Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Bush - Obama Transition.

I watched Obama's press conference earlier today and it got me to thinking. Then, I ran across this post over at Janiece's place and this one on Steve's. First, let me say, I haven't seen what both posts refer to as people calling for Obama to just take over now, or any reports of Bush seeking Obama's input. I'm not saying I doubt the existence (or veracity) of those reports...I just haven't seen them. (Feel free to point me to them.)

Anyway, I have a couple of reactions to the Press Conference.

On the one hand, Americans have been asking Obama to name his team since long before the election. He declined, during the election to even name a short list and I think that was proper. Now, he's naming people daily...and doing it in front of the Press and taking questions. It's entirely possible, that by the time he takes office, he'll have held more Press Conferences that Bush has held in his entire 8 years in office. It's entirely appropriate for him to hold these Press Conferences, and I believe he is acutely aware that he isn't President yet. He reminds the Press of this every time he speaks. And the manner in which he answers the "what will you do" questions is also entirely appropriate. He's not evasive, but he's careful not to say anything that would possibly influence what Bush or Congress are doing now.

I think this is a good thing. With his weekly YouTube address and with his freqent Press Conferences, he's returning to FDR and JFK's attitude toward accessibility to the electorate. He's got means at his hands to communicate like no President before him and his inclination to do so gives me a good feeling.

And (returning to that 'Bush asking for input' thing), if Bush is actually listening to what Obama says and is actively trying to help Obama to be in a position to act on his words in a few weeks, that's a damned good thing. Bush is in a position to do one of three things right now. He can petulantly use his last weeks to make all sorts of moves that he knows will just slow Obama down as he reverses them. He can actively make moves that grease the skids for Obama. Or, he can do a lot of nothing, neither making things eisier nor harder for the incoming Administration. That I don't see any signs of petulance, at the moment, leads me to grant Bush more credit for graciousness than I'd have expected.

Everything I've seen since the election just reinforces the reasons I'm glad I voted for Obama. He continues to project depth and calm reason. He's not evasive, but he's willing to flatly answer a question with, "I'm not going to discuss that". He seems a leader in a way I don't recall seeing in my lifetime.

That people are eager for the Bush years to be at an end and that they're eager for Obama to just get started is understandable. But have a little patience folks. Bush doesn't seem to be actively harming the country in his waning days. Obama is using the time to prepare. He needs that time and seems to be putting it to good use.

Having said that, I'm really looking forward to January 20th. I think we may be on the eve of great things. I'm optimistic in ways that no other President-elect in my memory has made me feel. I'm trying to caution myself against unreasonably high expectations, but at the same time, I'm hoping Obama exceeds the expectations I'm allowing myself.


Random Michelle K said...

Well, unless you're ignoring all the environmental regulations Bush is overturning/enacting.

And the fact they're taking political appointees and giving them career jobs in departments all over Washington.

Other than that they're not doing anything untoward.

Nathan said...

Damn you and your knowing stuff.

Random Michelle K said...

Hey, I'm a public radio listener and I'm PROUD! (and geeky)

Steve Buchheit said...

Random Michelle, so far they haven't be egregious about it in comparison to previous administrations. Hopefully we'll be able to change the rules around and help those who've transfered into career jobs see the light (hey, I have hope again, who knew?).

Tom said...

Nathan, I'm with you. And there are reasons that a newly elected President can't just take over. And reasons the incumbent is known as a Lame Duck.

Plus, it's only 2 1/2 months, total! Patience, people. :)

Jim Wright said...

I think at this point, GWB understands exactly what history will make of his administration. There's enough fodder to keep the analysts, historians, and PolSci PH'd "What Went Wrong" thesis writers busy for decades.

Bush has got to know that the population blames him for a lot of the current mess (not all of it is entirely his fault, but a lot of it is. Regardless he gets the blame, comes with the job).

Bush can't unfuck his mistakes, but he can temper them a bit by making the transition easier. And I suspect his current willingness to work with Obama has less to do with graciousness, and a hell of a lot more to do with tempering history's view of his administration.

I could be wrong, but after watching this conniving weasel for the last eight years I doubt it.

Michael Taylor said...

From what I've heard/read, many of the anti-environment, pro-business/industry regs Bush is enacting won't be so easy to overturn. The Clinton administration enacted a similar (if less well-planned) tsunami of last-minute regulations, and although Bush overturned what he could, close to 75% of those regs remain on the books. The Bush people started earlier and have been more careful than Clinton was, which will make their regs even harder to dump.

Many of these Hail Mary regulations are going to make life much worse for all of us in the long run. The coal industry will be largely exempt from clean water rules, allowing them to destroy rivers and streams by filling valleys and canyons with all the dirt they've removed to get at the coal. At the same time, power companies will be allowed to build up to 20 coal burning plants -- the absolute worst polluters --- right on the borders of our national parks.

This is vintage Bush, allowing business and industry to pillage the environment and pocket the profits while the public suffers.

Worst President Ever. We can't get that SOB out of office soon enough.