Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Some thoughts on the Obama Transition

I read this article talking about the way the Obama team has been using their announcements to raise cash, and it got me thinking. And here are some of those thoughts...

Thought 1: Why does Obama keep asking me for money?. I mean he won and all, why is he continuing the trend of turning good and bad news into a plea for cash? A little digging showed me that during the Clinton to Bush transition of 2000 "[the Bush transition team] spent $5 million allocated by PTA as well as another $4.7 million in private funds."

In other words, it's not unusual to have millions of dollars come from private sources to fund the transition. But why me?

Well, if you're not going to have individuals provide, then you're going to expect companies to deliver. And if you're going to involve companies, the question of what the companies expect in return comes up.

So, if we give money to the transition then the president is beholden to us. Hmmm, that's actually the way it's supposed to be - right?

Thought 2: Please, tell me I never took this attitude with Bush? Here's an especially juicy comment from the above article:

All part of the Neverending Campaign that will be the Obama Presidency.

You didn't think the candidate built on image alone with no record of actually running anything would actually try to get anything done, did you?

[more that's been trimmed]

Whoa - the guy isn't president yet, and this particular citizen is already annoyed that he hasn't done anything. Wouldn't it be a problem if he was doing something, as he isn't president? Surely, I hope when Bush beat Gore I didn't behave like my mind was already made up?

Thought 3:What's up with all these press conferences? Seems like every few days Obama is announcing yet another position and holding another press conference. Is this sort of thing normal?

Of course it is. Check out Bush's list of transition press conferences. I guess I'm just paying more attention this time.

Thought 4:Did Bush really just say that?. When Obama was asked:

"Hundreds of your friends are wondering what you're going to do because they're in desperate straights from the standpoints of their budgets,"

Obama answered, among other statements:

Now you mentioned, sort of, my friends. I want to be clear friendship doesn't come into this. That's part of the old way of doing business.

Fair enough - nothing too exotic there. Now, look at Bush's announcement of Joe Allbaugh as head of FEMA:

Today, it is my honor to report to the nation that the remainder of the "triangle" has agreed to serve in my administration. First, Joe Allbaugh: Joe has been a loyal, strong friend who has agreed to become the director of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA is an incredibly important part of a president's team. The person who runs FEMA is someone who must have the trust of the president, because the person who runs FEMA really is the first voice often times that someone whose lives have been turned upside down hears from.

In other words, the most important criteria to President-Elect Bush was loyalty and friendship. Amazing. Not experience and not their ability to push back. But, perhaps I'm being too critical - after all, it's only FEMA we are talking about. How important could FEMA really be?

There, with all that said, I feel much better.

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