Students held placards at the Menteng One primary school in Jakarta, which Mr. Obama attended for two years in the late 1960s.
The big news today is Sen. Max Baucus's healthcare blueprint. Baucus is the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, and is therefore able to squash any healthcare reforms he doesn't approve of. He has been mentioned as a likely crucial roadblock to actually implementing the plans we've been hearing discussed on the campaign trail. But lo and behold today he came out with his own guidelines for what he will look for in a healthcare plan and the early reviews are really good. It looks like he's totally ready to play ball The importance of a victory on the healthcare front would be hard to underestimate, both in terms of policy and politics. More reactions here.
Podesta's vision for an assertive presidency.
TNR says Obama should "go for it:"
The greatest risk for Democrats is not that Obama will try to do too much, but that their terror of failure will lead them to waste an historic opportunity. This is not a Clintonian moment. It is more like the moment Lyndon Johnson inherited in 1965, or the one Franklin Roosevelt faced in 1933--a chance to reshape American government. The Democrats have it in their grasp to master the great problems of public life if they can summon their collective nerve. The only thing they have to fear is fear itself.
I can't imagine a Republican President keeping any of the big four cabinet secretaries (State, Justice, Defense, Treasury) from a previous Democratic administration. Yet it seems as if the Democrats are expected to play nice. There is a decidedly unequal expectation that, after they decried the ravenous partisanship of the Bush era, the Democrats must not engage in any partisanship, which is a silly and even dangerous false equivalency.
As Pelosi enters her third year as speaker, by any measure, she has become the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and is now preparing to wield her gavel in a way that few, if any, recent speakers could match. Even former Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the architect of the 1994 Republican Revolution, pales in comparison. Pelosi is being mentioned by observers in the same breath as the legendary Sam Rayburn and Tip O'Neill, although she has yet to assemble a legislative record to match theirs.
"I think you'd have to compare her to the great people we've seen in the past," said former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), who served as both majority and minority leader during his 28-year congressional career.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), no fan of Pelosi, said during a recent MSNBC appearance that she is "the most powerful speaker in a generation — she will be able to do anything she wants."
Pelosi's style of leadership can be difficult to convey: She's not a bomb thrower, a bully or an arm breaker, yet her complete control of the chamber isn't in doubt. She doesn't make threats, and while occasionally she will yell at a lawmaker, it's unusual.
She doesn't curse — or smoke or drink — and the impeccably turned-out California Democrat always knows a member's spouse or children's names, something she casually drops into a conversation to foster intimacy. Larson said when his son was sick two years ago, "the phone would ring at midnight or 1 a.m., while I was in intensive care, and it was Nancy. She wanted to know what she could do. People remember that kind of stuff."
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee and Pelosi's closest friend in the House, likens her to a top athlete, one who has "downfield vision, who can see everything on the field at once."
This seems to be routinely overlooked, but take a moment to consider what the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs actually does: it's the committee principally responsible for oversight of the executive branch. It's an accountability committee, charged with investigating the conduct of the White House and the president's administration.
As chairman of this committee for the last two years, Lieberman decided not to pursue any accusations of wrongdoing against the Bush administration. Lieberman's House counterpart -- Rep. Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee -- was a vigilant watchdog, holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching multiple investigations. Lieberman preferred to let his committee do no real work at all. It was arguably the most pathetic display of this Congress.
And yet, now Lieberman acts as if keeping this chairmanship is the single most important part of his public life. Why would he be so desperate to keep the gavel of a committee he hasn't used? I'll let you in on a secret: he wants to start using the power of this committee against Obama.
Lieberman didn't want to hold Bush accountable, but he seems exceedingly anxious to keep the committee that would go after Obama with a vengeance, effectively becoming a Waxman-like figure -- holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching investigations against the Democratic president.
Lieberman doesn't care about "reconciliation," he cares about going after a Democratic administration. Why else would he fight diligently to be chairman of one committee instead of another?
p.s. the blog probably won't be up until this weekend, so I'll send out emails until then.