Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stumbles mar Obama’s transition

January 11, 2009

Advertisement

— It was not lost on anyone that the president-elect of the United States, riding the crest of his popularity, and the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate were outsmarted last week by a state politician who won his last election almost 20 years ago.

When and if Roland Burris claims the Senate seat from Illinois formerly occupied by Barack Obama, it will represent the greatest climb-down by an incoming president since Sam Nunn turned Bill Clinton around on the issue of gays in the military at the start of Clinton’s first term.

Fortunately for Obama, the voters are much more concerned with the economy and Obama’s effort to fix it than they are with the infighting over the Illinois Senate seat.

But politicians keep score on each other all the time. And, after a near-perfect month of transition operations, Obama has stumbled twice in two weeks, first being caught unaware by the investigation of Bill Richardson, his choice for commerce secretary, and then being outmaneuvered by Burris and his tawdry sponsor, Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

There are lessons for Obama in both incidents, starting with the importance of really knowing the other players in the game. Obama has had such a rapid rise in national politics that there are many key figures in both parties he barely has had time to size up.

But Richardson was a familiar fellow traveler on the 2007-08 presidential campaign trail, and Obama should have known that there were reports of a grand jury investigation of pay-for-play in New Mexico.

As for Blagojevich, Obama had to know, from his years in Springfield and Chicago, about the governor’s tawdry and ruthless reputation. But Obama seriously underestimated him.

Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, got all 50 members of his caucus to sign a statement vowing they would never accept a Senate appointee from Blagojevich’s tainted hands, after prosecutors had published excerpts of wiretaps in which the governor had salivated obscenely over the way he could cash in on Obama’s Senate vacancy.

Obama personally endorsed that hard-line stand against seating anyone “tainted” by Blagojevich, issuing a statement that backed Reid and the others. But Burris was no more impressed than Blagojevich had been.

When the governor called the senators’ bluff, Burris launched a public relations blitz on television, insisting that it would be unfair to punish him for the governor’s alleged sins. Ignored for the moment was the fact that Burris had been rejected by the voters in three straight Illinois Democratic gubernatorial races and in one primary for mayor of Chicago. Had the Democratic-controlled Legislature ordered a special election, the odds against Burris would have been enormous.

But Burris’ ego is limitless. And it turned out that Reid had, once again, failed to do his homework or line up his votes. When Chicago black congressman Bobby Rush played the race card, questioning why anyone would stand in the way of Burris succeeding Obama as the lone African-American senator, you could feel a wave of anxiety go through Democratic ranks.

Soon, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the outgoing chairwoman of the Rules Committee and a potential candidate for California governor next year, publicly called on Reid to relent. The Congressional Black Caucus weighed in on Burris’ behalf. By the time Burris sat down with Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, the fight was effectively over and Burris was gracious about accepting their surrender. Obama conceded as well, saying that if the Senate seated Burris, “then I’m going to work with Roland Burris just like I work with all the other senators.”

Obama justifiably figured that Burris was not worth a knockdown fight when he has so many bigger battles ahead of him. But the lesson that other politicians have drawn is that Obama may not always be able to count on his congressional allies and they may not be able to count on him. That is not the way he wanted to begin.

— David Broder is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

relax & have a popsicle, ariadne. It's a cool and fruity treat on a winter day.

0

ariadne 5 years, 3 months ago

Bush / Cheney how can we even count the number of lies?see the Downing Street Memos ---http://downingstreetmemo.com/

0

ariadne 5 years, 3 months ago

what about W's --- 'downing street memos' ?is that a wee bit of a stumble?The fact that the war effectively began with an air campaign nearly a year before the March 2003 invasion and months before Congressional approval for the use of force

0

ariadne 5 years, 3 months ago

no stumbles can quite equal W!where is Osama Bin Laden?did anyone ask Herbert Walker Bush?Mission Accomplished?videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFijzDyJnVE

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Are you saying that jaywalker may be David Burress? Shocking, I tell you. Shocking!!!

0

Exposer 5 years, 3 months ago

"Her post, like 80% of all posts on forums like this, could have been worded better, jaywalker, but it was clear enough, especially if you are informed about world affairs. Perhaps you need to do a little homework so you can keep up, jaywalker." - bozoDavid Burress also makes snide and ignorant remarks. Another coincidence?

0

bad_dog 5 years, 3 months ago

@jason2007. No, not everything is Bushie's fault... Sorry if I hurt your feelings. I blame Mother Nature for the cold winter ;-) I also named several others above that can share the load. Likewise, there are culpable Democrats to point at as well. What is somewhat irritating to me is the way certain Conservatives-particularly many of those that post here, come up with any excuse to post non-value added drivel merely for the sake of moving their yaps with Coulter/Limbaugh-esque mimicking. Likewise again, there are many on the Left, equally guilty of inane commentaries.Chances are pretty good we will be in the same or worse condition whether it be 6, 12 or 18 months from now. We aren't going to dig out of the multi-faceted hole we are faced with in just 6 months. I will, however, withhold criticism of anyone in power until the circumstances justify doing so. I supported Bush 43 because of his office rather than his politics for a long time. Nevertheless, after 8 years of Bushco's regime, it is time for assessment and objective criticism of their collective incompetence and malfeasance as well as to give a pat on the back if/when appropriate.We all need to collectively get over our mutual resentment of lost past elections and disappointing political leadership of the "other" party or we will be doomed to snipe ourselves into an oblivion of our own creation. No one should get a "free pass" but for Pete's sake, let's wait until Obama takes office and actually does something worthy of criticism before commencing with the snarky comments. Broder's comments above regarding Obama's being "caught unaware" of the Richardson investigation is misleading at best. As I understand the situation, Obama and his team were very aware of the investigation, but were informed by Richardson it was going nowhere and would end quickly. I guess we'll see just how that plays out over time. In the meantime, I suggest we'd all be better served if we used a little more restraint and exercised a little less freedom of speech.Just my take. I could be wrong.

0

Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

@Snap: But it has been insinuated. There was a post on DailyKos just last week that referenced how the break-up of Pangea was directly related to the Bush Doctrine. That might have resulted in the shake-up of the marine ecological system and could speak to the demise of certain species during that timeframe.

0

Pilgrim2 5 years, 3 months ago

This article is about Barry Joe's screw-ups, yet the BDS floats to the top as usual.Pathetic.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

The role of George Bush in the Permian Extinction has never been full revealed.

0

Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

@Bad_dog: Yes, we're all very aware that everything is Bush's fault. I wonder who you guys are going to blame in 6 months when we're in the same situation as we are today -- if not worse. I'll be waiting for the sophomoric name-calling of Obama's administration because I know you're watching out for the people and are totally fair, right?

0

bad_dog 5 years, 3 months ago

"Global Potentate?"Beats Bush/Cheney/Wolfowitz/Dumsfeld/Gonzalez/Miers, et al starring in "The Universal Impotentates".

0

Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

@Snap_pop_no_crackle:Global Potentate?

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

If he maintains his previous pattern, the O'dude will immediately start running for another office.

0

pelliott 5 years, 3 months ago

happily I am not a conservative jerk who thinks that Obama should be perfect or is responsible for the sun rise and the moon set. I hope he keeps the focus on peace and on the economy and won't be distracted by the gnats that try and give him responsibility for every flaw in the country. One should ask, Why didn't Bush clean up the country? Oh yeah, he was too busy making it a mess. Deregulation and privatization seems to be the old slip it in my back pocket and in the name of freedom watch me line my nest. It is a pity that the boys seem to be getting out without impeachment. It would be good for the youth in this country to see that people who are responsible by their actions (not by imaginary super powers), are convicted. If anyone is flawed it is the still deep in denial right that want the Bush to go quietly into the shadow. Later to be rehabilitated to join Nixon in the league of "I am not a crook" too bad, they are crooks. It a bit late to look the other way and say, well what are they hurting.

0

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

Meaningless and evasive as ever, bozo. Run Forrest!!

0

ese 5 years, 3 months ago

jaywalker, I don't think there is 6 degrees of separation between Osama and Obama.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, jaywalker, there's little I can do for your ego deficiency.

0

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

The day you actually outwit me, bozo, is the day I take my own life. And pigs fly. Hell freezes over. Bin laden's elected President.In short, it'd be a really big day.I'm deficient in world affairs? You mean like someone that would say, " since Israel is quite clearly targeting civilians..." is deficient? Or someone who says the Lancet study (a poll based on phone calls to 1500 homes) is the most accurate source for an Iraq casualty count? Or someone who constantly spouts a million have been killed in Iraq when the number is actually 1/10th of that? That kind of deficiency? Please refer to the first half of this post for a reminder.Now THAT is class dismissed.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

One Democrat's primary goal these days is to distance himself from the Chicago culture of corruption that enabled his rise to national politics despite the fact that his only talent is self-promotion.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

This article describes well the direction it appears Obama is headed, Jason.http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/01/11/centrism/index.html"The central tenets of the Beltway religion -- particularly when a Democrat is in the White House -- have long been "centrism" and "bipartisanship." The only good Democrats are the ones who scorn their "left-wing" base while embracing Republicans. In Beltway lingo, that's what "pragmatism" and good "post-partisanship" mean: a Democrat whose primary goal is to prove he's not one of those leftists. "

0

Chris Ogle 5 years, 3 months ago

Oh my .... forgot about Hillary. Poor Obama. At least he and ol Bill got to chat at the Presidents lunch bunch. I bet she was a topic.

0

ese 5 years, 3 months ago

Give Obama a break. He has no executive experience and it will take time for the Clintons to train him.

0

Chris Ogle 5 years, 3 months ago

Man.... just doesn't seem fair. The man hasn't even stepped up to the plate, and already has two strikes. At least give him a full count.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Are we still getting unicorns?

0

Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

The only thing I care about is whether or not Obama's going to follow through with a promise made in an interview to "throw his weight around" and fix the BCS.Economy doesn't matter, health care doesn't matter, deficit doesn't matter when compared to the breadth of the problem the colleges are facing in the post-season. (Big time tongue in cheek for those of you who are already busy authoring a flame)All seriousness now, I am finding myself really anticipating the Obama inauguration -- more than any other previous Presidency. I can't wait to see what this guy is going to do. Is he all smoke and mirrors like many believe or does he have the substance and depth in ability to fix problems? I'm rooting for Mr. Obama's success because that's the American thing to do but I'm very skeptical. Hopefully I will be very surprised.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

"Simple times tables and my ABC's and I'm miles ahead of you, bozo."What I pointed out was your deficiency in world affairs, jaywalker. You may also need work on your ciphering and spelling, but you'll still be just as ignorant on world affairs without specifically working in that area, as well.Class dismissed.

0

lounger 5 years, 3 months ago

David you will eat your words my friend....

0

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

" Perhaps you need to do a little homework so you can keep up, jaywalker."Simple times tables and my ABC's and I'm miles ahead of you, bozo.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Seeing how easily Blago had his way with the Senate Democrats & the O'dude must have been very encouraging to both the Russians and the Iranians.

0

XD40 5 years, 3 months ago

Wow! Poor Obama. His mother-in-law is moving into the White House with him and Michelle.http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/10349-Why-I-wouldnt-want-to-be-Obama,-plus-Mother-in-Law.htmlSucks to be Obama.

0

XD40 5 years, 3 months ago

Looks like Obama got elected selling the changey hope, hopey changes progressive left a bill of goods. He will be tainted by the polictics of Chicago which are somewhat different from the politics of change. He continues to back-peddle on his 'agenda' including the closing of Guantanomo Bay.It is to laugh.

0

logicsound04 5 years, 3 months ago

Okay, I'll give you Richardson. Obama absolutely should have been aware of a pending investigation and has a bit of egg on his face.However, laying the Burris fiasco at his feet is absurd. The seating of Roland Burris was an issue for the Senate and was handled poorly. They steeled their resolve to prevent Burris from being seated before attempting to find out if they really had the abiliy to block his seating.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Funny how that "stinking polluted pond" is poised to impeach and remove the governor for transgressions that don't even come close to the width, breadth and depth of the criminality of Bush and Cheney.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Blago and the O'dude are two fish out of the same stinking polluted pond.

0

Pilgrim 5 years, 3 months ago

AjiDeGallina (Anonymous) says…The right wing extremist are trying SO HARD to try and paint the Illinois Governor as equal to Obama.********They're both Illinois politicians. What more do we need to know?

0

Mixolydian 5 years, 3 months ago

After the next terrorist attack on US soil that was missed by the CIA, will we hear Obama exclaim:Way to go Pannettie!

0

AjiDeGallina 5 years, 3 months ago

The right wing extremist are trying SO HARD to try and paint the Illinois Governor as equal to Obama.They have nothing honest to say, so they lie.How pathetic.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

ariadne, relasx, have a popsicle. It's a cool and fruity treat on a winter day. BTW, stop emailing your drivel to me. I delete them without opening.

0

ariadne 5 years, 3 months ago

stumbles ain't nothin compared to George's WAR(rumsfeld/cheney) chickenhawks in charge 2000 - 2008.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Her post, like 80% of all posts on forums like this, could have been worded better, jaywalker, but it was clear enough, especially if you are informed about world affairs. Perhaps you need to do a little homework so you can keep up, jaywalker.

0

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

What in the name of Scooby Doo is Buffy ramblin' about?What 'stumble'? Obama's stumble? And having Howard as a friend cost him an election too? Or is that cost Howard an election? Still the 'too' doesn't make any sense, she knows Bush wasn't running this time, right? Coffee first, sweetheart. Then try to formulate a coherent thought. Sweet cheese and rice.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

The fix is in. It's the Chicago way on a national level.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

"Richardson's about to have some company under the bus."Republicans are going to raise a stink, but it looks to me that they are just trying to paint Holder as being a Democratic version Roberto Gonzalez. It might make for some prickly sessions at the hearings, but he will be approved.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Richardson's about to have some company under the bus."Eric H. Holder Jr. is facing increasing resistance to his bid to become the next attorney general, emerging from President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet nominees as the prime target of Senate Republicans, both because of troubling episodes during his service in the Clinton administration and because of the sensitivity of the post overseeing the Justice Department."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/09/AR2009010903787.html?wprss=rss_politics

0

BuffyloGal 5 years, 3 months ago

And here I thought the stumble was Bushie's booking former PM John Howard into a one-night stay at the Blair House depriving the Obamas of a home for two weeks. At least George still has one friend in the world, even if it did lose him an election too.

0

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

Richardson was a lapse, Blago is a disaster though not of BO's making. The only issue I have thus far is with Panetta being named head of the CIA. While he is a brilliant man, the appointment is puzzling and disconcerting. Hope it works out ok, but the move is akin to placing a Home Depot general manager in charge of Victoria's Secret world operations.

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

"Is it too soon to talk about the failed Obama presidency just because Obama isn't president yet? That depends upon how quickly Barack Obama is able to apply the lessons he's learned from Management Secrets of the Illinois Governors. So far he's not doing very well..."http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000%5C000%5C015%5C987slhyv.asp

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.