What Are We Gonna Do Now?

by |
11/06/2008 11:30 AM |

Inside baseball funtimes as Obama moves swiftly to announce several key cabinet posts, like Secretary of Adoption and Secretary of Plumbing. Obvs we already have a transition team with a bit of second-time-around Clinton experience, and Rahm Emanuel as a very legislation-oriented Chief of Staff (assuming he accepts; if not, Tom Daschle seems to be the consensus pick). Here and here (Bloomberg) is a general consensus on Larry Summers as Treasury Secretary, and speculation on how the Hagel/Gates/Kerry/Holbrooke or Ross maybe? logjam shakes out with the Secretaries of Defense and State (and, possibly, National Security Advisor or Secretary to the UN or Homeland Security, there may be enough posts to go around after all). (I would rather dislike it if Obama’s foreign policy cabinet leaned too far to the right — like, Dick Lugar, too — if only because it doesn’t necessarily change the perception that Republicans are better on foreign policy.) The latter article also drops some other potential tidbits, like: Colin Powell, Secretary of Education?

As for the really important stuff…

Well, there’s this Politico piece speculating on Obama’s potential legislative agenda. It probably does come down to deciding which to push for first, healthcare or energy. Given what Obama’s said about an “energy economy,” including in his acceptance speech, I would tend to believe that energy comes first, that he believes as Dick Gephardt, quoted in the article does, that “[Energy is] the economy. It’s the environment. It is security. This is one of those issues I see as triple-header issues, and I think he does, too.” Encouragingly, the article also suggests “Old ideas of capital budgeting — and newer ones involving public-private partnerships — are being put forward to sell a major infrastructure package that could include not just roads and bridges but new schools, community health centers, modernizing the electric grid and wider use of alternative energies.” So, basically, energy and infrastructure as a way to improve social services, hasten new energy, and create new jobs and a fundamentally strong economy. Like we’ve talked about.

Given that “Tom Daschle, together with his former counsel Mark Childress, has begun working through health care options and coordinating discussions with lawmakers,” it seems likely that healthcare will be largely handled through surrogates, and done incrementally. Hillary Clinton will be an important ally, if everything works out.

The article also suggests a couple of early social policy legislations; there’s not been much speculation on how much influence the President-elect will exert on the bailout bill, or in what direction, but surely over the next couple of months he’ll be getting a head start on his shorter-term economic fix-it plan.

For foreign policy, I’m quite fond of the suggestions outlined by the consistently excellent Fred Kaplan. Not sure how much this jibes with what Obama wants to do, but it’s hopeful.

And I hope he follows through on the change he represents to the rest of the world by acting swiftly and justly with the prisoners remaining in Guantanamo when it closes. And, something that nobody’s said yet, but: it’d be really nice to work with John McCain on one of the Senator’s longtime causes, strongly enforced legislation outlawing torture as an interrogation tool for US military and intelligence personnel and contractors.

2 Comment