Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

November 5, 2008

OBAMA WHITE HOUSE TEAM STARTS TAKING SHAPE.... These guys aren't wasting any time.

With his history-making election behind him, Barack Obama was moving ahead with his transition on Wednesday as he prepared to confront the daunting challenges that he will have to face as president in just 76 days, amid two wars and the gravest economic crisis to afflict the country since the Great Depression.

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a close friend of Mr. Obama, has been offered the post of his White House chief of staff and is expected to accept, according to Democrats familiar with the process.

And the three co-leaders of Mr. Obama's transition team are to be announced Wednesday -- John D. Podesta, the former Clinton chief of staff; Valerie Jarrett, a longtime Obama adviser; and Pete Rouse, Mr. Obama's Senate chief of staff.

MSNBC reports that Emanuel has accepted the job, though I haven't seen confirmation elsewhere. (I can appreciate the concerns about Emanuel; in fact, I share many of them. But as far as I can tell, the COS position is more managerial than ideological. I don't see any reason to think Emanuel will be setting the WH agenda, but rather, will help execute it.) Update: MSNBC has now walked its report back, saying Emanuel has not agreed to accept the offer. This does not mean he won't.

What's more, the Politico reports that Obama's team is considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Caroline Kennedy as a possible U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Colin Powell for secretary of defense or education. (Powell dismissed talk of a possible role in Obama's administration).

As for the rest of the team, the Obama-Biden transition team also announced an advisory board consisting of Carol Browner, William Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Governor Janet Napolitano, Federico Pena, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein, and Ted Kaufman.

For those following the transition very closely, the Huffington Post has set up a page solely devoted to the subject.

Steve Benen 3:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Who's going to be in charge of the puppy?

Posted by: chrenson on November 5, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I can appreciate the concerns about Emanuel; in fact, I share many of them. But as far as I can tell, the COS position is more managerial than ideological.

So what are the issues with his ideology?

Posted by: SJRSM on November 5, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's more important that Powell appear to have been offered a job than that he accept it. Powell should be cooperative. His legacy benefits if he is seen as having been offered, and declined, a job of sufficient gravity to keep him in the loop.

Posted by: Eric on November 5, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I can't remember, what did Emanuel do for Clinton?

Posted by: coral on November 5, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Rahm Emanuel is really more of a DINO. He did not support Dean's 50 state strategy, and worked against supporting people who were progressives that had a good chance to win. The few people he chose were rethugs that he convinced to become Dems, sometimes with disasterous results: remember maloney in Florida?

Posted by: Michael on November 5, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I was encouraged to see Carol Browner's name as part of President-elect Obama's team. I would like to see her back in the EPA.

Posted by: Michael on November 5, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

At least floating SecDec to Powell makes some sense for the skills match-up. Eight years ago I was shaking my head when they announced he'd be Sec of State. "Are you sure that's not a typo?" I asked a friend.

Posted by: Scott on November 5, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I was right--Obama really was measuring the drapes in the White House! That presumptuous SOB!

Posted by: John Sidney McCain III on November 5, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the EPA? That would be extremely sweeeeeet.

With regard to Emanuel, if CoS removes him from a house leadership position, then I'm for it.

Posted by: CJ on November 5, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Will Emanuel really take COS. That is a pretty functionary job for a partisan policy wonk. It is really a step down from a house leadership position.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 5, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

re Emanuel, I can't find too much fault with this...


All Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 should be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic civil defense training and community service. This is not a draft, nor is it military. Young people will be trained not as soldiers, but simply as citizens who understand their responsibilities in the event of a natural disaster, an epidemic or a terrorist attack. Universal citizen service will bring Americans of every background together to make America safer and more united in common purpose.

Posted by: SJRSM on November 5, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Prefer Emanual as O's chief of staff than in House. Don't particularly care for him especially due to his very vocal and public opposition to Dean's 50 state strategy. But his skills probably would prove quite valuable to the president particularly in helping guide O through the minefield that will be the US House (Obama and Biden should have the Senate covered already) and dealing with Pelosi and Hoyer and keeping them in line to some extent.

Posted by: bubba on November 5, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

. . . and Colin Powell for secretary of defense or education. (Powell dismissed talk of a possible role in Obama's administration).

WTF?

I know there are lots of second acts in American political life, but if Powell hadn't gone along with the Bush/Cheney charade, we wouldn't have half the problems we have today.

Powell does not have any business near American government.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 5, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

What's going to be fascinating about the new administration is the fact that GOOD people will be in it.

Not "yes" cronies who aren't remotely qualified the way GWB approached the business of running our country.

Yes, mistakes will be made, but the caliber will be outstanding.

Obama will be in charge, but rest assured, he will demand that those who work for him take charge.

That's the measure of a true leader.

We have endured small mindedness for far too long.

America spoke yesterday....you betcha!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 5, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

And just think, we could have had the Wasilla Hillbillies checking the silverware drawers.

Yesterday was a bad day for the comedy writers.

Posted by: Racer X on November 5, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that Obama will put more time, work, and effort in the time between the election and the inaugeration than Bush did in his first year in office.

Posted by: Gandalf on November 5, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't appoint RFK jr. to the EPA or anything similar. His heart may be in the right place, but it's not backed by his brain. Anybody who buys into the anti-vaccine nonsense has no place in a science related position.

Posted by: snoey on November 5, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Robert F. Kennedy to head the EPA? Haven't we had enough of government appointees ignoring scientific data to satisfy their own personal prejudices and agendas?

Posted by: Patrick on November 5, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

No, no,no,no to RFK jr. at EPA. The guy has proven totally unreliable on the autism-thimerosol (lack of a) link. Downright-kooky. We need to understand autism better, but chasing bogus conspiracy theories doesn't accomplish that.

I appreciate his energy, but that drive must be matched with intellectual rigor.

my 2 cents

Posted by: airon on November 5, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

I really respect former Colin Powell... but I hope he's not given Defense... I could maybe buy keeping Robert Gates there for a while, to maintain some (short run) continuity in the Iraq mess. But we really need a Democrat there if we're ever going to finally shake off the "weak on defense" meme that pervades the political discussion.

Posted by: Jim G on November 5, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I will concur with others on RFK. He would be a disaster and not just because of the thimerosol thing, which has caused a great deal of damage. He has really been guilty of some shockingly dishonest work since at least his article on election fraud in 2004. We may agree on a lot of progressive issues but the guy's a hack. We have had more than enough of those.

Posted by: brent on November 5, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, Joe Lieberman shall be appointed as ambassador to Fuckuistan.

Posted by: Chopin on November 5, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

i'm with jim G and others who have made the point about the secdef position needing to be given to a democrat to shake that "weak on defense" meme.

if we learned nothing from lyndon johnson's administration, we should have learned to not capitulate to hysterics.

Posted by: karen marie on November 5, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

can i be chief in charge of the puppy?

Posted by: karen marie on November 5, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Not a cabinet post, but I'd like to see Obama sit down with Chalmers Johnson for a good long talk about imperial America. We need someone outside of the government with no vested interests in the military or foreign intelligence to brief him on how over-extended we are, not merely in Iraq and Afghanistan, but across the globe.

No one has mentioned Gore for EPA head. Perhaps something of a come down, but I can't think of anyone with a wider vision for that department. Might as well give him Interior as well.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 5, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I would take anything Politico reports about possible appointments with about a supertanker's worth of salt.

And ditto re: RFK Jr. at EPA. Disregard for science undermines the agency's effectiveness, whether it's "anti-environment" junk science (a la Bush) or the "pro-environment" kind we'd probably see from RFK. Surely we can do better. In fact, Yes We Can!

Posted by: Glenn on November 5, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

If he governs as well as he ran his campaign, this is going to be one impressive operation. And he's not going to embarrass us with with tawdry affairs. And he's a hard man not to like. The right wing attack dogs have their work cut out for them. But unfortunately, I imagine that they're up to it.

Posted by: hark on November 5, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

How short are your memories ? Do you not remember the UN debacle. Powell should be in the Hague not the Obama Administration.

Posted by: ed_finnerty on November 5, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

If I've learnt any lessons from Obama's campaign it was this: "expect the unexpected and then don't be surprised to find it works". If he thinks Emmanuel is right for CoS or Powell for SoD, he's probably right; he alwas seems to be thee moves ahead of us in his planning...

Posted by: exlibra on November 5, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

RFK jr. for EPA - god forbid!

The man is a totally science challenged. His quackery on autism and mercury mean he should be kept out of the government completely - but especiallya s far away from any role requiring evaluation of any scientific data.

Maybe he can chief White House advisor on Woo.

Posted by: George on November 5, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Rahm Emanuel sucks hard. As Bill Clinton's money guy and as head of the DCCC, he has made some distressingly hawkish comments - but maybe he was just pandering to the groups he was soliticing. Who knows.

But I really hoped Obama would completely marginalize the hawks. Emanuel was a big fan of the war.

And Powell? That guy needs to go away. He has admitted he lied before the UN. It wasn't just that he was given poor info., he KNEW the claims he was making were stretches. (As did everybody else not bloodlusting for killing some Arabs).

Powell needs to go away, and be thankful he is not extradicted to the Hague.

Posted by: flubber on November 5, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's a shame that there is no room in Obama's cabinet for someone like Sarah Palin, who knows more about energy than anyone in the U.S. and knows foreign policy because can see Russia from her house.

Posted by: AJB on November 5, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

While Colin Powell does have some responsibility for helping Bush'es war effort. I think he learned his lesson. He is a man of great integrity. I think he would be an outstanding Sec Def - re-build an honorable role in the world, resolve Gitmo, eliminate torture and help the armed forces move culturally to the modern world.

Posted by: George on November 5, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

George

Colin Powell has not come clean on the UN b*****it

Until he does and falls on his sword he is unacceptable. 1,000,000 people are dead and a country is destroyed largely because of him. Do you people have no shame or are you just memory challenged.

Posted by: ed_finnerty on November 5, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

George, I like Powell and would like to think he learned his lesson, but I was disabused of that when he testified as a character witness for Ted Stevens. yikes.

For those concerned about Emmanuel's hawkishness, recall that Obama is hardly a pacifist. There will be no reduction in defense budget or war costs - there will be dollar for dollar and soldier for soldier moves from Iraq to Afghanistan. And he was to McCain's right on Pakistan. Moreover, for all of the complaining I see around here about Pelosi's weakness, one might think Emmanuel's much stiffer spine would be welcome either in the House or as CoS. (And he is a great fundraiser, too, which never hurts.)

Obviously Gore would be great for EPA or Interior, but both would be major steps down from VP and people rarely move backwards; both would provide him less flexibility than he has now and wouldn't really increase his stage much.

Remember that much like the Veepstakes, many of the early names will be shout outs to thank/flatter others or their supporters/constituencies. I trust that is why every member of the Kennedy family is being floated.

Posted by: zeitgeist on November 5, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Let's make conservative heads explode: William Ayers for Secretary of Education!

Posted by: Kevin on November 5, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

RFK Jr. would be very bad news at the EPA. He has no understanding of science and is a rabble-rouser on autism in the worst way.

Posted by: Pinko Punko on November 5, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

How about Wes Clark for Sec. of Defense?

Posted by: Davo on November 5, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

How about Wes Clark for Sec. of Defense? Posted by: Davo

I think there is a requirement that he must be 10 years out of the military until he is eligible to oversee it.

Does anyone know the rule? If not, I think he'd make a better choice than Powell.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 5, 2008 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Chopin wins the thread, followed closely by AJB.

I'll echo others in several regards. First, its too early for Colin Powell to be ushered back into a top Cabinet post after his complicity, neh, his SELLING of the war in Iraq. Second, a Gates transission period makes sense but it really is time to bring in a Democrat at Defense to put an end to the conventional wisdom that Republicans own the defense issue.

I don't know that any of these people would take the job, but my dream team would include Al Gore, Ed Rendell, Jim Webb, and Wes Clark. Luv those guys.

Posted by: Piper on November 5, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

That is, any of those guys would make good Secretaries of various agencies.

Posted by: Piper on November 5, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think there is a requirement that he must be 10 years out of the military until he is eligible to oversee it...Does anyone know the rule?

That is exactly right, making Clark ineligible for the post until 2010. I have an idea for a "placeholder" though: Bobby Ray Inman would be an excellent choice, and probably wouldn't be interested in the job for more than 12-18 months - he is getting on in years. Clinton nominated him and the wingers went apoplectic, they have long wanted to hang Pollards treachery around his neck - Pollard had no choice but to commit treason, you see, becaue Inman had the stones to cut the Mossad out of the intel sharing loop...Their horseshit is not likely to fly now like it did between Aspin and Cohen...

Posted by: Blue Girl on November 5, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

While we are playing fantasy-league cabinet secretaries...how about Pat Lang for DNI?

Posted by: Blue Girl on November 5, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

I was talking to someone earlier tonight and they suggested the proper position for Gore would not be EPA or the Interior but rather DOE. They said to give him a specific job of retooling the DOE research labs to focus on renewable energy technologies.

The other thing that is desperately needed is an inter-departmental task force to re-emphasize actual science over politics everywhere from NASA to the EPA to the DOH to...

Posted by: tanstaafl on November 6, 2008 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

summer for Secretary of treasury and robbert rubbin for the Fed's President it must be nice.

Posted by: Musa on November 6, 2008 at 5:29 AM | PERMALINK

Napolitano is already in the mix! Hot damn.

First woman Prez 2012. (Sorry, Hil.)

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on November 6, 2008 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly