Obama May have Used Up His Allowance

What a difference 24 hours can make.  Most Democrats were and still are willing to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt. That some allowance should be made for his appointments. So far that allowance has, for some Democrats included Hillary Clinton. For others it has included SecDef Gates and for others economic adviser Summers. This allowance might also include consulting with Bush 41 National Security adviser Brent Scowcroft. It looked like Bill Clinton redux. Some might say Republican-lite. Obama mat be tipping dangerously over into Bush-lite, especially in regards to national security, if he  has Gen. Michael Hayden, Bush’s former NSA Director stay on in the new administration as CIA Director. Gen. Hayden and the claimed irrelevance of presidential appointments

In May, 2006, Barack Obama voted against confirming Gen. Hayden as CIA Director. Obama was one of only 15 Senators to oppose Hayden.  In his speech on the Senate floor explaining his vote, Obama emphasized Hayden’s role as Bush’s NSA Director in implementing and overseeing Bush’s illegal warrantless surveillance programs — programs Obama has repeatedly decried as an assault on the rule of law.

In fact, Obama, while acknowledging in his speech that Hayden was “qualified,” described Hayden — accurately — “as the architect and chief defender of a program of wiretapping and collection of phone records outside of FISA oversight.”

Glenn is justified in saying that Obama’s appointments should not be claimed to be irrelevant – covered by the Obama claim that change starts with him. I would not and did not in my last post make that claim. Only that up until this latest news about Hayden, Obama’s choices were pragmatic, though some – Summers and Gates in particular were clearly lacking in progressive vision. None the less they were appointments that one could rationalize to some extent with the desire to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and not big surprises considering the platform he ran on. Now one of the major cheerleaders and executors of Bush’s policies, which Obama is on record as considering illegal, not only gets a forgive and forget card, but an invitation to continue.

So far the public likes what it sees, Poll: 79% approve of way Obama is handling transition. That might be part of the problem. His advisers are telling him to keep doing what he’s doing because his poll numbers look good. So far his actions – cabinet and other appointments aside – haven’t been disappointing. Many rank and file Democrats, and Republicans for that matter, are so glad to see Bush leaving and having a new president they’re not paying much attention.

I don’t have the time and I’m not sure its worth the effort to post links and excerpts anyway, but some libertarians and right-wingers are already determined to sabotage any public works programs that Obama proposes – as usual pulling stats out of that place where the sun don’t shine. Well the business community likes what they hear, New Deal: Business likes Obama plan

Business groups believe injecting funds into rebuilding America’s roads and highways could put thousands back to work at a time of rising unemployment. As a result, lobbyists from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are asking lawmakers and Obama’s transition team to funnel federal funds to “shovel-ready” projects as the best way to stimulate the flagging economy.

“Our view is we need significant investments in the nation’s infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Aric Newhouse, NAM’s senior vice president of policy and government relations.

I don’t think we need new roads as much as improved roads and in many areas more lanes. That might be where the critics on the Republican side and environmentalists find common ground.

Bush’s gift to America and president Obama.

What Obama Has to Look Forward To

A new GAO report says he inherits a federal government rife with “waste, fraud, and mismanagement.”

The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Agriculture have no plan to work together in the event of a food-borne disease outbreak or terrorist attack. The Department of Defense’s security clearance process takes so long it jeopardizes classified information. The EPA’s chemical risk assessment program is improperly influenced by private industry.

[   ]…The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress that frequently exposes waste, incompetence, and corruption in the federal government, supplemented its proposed questions with summaries of problems in the executive branch. The result is a catalogue of hundreds of unresolved issues that the Bush administration is leaving behind for Obama and his administration.

This would be another part of that wholesome and delicious Bush legacy the Right is trying to rescue.