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Author Topic: The Obama White House
Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
It also silences a potential rival in 2012 if things get off to a rough start. As an added bonus whether intentionally or not, there are some people in the framework that Hillary has a working relationship with from Bill's days in the white house.

I don't have very strong opinions regarding the totality of the cabinet, because obviously there are tons more people to nominate. But so far Obama has selected very intelligent, and strong minded folks. I'll have to get to know them better.

I doubt he was considering 2012. Party nomination challenges to sitting presidents in recent memory are nothing compared to what they used to be. It made sense for Lincoln, especially considering he DID face a serious nomination challenge. But Clinton openly challenging Obama would be disastrous. If she won, especially because of problems in the country, she'd get blame for Democratic failures, and she'd also get extreme hostility for trying to oust a sitting president from her own party.

Frankly for her own ambition, staying out of the White House and going for the Governorship of NY makes more sense.

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sndrake
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I don't understand getting all worked up over the positions of Pelosi or (maybe) Clinton in the line of succession.

OTOH, there are some things that are legitimately fear-inducing.

Read this:

quote:
Byrd is President pro tempore of the United States Senate of the 110th United States Congress, a position that puts him third in line of presidential succession, behind Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
But Clinton openly challenging Obama would be disastrous. If she won, especially because of problems in the country, she'd get blame for Democratic failures, and she'd also get extreme hostility for trying to oust a sitting president from her own party.
In 1976, Reagan ran against sitting President Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination. He lost the primary but Ford lost the election. Reagan's challenge very likely contributed to that loss but it certainly didn't prove to be political suicide for Reagan.

In 1980, Ted Kennedy ran against sitting President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. He also lost the primary but then Carter lost the election.

I think there is now a wide spread consensus that running a campaign against a sitting President of your own party hurts the parts chances of winning the general election. But then the only cases where a person has been able to seriously challenge a sitting President of their own party are examples where that sitting President was very unpopular. It seems likely that Ford would have lost the election in '76 and Carter would have lost the election in '80 whether or not they had been challenged in their party primaries.

Perhaps the more correct conclusion to draw would be that it isn't possible to mount a significant challenge against a sitting President of your own party unless that President is already very unpopular.

In that case, it isn't actually that different from mounting a successful challenge against a sitting President of the opposition party.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by sndrake:
I don't understand getting all worked up over the positions of Pelosi or (maybe) Clinton in the line of succession.

OTOH, there are some things that are legitimately fear-inducing.

Read this:

quote:
Byrd is President pro tempore of the United States Senate of the 110th United States Congress, a position that puts him third in line of presidential succession, behind Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Robert Byrd is certainly an interesting character. There are certainly some huge ugly scars on his resume' but at the same time I must say I admire someone who is able to admit he was wrong and so completely change his views of race even if it took a personal tragedy to bring that change.

Reading Byrd's resume' sort of made me wish that Bush, Cheney and Pelosi would all suddenly resign so that Byrd could be sworn in as President for the next few weeks. I irony of having a President who filibustered the civil rights act and was a member of the KKK immediately succeeded by the first black president kind of tickles my fancy.

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sndrake
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Rabbit,

my main fear with Byrd is that he's just not up for the demands of the presidency. Couldn't find anything right now, but I know there have been reports about him nodding off a lot in the Senate.

In the Senate, he's working with familiar issues and colleagues. He has a staff he can depend on.

That means he can probably function adequately in his role in the Senate, but I wouldn't want him to assume the responsibilities of the presidency, even for a limited amount of time.

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Blayne Bradley
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Obama names his Financial team, Greithner will be new SecTres.
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Noemon
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Glen Greenwald has a good column on Obama's economic team, and how they're being received by the press.
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Strider
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press conference going on now. Obama has announced the national security team and they're all giving small speeches.

Hillary Clinton - Secretary of State
Jim Jones - national security adviser
Eric Holder - attorney general
Janet Napolitano - homeland security secretary
Susan Rice - ambassador to the United Nations

and Robert Gates is staying on.

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Noemon
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Anybody heard any kind of a rumor about positions for which Samantha Power might be being considered?
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Noemon
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I went looking for an answer immediately after posting the above question, and found this. The claim made in that post isn't substantiated by any kind of a link to anything definitive that I can see, so I'm taking it with a grain of salt, but it's still worth linking to here.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Anybody heard any kind of a rumor about positions for which Samantha Power might be being considered?

Oh, God forbid.
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Noemon
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Yeah, I'm aware that you don't like her.

[Edit - Actually, in my post asking about her I thought about including the sentence "Yes, Lisa, I know you don't like her."]

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Ron Lambert
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Gates must know where the bodies are buried. Some Democrats are very upset that he is staying on in his post.
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Chris Bridges
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And some Democrats are glad he's still there.

Frankly, what I'm seeing is the cabinet of a man who wants to govern, and not that of a man out to build a lasting supremacy of loyalists, and I like it.

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rivka
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Amen.

I want to see who gets picked for Secretary of Education. I can't even find speculation more recent than 3 weeks ago.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
I went looking for an answer immediately after posting the above question, and found this. The claim made in that post isn't substantiated by any kind of a link to anything definitive that I can see, so I'm taking it with a grain of salt, but it's still worth linking to here.

Unfortunately, it's true.

Link. She's there, about half way down the page.

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Noemon
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Thanks, Lisa.
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The Rabbit
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So it looks like Samantha Powers will be working in the State Department under Hilary Clinton. That's more than a touch ironic.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Amen.

I want to see who gets picked for Secretary of Education. I can't even find speculation more recent than 3 weeks ago.

I read somewhere that he's actually considering Chancellor Rhee from DC, but I've seen absolutely nothing to corroborate even suspicions that he might be considering doing so, and I can't even imagine the furor that doing so would create with the teachers unions. I've also seen The Governator's name in contention for the post, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and he wouldn't say yes anyway, so it's a moot point.

He seems to be focusing right now on the names that are most important to the issues he campaigned on: Economy, National Security, Energy and Healthcare. Education isn't nothing, and we'll probably get word on that by Christmas or so, but it's not top of the pack priority. I'd probably put it in the second tier, but still well above a lot of other posts.

Ron -

Gates' job as SecDef will likely be temporary, only for a year or two at most, and it has nothing to do with "knowing where the bodies are buried." If that's all it took, Rummy would still be around. Gates is there for a multitude of reasons, ranging from the fact that putting a hawk in front of dovish looking policies helps to sell them (much like Bush did in putting Powell in front of an Iraq War plan, only reversed). Gates agrees more with Obama on negotiation with Iran versus saber rattling. When you combine him with a more hawkish looking Hillary Clinton, who has cultivated a record as a Democratic hawk, and even Rahm Emmanuel as it related to Israel/Palestine policy, you have an Obama Administration that can push new ideas using proxies that won't be accused of being patsies for those ideas. Having new ideas come from proponents of the old ideas, or at least the camps of those who came up with them, helps lend them credence.

Plus he's a Republican, which sates the call for bi-partisanship for the sake of bi-partisanship. Plus the guy is well liked all over Capitol Hill and has a lot more credibility with the public on Middle Eastern war issues. Plus Obama worked well with him when he was a senator.

If Obama can get Clinton, Gates, and other wide ranging members of his national security team in place and keep them in line selling his new ideas, then it could turn out remarkably well. If they follow their own agendas and Obama has trouble reining them in, he'll have screwed up his foreign policy agenda for a couple years. There's always a risk in picking team members from the opposing camp to sell your own ideas, but there's also a lot of reward to be won in the risk if it works out well. During the campaign we saw an Obama that worked remarkably well at managing people, and often times people with far more experience than he in specific policy areas and in national politics. His campaign was the "no drama" campaign, to be easily contrasted with the clusterfrick of personalities and agendas that sunk Hillary Clinton's campaign. If he's the same kind of CEO of the country as he was of the campaign, then I think many of these choices will serve him very well, and he (and us) will be well rewarded for it.

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rivka
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I've seen a few articles, but they're all rewarmed speculation. [Wink]

Meanwhile, the transition team requested a list of priorities from NASFAA. If the new Secretary of Education can push through most of those, I'd sure be happy!

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BannaOj
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So what do we think of the Energy Secretary?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/10/AR2008121003681.html?hpid=topnews

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Noemon
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He sounds like a fantastic choice, from what I've read.
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Lyrhawn
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Well, a lot of people here and elsewhere were clamoring for Obama to appoint professionals (scientists etc) to posts, and it looks like that's exactly what he's done.

My only concern is that his undersecretaries be policy wonks and administrative veterans. Given the prominance energy policy is going to take under this administration, and the amount of wrangling the department will have to do with Congress, I fear that having a non-politico who doesn't know the ropes might hamper his efforts. His appointment is a great idea in a number of ways, I just want to make sure that his good ideas and plans don't get bogged down because he doesn't understand the process as well as an insider might.

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Noemon
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I agree that that is something to be considered generally when making appointments like this, but in this instance I think that Obama did a remarkable job of finding someone who is both an accomplished scientist and an able administrator. His experience as head of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has to mean that he knows how to deal with bureaucracy. The more I read, the more inspired I think the choice is.
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Samprimary
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I am ecstatic that obama is selecting Steven as energy secretary though it does make my life a .. uh, bit more complicated.
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Lisa
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Why?
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Noemon
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Maybe he's really Steven.
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rivka
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Or his co-worker.
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Tarrsk
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Or his evil twin brother.
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Lyrhawn
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Word on the street is Caroline Kennedy is angling for Clinton's senate seat. She has reportedly spoken with Gov. Patterson about the position and has made it known that she is interested in it. There are a large number of big names in the state that are considered up for the job however, making the Kennedy brand a contender, but not a shoe-in.

Also interesting, if she were to be appointed, it would mean every 1 in 25 senate seats was held by two families, the Kennedys and Udalls (who would have actually had 3 in the Senate if Merkley hadn't beat Smith, who was a distant cousin in Oregon).

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BannaOj
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http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2008/12/obama-names-salazar-interior-secretary.html

Senator Salazar interior secretary. He's really cleaning out the senate with his appointments. It is kind of bothering me. What is "normal" for an administration?

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not sure what his record is on interior issues, but on the surface it seems he has a decent rep. I'll have to delve into this one to see how he is, and how he fits into Obama's larger environmental team.

But as far as robbing the Senate goes, it might not have been a horrible choice. I know it looks like he is raiding the cookie jar pretty heavily, but a lot of his picks aren't that bad. Clinton is trouble actually, because if Giuliani runs in 2010, it could mean a real point of contention, whereas Clinton likely would have kept him in check, most of the Democrats who are in contention are unknown quantities, and it's questionable whether or not Patterson will make his choice dependent on who has the best chance to retain the seat. Caroline Kennedy at the least will be able to raise large sums of money, which will be necessary to beat the GOP contender in 2 years.

Biden out of Deleware isn't a big deal, it's basically a handoff to his son in two years with a placeholder to take the seat until then. Beau will likely win the seat handily when he comes back from Iraq. Illinois is going to be a clusterfrick, but that isn't Obama's fault. In Colorado, Salazar was actually shaping up to be a troubled hold for the Democrats. He's facing strong potential contenders from the GOP, though many expected him to hold onto the seat. Obama may have felt that a state he won handily in the election would be an easy save in two years with a new senator from the Dems.

Janet Nepolitano was considered the only hope the Dems had to steal the Senate seat there from McCain. She's very popular and was the only one really even in contention. Her appointment likely puts the seat solidly in the GOP camp.

One could argue that these are savvy appointments of people who know their issues well, have relationships with other lawmakers on the hill, many of whom are from a different generation of Democrats than the last, and who will be more effective in getting policy ideas turned into law. He's willing to raid the cookie jar if it gets him the most effective administration possible, and given his hiring savvy for his election team, he has good credentials in that regard.

2010 was looking like a strong year for Democrats in many ways, and Dems already have a large lead in the Senate, so it's possible that Obama felt the Dems could absorb the losses. And he might be right. So much depends on what Democrats actually have to run on in 2010. He's putting a LOT of pressure on himself to perform well.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

Also interesting, if she were to be appointed, it would mean every 1 in 25 senate seats was held by two families, the Kennedys and Udalls (who would have actually had 3 in the Senate if Merkley hadn't beat Smith, who was a distant cousin in Oregon).

That's a rather ham-fisted statistical pretzel. That's like saying my grandmother's mother on my father's side- her mother was a quarter native American. There was a similar line on the Sopranos, where you had to sit there going, wait... he's a 64th or a 128th?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

2010 was looking like a strong year for Democrats in many ways, and Dems already have a large lead in the Senate, so it's possible that Obama felt the Dems could absorb the losses. And he might be right. So much depends on what Democrats actually have to run on in 2010. He's putting a LOT of pressure on himself to perform well.

He has yet to give a single indication that he can't handle that pressure. I mean, really, how likely is it that everything he's done so well so far doesn't bode well for his actual performance upon ascending to President? If anything, the sheer gravitas he's accumulated will carry him even if he does make big mistakes- which I don't honestly think he will. He doesn't strike me as the kind of leader who lets a little mistake become a big one.
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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Also interesting, if she were to be appointed, it would mean every 1 in 25 senate seats was held by two families, the Kennedys and Udalls (who would have actually had 3 in the Senate if Merkley hadn't beat Smith, who was a distant cousin in Oregon).

So, that would be two families that each have two members of their family in the Senate.
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Lyrhawn
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Yeah. I didn't say it was calculus, it's just interesting. Considering the millions of American families, I find it interesting that any single family could or would have more than one member in a government body like the US Senate, and that two families could each have two is even more unlikely and interesting.

quote:
That's a rather ham-fisted statistical pretzel. That's like saying my grandmother's mother on my father's side- her mother was a quarter native American. There was a similar line on the Sopranos, where you had to sit there going, wait... he's a 64th or a 128th?
Actually it's like saying the Udalls are cousins and the Kennedys would be uncle and niece. Those aren't dramatically far removed relations. It's all within a generation. If Smith was still in the Senate, it'd be a little more distant.

quote:
He has yet to give a single indication that he can't handle that pressure. I mean, really, how likely is it that everything he's done so well so far doesn't bode well for his actual performance upon ascending to President? If anything, the sheer gravitas he's accumulated will carry him even if he does make big mistakes- which I don't honestly think he will. He doesn't strike me as the kind of leader who lets a little mistake become a big one.
I never voiced an opinion on whether or not I thought he'd succeed. I was just framing the issue. I'm as excited about him as anyone, but I'm also not willing to totally forget some of the mistakes and compromises that he HAS made. Is he only impressive because he's the best Democrat we've seen in a long time, or is he good independent of that? Not sure yet.
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rivka
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Education Secretary chosen
quote:
President-elect Barack Obama will pick Arne Duncan, a longtime friend who leads Chicago’s public-school system, as his education secretary, Democratic party sources said.

Mr. Obama’s choice of Mr. Duncan may signal the president-elect’s support for approaches to education policy pressed by advocates of deep structural change in elementary and secondary education. It is less clear what the selection might mean for higher education.

Hard to tell what this means.
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Lyrhawn
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I can't get in to read the article, but TIME has one as well on Duncan.

It looks like he's some sort of middle of the road reformer that straddles the divide between status quo hardliner and Michelle Rhee radical. If you do any further reading rivka, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of Duncan when you're finished forming one.

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Humean316
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Obama picks Vilsack as Ag Sec.

I think one thing is clear with the picks Obama is making, he is trying to bring together people in order to get things done. A while back, someone called Obama a pragmatic incrementalist, and I think that's an apt description here both with the Vilsack pick and the Duncan pick.

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Lyrhawn
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I worry about that choice though. Vilsack spent his time in the Senate defending massive giveaway Ag bills that are a huge waste of money to prop up major agrobusinesses who got a vast majority of the money while small farms still struggle and get edged out. I was hoping Obama might cut down on some of that, and putting the guy in charge of the Ag Department who was in the thick of it is not a good sign to me. But maybe he'll just his use knowledge of the industry to implement a different policy. I can hope.

His appointment, like so many others, also has Senate implications. Vilsack was seen by many as the best chance the Dems had to recapture the seat that's up in 2010 in Iowa. They might be back to square one.

I'm not sure if it's significant or if my knowledge has just expanded, but it seems like he's picking a lot of really big names for a lot of posts. I recognize well over half the people he's chosen thus far. More so than Bush did anyway.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
If you do any further reading rivka, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of Duncan when you're finished forming one.

At this point, anything in higher education (where most of my subscriptions focus) is going to be pretty speculative.

Ask me in a year. [Wink]

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rivka
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Today's Chronicle had a follow-up article. (Sorry, still subscribers only.)

This sounds hopeful:
quote:
The choice met with virtually unanimous acclaim, even among Republicans and teachers'-union leaders who chafed at some of Mr. Duncan’s plans to overhaul Chicago's schools but have said they appreciated the respect he showed them in the process of finding compromise.

National higher-education leaders joined in the praise, saying they hoped Mr. Duncan’s record in Chicago of emphasizing cooperation over confrontation will also characterize his relations with colleges when he gets to Washington.

“He demonstrated effective leadership at the K-through-12 level and has a clear appreciation for, and connection to, higher education,” said William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. “So it just seems to me that it’s a great choice.”


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Samprimary
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quote:
In Colorado, Salazar was actually shaping up to be a troubled hold for the Democrats. He's facing strong potential contenders from the GOP, though many expected him to hold onto the seat. Obama may have felt that a state he won handily in the election would be an easy save in two years with a new senator from the Dems.
The colorado gop is actually ecstatic over the salazar appointment because it provides them a remote chance to beat an appointment over an expected 'snowball in hell' chance of toppling one of the salazar bros.
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Lyrhawn
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I guess I need to read different political gossip. Or at least more varieties of it.
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Samprimary
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sauce on that last one:

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/dec/16/gop-eyes-salazars-senate-seat-2010/

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kmbboots
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So far, the "appointment" I am most unhappy about is this one.

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/12/18/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4675325.shtml

And it is more symbol than substance. Still, symbol counts.

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Strider
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i'm with you.
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Dagonee
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I'm impressed that he's making such visible efforts to reach across partisan boundaries.
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dkw
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quote:
"Warren represents the absolute worst of the Democrats' religious outreach, a right-winger masquerading as a do-gooder anointed as the arbiter of what it means to be faithful," she added.
Wow. I wasn't aware that giving the invocation at the inauguration confered that power.
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kmbboots
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It doesn't confer power, but it does send a message. I understand the impetus to reach out, but it is unfortunate that by extending a hand to social conservatives, President-elect Obama is giving the back of his hand to the gay community.
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