President-Elect Obama (I’ll call him Barry because I consider him a friend even though I have never met him) has held three press conferences in three days which I think triples the number the current acting president has held this year (you fact checkers out there can check that fact but I exaggerate to make a point). The point is that he’s out there getting it together in a fairly public manner so that once the parties end on Jan 20, the noses collectively hit the grindstone on Jan 21. But there’s quite a bit more than that going on here.
The obvious is that he’s bringing out the functionaries of the administration in order to show he’s got some good heads getting in the game at a time when good thinking is sorely needed. By doing so, the assorted strata of the economic world can begin to get a sense of what they might be able to expect when these folks can finally get to work. Business folk in a panic as they are now like it when they can get a sense of what’s up ahead so they can plan poorly for it by hoarding more money away from middle class folks.
But besides the intended confidence building in the public eye, several other items are being attended to which are much more stealthy and in some ways much more important over the long-term for how the administration will function and hopefully succeed both for itself and the nation.
First, Barry is getting a hang for being the point guy. He’s getting in front of the press at a time when they are still a pretty fawning bunch. Considering that they have been cowed for much of the past eight years, the process of re-specinization to something approaching responsible members of the fourth estate is probably inevitable so it’s best for Barry to start the honeymoon as early as possible because the morning after will be at hand soon enough. I sense that the press will feel it needs to grow hairy cohones again before long to make up for their failures of the GW Bush years. By the time that happens though, Barry will have mastered the art of live press manipulation and will be ready for the arrows inevitably thrown his way when something fails to go exactly according to plan.
Second, we are getting used to seeing him out there talking about the actual policies that will be proposed to deal with real time situations, all which are major crises, as opposed to hearing them as semi-vague campaign promises not applied to anything. We will be very comfortable with Barry as Leader by the time Jan 21 rolls around, surely looking forward to the immediate impact of the plans to come. Which leads right to,,,,
Third, since we will be comfortable with Barry and aware of his plans and the people to implement them, the newly powerful democratic Congress will have a very hard time bucking against anything the president proposes without being instantly seen as obstacles to getting the country back on track. And the same will be true of the republican rump who will need to find a way to say something useful after the damage they’ve countenanced during their time in the spotlight. Once the policy proposals start coming out in any specific way, I’ll be very curious to see if any noteworthy reactions are sought from Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.
So it seems to me that from a political standpoint, unless or until a major policy stumbles, my friend Barry may very well be looking at unprecedentedly smooth sailing as he gets to work while the rest of us recover from our inauguration day hangovers. For me I expect it will be with a smile through the headache and tummy rumbles.
We still have a couple months of this to go through but I presume since this is Thanksgiving weekend we won’t be seeing anymore of news conferences this week. But keep an eye out early next week for the foreign affairs team to get rolled out with a final word on the latest Hillary sweepstakes. And I’m just guessing here, but what a big splash it would be if the last cabinet post named is Department of Energy featuring our old friend Al Gore, eh?