Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Transition Watch

For the time being, I'm going to post little tidbits and political gossip over here--the kind of stuff that doesn't fit the more thematic Dreaming Up Daily blog. I posted here on the election principally because I wanted to have these posts on the same blog as posts on prior elections, for archival purposes mostly. With the very small traffic this site gets, its function apart from thinking aloud for a few friends and other readers has to be a kind of info diary, and to collect an archive that might be useful to someone later on.

Anyway, in today's information flow: Howard Dean is stepping down as DNC chair, a traditional move after a presidential election. My guess is he will be replaced by David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, who has said he won't be going to the White House.

Obama's approval rating is near 70%, and 65% believe he has the potential to be a good President.

Barack and Michelle visited the White House Monday, the drafty old mansion built with slave labor. Apparently, Michelle's mother will also be moving in; she's been the primary babysitter for the Obama girls during the campaign, and this should help make the transition easier on them. So save the mother-in-law jokes.

As for further appointments and actions, my policy is to stick with actual announcements and on the record statements by the people who actually have top level responsibilities. Because there's a lot of hoo-haw out there, some of which may simply be to further the agenda or prospects of the source. So I view statements on Obama's policy on Gitmo trials and the intelligence agencies as not credible. But the on the record statements on the Sunday talk shows about Obama's plans to issue executive orders immediately on key items are very credible (although actual decisions on these were denied Monday.)

Sometimes the rumors fall all over themselves, as in this one-day chronicle of rumors on who might be appointed to fill Obama's Senate seat: it started with one African American woman (Valerie Jarrett) and winds up with another (Cheryle Jackson.) Jarrett, an Obama confidant, is instead likely to wind up in the White House, according to anonymous Obama advisors, who seem more credible because they're responding to the earlier story that she was Obama's choice. Jackson might be the Governor's choice, but other frequently mentioned names are Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Tammy Duckworth.

On the outstanding Senate seats, a couple of stories indicate that Obama political operatives are in Georgia to help the Democrat, and that Obama may make an appearance on his behalf for the early December run-off. McCain and maybe Palin may appear for the notorious GOPer incumbent. Meanwhile, Nate Silver figures that Franken has a good chance to win the Minnesota recount after all (it also may not be settled until December), and early signs are that the Democrat may yet triumph in Alaska when more than 90,000 absentee and early votes--something like a third of the total vote--are counted in the increasingly fishy-looking Alaska election. That could happen by the end of this week.

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