might be a way for Obama to set a different tone and not get caught up in disabling distractions, I have to give pause to my dismay on that as well. 

Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security.  The idea of a sane person running that agency takes me a while to get my mind around.  Is it possible we might rethink what we call "homeland security"?  Every time I go through a security line at the airport, I  think we are spending huge amounts of money on the dumbest things.   

Also, we hear that Tom Daschle will take on Health and Human Services.  Ezra Klein, a writer and journalist, explains why this is such good news:

You don't tap the former Senate Majority Leader to run your health care bureaucracy. That's not his skill set. You tap him to get your health care plan through Congress. You tap him because he understands the parliamentary tricks and has a deep knowledge of the ideologies and incentives of the relevant players. You tap him because you understand that health care reform runs through the Senate. And he accepts because he has been assured that you mean to attempt health care reform.

Much of the famed Obama team will be with him at the White House.  Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod will both be senior advisors.  Hurrah!  Every time I see Jarrett on the news, I am struck by her basic common sense, confidence and calm.  This is going to be so interesting. 

So, what are you doing?  What might you do?

Posted by Lynn Allen on November 20, 2008 at 07:41 AM | Permalink


Joe Lieberman is incompetent, obstructionist and corrupt. Holding people like him accountable is crucial. If the big change we've been seeking is nothing more than a polite "change in tone" than we are in serious, serious trouble.

Posted by: shoephone | Nov 20, 2008 9:21:02 AM

if Napolitano’s years of experience neglecting to secure the Mexico-AZ border are any indication, then she’s on track to do a horrendous job securing the whole country

Posted by: movie fan | Nov 20, 2008 3:41:11 PM

Securing the national borders is a job of the federal government, movie fan. If you want to complain about how that's being done, write to Congress or the President.

Meanwhile, on the things she does have within her power, most Arizona residents I've observed like Napolitano. My guess is she'd do well at DHS, but I don't really have much to go on besides that.

I think Ezra Klein is right about Daschle. That thought occured to me when I first heard about that appointment. Normally, you'd pick someone who has a background in public health for that position. If you hire a politician to do it, you probably mean to have him do politician's work, which is either about health care legislation, or something else Congress does that's related.

I also don't have much of a problem with Eric Holder for AG, either. Since he's not an Obama acolyte, he might even be as independent of the President as the job requires.

On the question of getting our attitudes on human rights back on track, though, I'm with shoephone. I don't see any commitment there. I also wonder about any process that wants to leave Joe Lieberman in a position where he can do as much damage to our security as he can as chair of the Homeland Security Committee. Obama could have let that one go by, but he chose to get involved on Lieberman's behalf. Whatever for?

My expectations haven't risen much. Obama won't be as awful as McCain would have been as President. He might even get us out of Iraq in a few more years. Beyond that, though, I'm not all that optimistic.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Nov 20, 2008 8:55:28 PM

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