The Transition

Al Giordano shows us what it will look like:

Obama won’t attend the G-20 Economic Summit: “We only have one president at a time,” said Podesta. “The president-elect will not be meeting with leaders who are coming to Washington. He will be in Chicago.” In some cases, top aides will meet with foreign leaders while they are in DC.

Don’t Expect Any Cabinet Nominations Until December: “No president other than George Herbert Walker Bush has named a cabinet member before December, going back to the Kennedy administration.” Obama himself will make those announcements, mostly from Chicago. Special early attention is being given to “the economic team and the national security team.” There is extensive vetting going on (no doubt Podesta remembers how President Clinton’s first and second nominations for Attorney General – Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood – crashed upon the discovery that each had hired undocumented workers, which also served to mire that administration in media turmoil at the precise moment when it had wanted to hit the ground running on policy). Obama will meet with each of his cabinet secretaries in person before approving them. Podesta made a joke about the press doing “stakeouts” to try and find out with whom he is meeting.

Expect more than one token Republican: President-elect Obama “wants to see people who are not just Democrats in office, to reach out and have Republicans and Independents not just on a token level,” and that will extend to sub-cabinet posts as well.

No Quid Pro Quo on Colombian Trade Deal: Podesta pushed back at press reports that President Bush had suggested exchanging his support for an economic recovery package for the US-Colombia trade agreement, which, Podesta iterated, “should be dealt with on its own merits.”

Economic Recovery-Stimulus Package Will Be First Order of Business: If the previous Congress hasn’t passed one already.

Every Executive Order by Bush is Under Review: Those that Obama promised during the campaign to rescind, will be eliminated immediately.

“He Intends to Close the Facility at Guantanamo”: In those words.

Withdrawing from Iraq: The policy “will be consistent with what he said in the campaign.”

This is extremely heartening.

First, Obama is being respectful of the Constitution and his current role by not stepping on the current President’s toes.

Second, he’s being thorough and methodical, promising to completely vet his cabinet selections so his new administration can start solving our problems immediately.  Clinton’s transition problems gave the GOP an opening they exploited all the way to the 1994 elections; we can’t afford to make those same mistakes again.

And third, Obama is keeping his priorities in place–right off the bat he’s promising to fix the economy, begin withdrawal from Iraq and review all of the Bush administration’s questionably-legal executive orders.

If this is a preview of Obama’s governance, I’m ecstatic.

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