The Obama Administration: Day 0 and Counting
It'll be almost two and a half months before President-elect Barack Obama assumes the reins of a very troubled nation but his 20 minute-long press conference today in Chicago offered and, up to a point, achieved some soothing stability and much-needed pragmatism that was felt from Wall Street to Main Street.
Surrounded by luminaries such as Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, former Fed Chairman Paul Volker and White House Chief of Staff designate Rahm Emmanuel, it was just enough of a sample to let America know that the incoming Obama administration will be staffed with both oldtimers and young guns who know how to get things done.
In his brief but friendly press conference, President-elect Obama refused to delve into who some of his Cabinet designates will be but he did address some of the key issues plaguing America, namely job losses and a second economic stimulus plan that doesn't merely involve throwing a little money at people who cannot pay their mortgages.
The economic stimulus package advanced by Congress was put on a back burner with news that the typically obstructionist Bush administration that broke its neck to bail out multi millionaire crooks would veto any stimulus bill designed to help taxpayers. Obviously, it will wait until the Obama administration is officially installed.
Just the very sight of President-elect Obama sitting at a table surrounded by many people experienced at doing their jobs seemed to give us a glimpse of what Obama will look like at a Cabinet meeting once he's in charge. It immediately seemed to send a signal that the 44th administration will not hire lackeys, party hacks, campaign contributors and roommates of old friends. In a promised reprise of the Clinton administration, an Obama administration seems destined to be one that'll be renowned for appointing positions based on merit and not money or friendship.
It'll be an administration that doesn't promise easy fixes ("Everyone has access to health care. Just walk into an emergency room!") nor one that pretends that America is all well ("I don't see any problems", Bush told Bob Costas during the Olympics).
Plus, this old cynic admits to a thrill at seeing in Obama confidence without arrogance, at being to write the word President without having to use quotes.