A Fixer Upper and other transition thoughts

This Tony Auth cartoon from earlier this week shows the magnitude of what the Obama-Biden administration will have to do before they can even initiate any new agenda items.

To begin with you have a President, George W., who keeps talking about transparency while his Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, won’t say what he did with the $350 billion or to which banks and companies he gave money.  Is this a case of the fox guarding the hen house?  Is this a planned looting?  One has to ask.  Bob was reminded of Cato the Elder so I pulled out a copy of Plutarch’s Lives and started reading about Cato.  I know that I read many of the biographies 40 years ago as a student at St. John’s College (Annapolis), but this was really tough going.  I did gather that Cato was known to guard the public purse to the extent that once he gave away his horse rather than put the public to the expense of shipping it back to Rome.

I’m not one who will criticize President-elect Obama for including so many former Clinton officials in his transition – particularly on the teams going into the agencies.  First, they are the last Democratic group who have experience and second, many of them will know what to look for.  I’m thinking, for example, of Roberta Achtenberg who will be looking at HUD.  I was impressed with her when she was heading HUD Fair Housing and I was working in the area.  So I’m not all hysterical about “the return of the Clintons” which some are making sound like a horror movie.  Much better to have some veterans help you than to follow the Clinton model take too long to get started because people you appointed didn’t know the lay of the land.

And speaking of the Clintons will Hillary be Secretary of State?  I think a good choice as it will keep in in the fold and prevent her and Bill from freelancing.  But then what do you do with Bill Richardson?  Energy?  Transportation?  I think Obama would be smart to include both of them in his administration.

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