Thursday, November 06, 2008

Effective Democratic Government

We're laughing our asses off around Casa Anglachel after reading this article: Several Early Choices Have Clinton Pedigree:
Barack Obama argued for months that victory for his opponent would be akin to a third term for President Bush. But as he embarks on his own presidency, Mr. Obama faces the challenge of building an administration that does not look like a third term for former President Bill Clinton.
Obama has never had to do anything in his public life except run for election. He has no background in administration and no team of people who can help him with that. He's got a bunch of intellectuals and talking-head courtiers surrounding him, plus the second tier losers from the Clinton administration who all wanted to get back at people who weren't nice to them last time. Guess what?

But this is only the beginning of a delicate balancing act for Mr. Obama: between bringing a new generation of leadership to Washington as a signal of his commitment to his pledge to change politics, and recruiting, at a time of intense economic and national security challenges, from the biggest pool of Democrats with national executive branch experience. ...

As he looks to build a presidency from scratch, Mr. Obama recognizes that he needs at least some of the expertise of the Clinton circles, advisers said. Most telling was his decision even before the election to tap Mr. Podesta, founder and president of the Center for American Progress, a Washington group widely viewed as Mrs. Clinton’s government-in-waiting until she lost.

Mr. Podesta put together an extensive team to plan for a possible Obama transition; not counting Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s representatives, all 10 members of the advisory board served in the Clinton administration. Still, some of them held relatively low-level positions in the Clinton era and were not identified so personally with the former president. And now Mr. Podesta is being joined by two co-chairmen, Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, who are both close to Mr. Obama.

All the blogospheric people who have made an industry out of Clinton bashing and demonizing Bill's administration while refusing to hold anyone else accountable and who have been at the forefront of proclaiming what incredible change The Precious will bring to Washington are now having to deal with the very basic fact that the new preznit won't be able to do jack shit without using the people Left Blogistan loves to hate.

It's only The Village and the self-appointed "experts" (often members of the media or else Ivory Tower academics, all of them the worst kind of Stevensonians) of Left Blogistan who hate Clinton and Gore (and for pretty much the same reasons - their joint fantasy that they are opposing white trash racists) and who insist the Clinton administration was a failure. The rest of us can see that it held the line against the Movement Conservatives and would have done more save for the backstabbing of a complacent Congress. We can rationally criticize Clinton's administration without falling prey to CDS, which is why we can both be pleased to see some real policy wonks may be running the show and mock the Obamacans for having to confront the vacuity of their preferred candidate's political vision.

Big Dog's speech at the convention, the speech that actually defined the Democratic agenda according to a coherent, humane, and actionable ideology, remains the touch stone for what Democrats need to do to become the preferred choice for government, not just a way to reject the Movement Conservatives. The way to do that is not by hoping for change, but by getting over the internal culture wars of the party, rejecting the CDS of the Left as well as the Right, and building on the foundation that has already been laid.

Those of us who already started the change 16 years ago are waiting for the rest of you to catch up. We are the change you have been waiting for.



Mike J. said...

I wonder whether making this the third Clinton term was the price Obama had to pay to earn Bill and Hillary's active support.

Time will tell, however, whether his inner circle will consist of loyal Clinton people, Clinton backstabbers of the Stephanopoulos/Emmanuel ilk, or the Chicago mafia. Obama may not have any experience himself, but there is plenty in the way of executive talent in the Daley machine. The pick of Emmanuel is ambiguous in this respect, given his Clinton credentials, but I think he has hitched his star to the Chicago machine wagon.

Mike J. said...

By the way: doesn't the article strike you as a veiled threat directed at Obama? Having too many Clinton people is a "danger to be avoided", there needs to be a "delicate balancing act"...

Or else the "gloves come off" and we get another four years of "hunting the president". We did it to Clinton, we can do it to you too...

Anglachel said...

Mike J,

The faces will change because that is what happens in any administration, but the general policy orientation will be what was laid down by Clinton and Gore.

My concerns are less with the Chicago Combine (they are ordinary political crooks, looking to line thier own pockets) and more with the U. of Chicago money men. These people, the libertarian paternalists, are eager to kill the last of the New Deal and are allied with the Wall Street types to try to do just that. Their influence is what will kill bold economic plans.

It is from that quarter that we will see the shove back against fiscal reform, and that is who will object to policies that aid people directly as opposed to structuring choice incentives.


Dhyana said...

Bill Clinton made look easy being a president, hence other unqualified think it's easy. When discussing Bond's alleged use of hormones, a man who is familiar with baseball said to me: "Strength is important, but that's not why Barry hits the balls out of the park; he knows to hit the right spot at the right time. Not many have the eyes and the knowledge to do that."
So now Obama is imitating Bill Clinton. It won't help because Obama is not Bill, but more important, Obama doesn't have one of the ingredients: Hillary Clinton.

1950democrat said...

I'm worried about Hillary supporters joining with the bots who are attacking Larry Summers (whom Bill appointed in 1993 and promoted regularly throughout the Clinton Administration).

I've got a diary up about this, adding more info about Summers as I find it, at