Friday, November 07, 2008


Obama has named his economic transition team, with a good mix of members: Clinton stalwarts but also people from business, federal, state and city government. I like seeing Robert Reich on that list. Reich left the Clinton cabinet (Sec. of Labor) due in part to the policies he couldn't support--he was more liberal than the rest of Clinton's economic team as it evolved. That Obama wants his voice in this group is very good, though I doubt Reich will go back to the cabinet (His book on his Clinton admin experiences was called Locked in the Cabinet, after all.)

The only name in this group mentioned in the media as a top contender for Treasury is Lawrence Summers. Ambinder thinks Treasury will come out of this group, and Richard Wolfe on MSNBC talked of Summers as if his appointment is a cinch. But I'm not sure. This could be a panel of advisors--a group of elders. While cabinet posts, especially Treasury, are part policy, part diplomatic jobs (dealing with outside entities), they are also administrative. A younger appointee, like Geithner, appeals to me. If an older guy like Summers does get the job now, I look for a younger #2 there like Geithner, who will be in line to inherit the job in a couple of years. (Possibly the same situation at Defense, if Gates is kept on.)

Rahm Emanuel is officially Obama's chief of staff. Ambinder writes this about what it signals: What does Rahm's selection say about Obama? Obama won't be afraid to step on toes. He's going to be very aggressive in pursuing his agenda. He won't shrink from confronting Congress. And he will expect extreme competence from his staff, from the chief on down.

No surprise if, as suggested, David Axlerod and press secretary Robert Gibb go with Obama to the White House.

I'm warming to the idea of Bill Richardson as Secretary of State. Makes sense in a number of ways, but again the key may be his relationship with Obama, and nobody knows that really, except Obama. It's news to me, for example, that Obama and Emanuel have been so close, but it makes perfect sense that he'd want that for chief of staff. Plus Emanuel's experience in the White House, Congress, business, electoral politics.

Well, that's the gossip and my take on it. It's barely 48 hours after the election was settled, and I'm still sleep deprived and a little numb. But when I switched on the TV today I did get a rush when I first heard the words, "President-elect Obama."

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