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Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Post!!

Well here's the first straight-to-blog post. As you can see I've archived all our email correspondence over the course of the election. (I made sure not to include anything that could embarrass anybody, not that I had to censor much.)

Do me a favor and go here (or scroll to the bottom of the page) and become a 'follower' of the blog. I set the blog up to send out emails to those of you who requested to be kept in the loop notifying you when I have a new post. Lemme know if you'd like to be added or subtracted from that list. And of course please leave comments!

Hopefully I'll spiff this thing up in the coming weeks... and I suppose I'll need to come up with catchy new titles for each post now. Oh, the life of a blogger.

And here we go...

This Modern World By Tom Tomorrow

Here's an interesting article on Obama's continuing absorption of Team Clinton into his administration. I found the caveats at the end of the article especially intriguing:

Obama has continued to keep his distance from aspects of Clinton's legacy, however, and even his decision to bring Clintonites into the transition and administration is in part a judgment of his Democratic predecessor's chaotic, insular transition 16 years ago.

And there remains a distinction between the policy and political sides of Hillary Clinton's operation. Soon after the primary, top Clinton policy aides, such as economic adviser Gene Sperling, were quietly integrated into Obama's campaign. The only member of Clinton's inner circle to join Obama's campaign staff was her policy director, Neera Tanden.

A campaign's policy shop feeds the bulk of a new administration's appointments: Most of the key positions on White House staff and in executive agencies are policy posts.

But while the Clinton policy shop may feel like the gang is getting back together, the political team has yet to be invited in.

Said one former Clinton campaign aide, "Obama has clearly made a distinction between the small group of Clinton campaign staff, who clearly aren't much welcome, and the large number of Clinton White House personnel who are."

The NYT has an article on how the Obamas are acclammating to being the first family-elect:

Life for the newly chosen president and his family has changed forever. Even the constraints and security of the campaign trail do not compare to the bubble that has enveloped him in the 10 days since his election. Renegade, as the Secret Service calls him, now lives within the strict limits that come with the most powerful office on the planet.

He has chosen to spend this interval before his Jan. 20 inauguration at his home in Hyde Park, which has in some ways been transformed into a secure fortress for his protection. After two years of daily speeches and rallies, he has retreated into an almost hermitlike seclusion, largely hidden from public view and spotted only when he drops his two daughters off for school or goes for a workout at the gymnasium in a friend's apartment building.

"This is a tremendous personal transition, as well, far beyond what anyone could imagine," said Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer and a close friend. "Little things, like going to the gym, going to the movies, going to dinner with his wife, none of that will ever be the same again. Things that we take for granted."

I started to summarize this article, but just do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. It's about the possibility of investigations into the Bush admin's approval of torture.

John Judis of TNR explains why unions matter and something simple Obama could do to boost their standing (vid)

Maddow on Lieberman (vid)

Obama's first weekly address (vid)

Valerie Jarrett with a transition update (vid)

I saw the movie Recount last night. I won't go so far as to say it was great, but I definitely think anyone with an interest in politics should watch it. It does feel a bit like a made for tv movie (which it is), and its pretty obvious who the filmmakers thought were the good guys and who were the bad guys, but it's still ends up being really interesting. The basic framework of this film is that the public figure (i.e. Bush and Gore) are represented through news footage from the time, while the behind the political dramas are reenacted. (I could imagine this being the first in a series of shows about the Bush years. The next one could focus on 9/11, followed by a show on Afghanstan and the road to Iraq, followed by another about Abu Ghraib and Iraq going sour, and then the '04 election, and then Katrina and the midterm election, followed by another about this last election, etc., etc. HBO??? I want to put in on my Netflix queue already. ) The film centers around a guy named Ron Klain, played by Kevin Spacey, who was actually just named as Biden's Chief of Staff for the VP office.

Watching the movie gave me a quesey feeling that I've become accustomed to over the last eight years, but I realized that November of 2000 was actually the first time I felt that way. It was also the first time I got really interested in politics. That wore off a little afterwards, but with 9/11 it became clear we are not living in ordinary times. Considering what a complete clusterfuck the last eight years have been it's really only fitting that Bush would have grabbed power under such dubious circumstances. I should say, though, that I did a bit of digging and from what I can tell if the Supreme Court had not stepped in and halted the recount that Bush would have still won, according to a study by the Miami Herald and the WaPo. If there had been a statewide recount, something nobody asked for because it wasn't politically feasible, Gore would have won. (and if thousands of voters weren't thrown off the roles for having names similar to convicted felons he would have won by more.) But I wish the film had ended with some text updates explaining this, because they make it seem like if it weren't for the Supreme Court Gore would have won, which I don't believe is actually true. But anyway: good movie, see it.

I meant to link to this yesterday: this "get your war on" video is pretty great (thanks for the tip Abel!)

Did you realize voting for Obama "constitutes cooperation with intrinsic evil."?? Oops!!

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