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Saturday, November 15, 2008

d day

Well everyone, it's been quite a ride. It's something we'll always remember, and I'm so happy and proud it ended well. Barack was right when he said:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
As someone who has felt those doubts intensely, it feels good to regain my faith in this country. At school where I work we say the pledge every morning and I have to say it just felt different on wednesday.

I'm also glad that NC went blue, so perhaps my trudging around in the rain and mud paid off!

Did anyone else notice that Obama seemed almost somber during his acceptance speech. Apparently he even cancelled plans for fireworks. He looked like the weight of the world had just been put on his shoulders. And it really has, and I know he takes that responsibility seriously. It was unlike any victory party I'd ever seen. As one I've my students said, "You could tell he was focused. That's good."

Oh, and you might enjoy this short vid of black students watching the acceptance speech. There are so many levels on which this election will reverberate.

Well, I guess it's time to bring this email list thingy to a close, given that it's, uh, over. I think, for posterity, I'm going to dig up all the emails posted by us over the course of the long process and post them to a blog. When I get done with that I'll send you a link in case you want to reminisce.

But of course, now the real journey begins for Barack and for this country. I'll certainly be following things closely to see how our guy navigates the difficult waters of Washington. If some of you would appreciate my links, commentary, etc., along the lines of what I've been doing, I could keep doing it, but perhaps just post it to the blog. The reason I've never really blogged is I have no interest in just posting things that no one will ever read, and I don't want people to feel like they need to read it to make me feel good, but if a few of you express real interest then I would certainly consider that.

But regardless I've really enjoyed spouting off and sharing links, etc. with you guys!

Before I sign-off, for those of you interested in the significance of choosing Rahm Emmanuel for Chief of Staff may want to read this, this, this, this, this, and this. (most are short posts)

Also I'd like to post a couple of sections from an article I linked to last week, which seems only more relevant now:

On the day of the third presidential debate, while Obama was in New York preparing for his tangle with McCain, a conference was taking place in Washington at the Center for American Progress (CAP) with the title "Presidential Transitions: From Campaigning to Governing." The attendees heard presentations from academics, former White House staffers, and Bush-Cheney transition director Clay Johnson III. They heard stories about good transitions and bad, about the dizzying 77-day stretch in which the president-elect and his people must assemble a Cabinet and White House staff, develop legislative and political agendas, field a gazillion white papers, and fend off (or lap up) the kind of toadying rarely seen this side of a monarchy. Which is to say it was a typical Beltway gabfest, except for one salient fact: Offstage and out of sight, the good people of CAP were quietly planning the actual transition for the putative Obama administration.

Leading that effort is John Podesta, CAP's president and chief executive, whom Obama tapped in the last few months to head up his transition. That Podesta should find himself in this position is ironic, even mildly odd. A former White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton, he was a loyal supporter of his wife during the Democratic primaries; much of the work he is doing now he expected to be doing for her. Around him are a bevy of Clinton alums, now toiling on Obama's behalf: Leon Panetta, Bob Rubin, Gene Sperling, Carol Browner. Odder still, the transition that Podesta is designing is explicitly modeled not on Clinton's but on Ronald Reagan's. Indeed, Clinton's transition is said by some involved to be a kind of anti-model for the Obama endeavor.

Then again, on second thought, maybe it's not so odd—the Clinton transition was famously, fantastically dysfunctional. His pledge to pick a Cabinet that "looks like America" yielded a process riven by identity politics, ravaged by interest-group pressure. Thoughts of reaching across the aisle—Condi Rice was considered for the position of U.N. ambassador—were quickly abandoned. The whole thing was haphazard, disorganized, painfully slow, and politically maladroit. (Zoë Baird, anyone?) There was no real plan for what to do on taking office, just a memo outlining the first two weeks, and even that was ignored. Gays in the military took center stage, along with the signing of a handful of executive orders related to abortion. "There was an overall appearance of chaos," recalls an early Clinton official. "All of us on the team were at times witting, at times unwitting co-conspirators in the undoing of his centrist, New Democrat credentials."

It should come as no surprise that No Drama Obama wants his transition to be nothing like that of Chaotic Clinton's. Already his pre-transition is exhibiting the kind of order and discipline (and lack of leaks) that have been the hallmarks of his campaign. With the help of some 50 old Washington hands, Podesta and his people are drafting a book-length transition blueprint, with agency-by-agency policy agendas, including day-one, day-100, and year-one objectives, too. Résumés are already being collected. Daily conference calls and meetings occur. Of Obama's pre-transition planning—and, in fact, of McCain's as well—Clay Johnson has said, "The amount of work being done before the election, formal and informal, is the most ever."

and why the transition is being modelled on Reagan's:

The collapse of institutional conservatism that is about to unfold—that is, self-evidently, already unfolding—creates an opportunity not unlike the one that Dutch faced in 1980 to fashion a functional, and not merely theoretical, alternative to New Deal liberalism. How Reagan and his adjutants, notably his budget director, David Stockman, did that was by crafting a detailed package of tax and budget cuts and presenting it almost immediately to the new Congress in February 1981. Thus was born the Reagan revolution, and the rest, as they say, is history. That Obama plans to do something similar is already abundantly clear—the question is just what his revolution might turn out to look like.

Emanuel doesn't hesitate when I put the question to him. And his answer is one to which attention should be paid for reasons beyond the obvious. Emanuel is more than one of the shrewdest, savviest, toughest Democratic pols of his generation. He is a close friend and confidant of his party's nominee and certain to be a pivotal player in putting meat on the bones of Obama's campaign mantra of change, change, change. Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, plays an identical role for Emanuel, whose congressional campaigns he has engineered and whose maneuvers in the House he has often guided from afar. Rarely does a day pass by in which the two men do not speak. The three-way mind-meld is nearly total.

"My view is that we gotta be the party of reform," Emanuel begins when I reach him on his cell phone. "There are four reforms. There's financial-regulatory reform, tax reform, health-care reform, and energy. Regulatory will kinda come down the chute fast. Tax reform will take a little longer, because it's not until 2010 that Bush's tax cuts expire. Energy, you can do some things immediately. And with health care, you've got the children's health insurance as the first piece of a series of things you gotta do."

And off we go!!

I'll leave you with this:





Thanks again everyone!

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