Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7, 2008

     Well, he's started staffing his administration.  Done pretty well so far--Rahm Emmanuel is smart and Washington-wise, for instance.  What will be interesting, though, is now bi- or non-partisan he is.  One suggestion several columnists have made is to keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense.  The Pentagon is a mysterious place (trust me, I covered it for a few months years ago) but the people who cover it now seem to like and respect him.
     I hope he brings back Colin Powell in some top job.  Powell wasn't a great success as Secretary of State, but that's because others in the Bush administration fed him phony data about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and he used that bad information to give a UN speech defending the U.S. invasion.  Iraq didn't have such weapons, of course. and the invasion remains, in my book anyway, George W. Bush's principal blunder as president.  Let's hope the new administration doesn't play those games.
     The tone Obama sets may matter more than which person gets which job.  What really needs to change in Washington Is the atmosphere of petty, pissy partisanship--I'll block you on this issue because you blocked me on that one.  It's the main reason why Americans tell pollsters that have a very low opinion of Congress.  Obama needs to get Congress, and his own people, thinking country first,  trying to do what's best for America, not just make partisan points on tomorrow's front page.
     He knows he needs to do this;  he talked about it during the campaign.  Let's all hope he has the skill, and judgment and luck to bring it off.  

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