Thursday, November 06, 2008

Transition to governing underway

The two notable aspects of Barack Obama's transition team is that it is now briskly underway in a very robust manner and that there are a significant number of Clinton "allies" involved. Granted, this is simply the transition team and not the actual administration staff and cabinet, but it is at least a sign that Barack does not intend to start out with a completely blank slate.

It is interesting that Barack is in fact considering Clinton appointees Larry Summers and Robert Rubin for the Treasury post. I do not have any problem with that. Although that would at least superficially fly in the face of "turning the page" on the "old guard" Democrats, Barack does have a practical problem of wanting to hit the ground running right in the middle of a massive financial crisis with a leader that is credible to the financial industry. Although, in truth, Summers was always more of an academic genius and did not have any roots in Wall Street, but maybe that in fact gives him credibility with Main Street and the liberal side of the Democratic party.

In short, Larry Summers would be a great pick (and my first pick) for Treasury, but it leaves the Obama administration starting out on a pragmatic, centrist foot, when the bulk of the campaign support had more of a non-moderate, progressive tone.

So, the big question will be whether the Treasury pick will be an anomoly or the shape of things to come. Sure, there are plenty of cabinet and agency slots available for fresh, young talent, but the big interest is in how the most senior and elite slots get filled early in the game.

-- Jack Krupansky


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