Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama Team Anything but Shy and Retiring

Making the transition from campaign to government requires many changes. Being careful and controlling spin remain important, of course. But the task now is to get ready to govern.

Whatever happened to Mr. No-Drama-Obama? After running a campaign known for its almost military-like cool and discipline, the president-elect is now assembling a staff whose members are known for their combativeness.

Governing is tough business, and it makes no sense to start with a weak team.

His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, is no shrinking violet, as one of the few people who can boast of shouting down Sean Hannity of Fox News on Mr. Hannity’s own show.

Now, that's something to boast about.

Some kind of shift was inevitable in the transition from politics to governing, political experts say. But by surrounding himself with forceful personalities, Mr. Obama may also be preparing himself and his administration for real battles.

Indeed there will be some battles. The sniping began the day after the election. The Wall Street Journal has sharpened its knife, er, pen. How about this last paragraph from a review of a book about Margaret Thatcher?

And Mrs. Thatcher's relevance? Socialist habits of mind have not ended, and socialism itself, Ms. Berlinski observes, "is ultimately far wider, more seductive, and more enduring than political Islam." Many societies, she says, "will inevitably arrive at a place much like the one Margaret Thatcher found herself upon her ascent to 10 Downing Street." Or perhaps where America could find itself after a New New Deal.

Or this guy's choice of metaphors?

Barack Obama is bringing in all of the pit bulls and attack dogs and spear hunters into his administration,” said Steve Clemons, a fellow at the New America Foundation who also writes a blog called The Washington Note. “We all thought he was going to be a ‘tending the fields’ type.”

And that is not a right-wing house, at all, it seems. But spear carriers?

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