Let the Governance Begin

Remember how, during the 2000 recount, the Bush team made a visible show of beginning their transition to power? That was about the last smart thing the Bush Administration did. It got people accustomed to the idea of Bush governing even before SCOTUS cast its vote.

In a similar move, Obama is beginning to tailor his events to show how he will govern, rather than just telling how he will do so. I strongly suspect that’s what his half-hour TV buy will do next week–it’ll look and feel like a presidential press conference, and he will presumably introduce what he would like to be included in the post-election stimulus package and beyond to fix the economy.

Similarly, at a campaign event in Florida today, Obama is showing the kinds of people he will listen to–and how he will listen (CNN stream here).  Obama has brought a bunch of swing state governors (Strickland, Granholm, Richardson–and I think Ritter, too), Paul Volcker, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and a small business owner to discuss how they would foster job growth. Sure, Obama got to make a speech about how he would invest in new jobs. And sure, most of the speakers reinforced Obama’s own policies (though, as an example, Richardson is disagreeing with him now, and telling him to ditch NCLB). But it puts Obama in the role he will be in–guiding the discussion of a lot of experts and listening. And he gets to make cracks like this:

I’m going to show the kind of leadership I’m gonna show in the White House. Anyone who wants to can take off their jackets. It’s really warm in here. This is how we’re going to do things in the White House–use some common sense.

All of which provides Obama with an opportunity to further ease the concerns of people who like Obama, but are just not yet comfortable enough he’s got the experience to be President.

To be honest, both of these events (the half hour presser and this jobs conference) are great politics. The presser gives Obama one last opportunity to get a bump from people seeing him and liking his calm on TV. This jobs conference pitches to a number of swing states–Granholm’s Michigan, Strickland’s Ohio, Richardson’s New Mexico, and Ritter’s Colorado. At the same time, it builds the pressure on Charlie Crist for his lukewarm support for McCain, even while providing a new twist on a campaign rally in Florida; in particular, Obama keeps bringing the general points back to issues that apply to Florida.

But just as importantly, it cements the image of Obama governing in an effective, but non-presumptuous way.

Update: One more cute exchange. After Obama talks about what went wrong with the mortgage market and how we have to stabilize the housing industry, he turns to Paul Volcker and asks if he wants to add anything: 

 Volcker: I don’t know why I’m here–you give my speech better than I do.

25 replies
  1. Sixty Something says:

    Remember how, during the 2000 recount, the Bush team made a visible show of beginning their transition to power?

    You bet I do! It infuriated me!

    Hope to see some Republicans infuriated this time. *g* Even better, hope the vote won’t even be close.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’d love it on several levels. We have no better diplomat. I think Richardson has enough umph that he would reverse the trend of State losing power and funding to DOD. And I think he’d be the first Latino SOS (why is it so much easier to break glass ceilings at State??).

      • JThomason says:

        It’s a move that just seems natural. Obama acknowledged the toxic labor situation in South America, specifically Columbia, in the last debate. Richardson may offer some hope for shoring up cooperation and leadership in the Western Hemisphere. Part of Obama’s promise is a new international profile. What better place to start than in the neighborhood–a fantastic opportunity.

  2. emptywheel says:

    It just struck me that Schweitzer was missing–also now a swing state. I guess you can only have so many govs on stage, though, and Obama didn’t need another white man.

  3. Loo Hoo. says:

    NYT via AP:

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The Pentagon announced Tuesday it dropped war-crimes charges against five Guantanamo Bay detainees after the former prosecutor for all cases complained that the military was withholding evidence helpful to the defense.

  4. radiofreewill says:

    I’ve been fortunate to know some Somoans during my life – great, love-able people!

    For sport, they’ll get together and use machete’s to cut and shape sticks that look like a 3-ft long, skinny part of a baseball bat that never fills out into a barrel. At the end of the stick, they attach a 4-ft. cord, like the cord used on the starter-rope of a lawn-mower. Then, they’ll cut and aero-dynamically shape another stick into a long, 5 or 6 ft, tear-drop shaped spear (a ballistic broom-stick) with three ring-grooves just behind the fat-est part of the spear.

    Then, they take turns – starting from about 100 yds out – at knocking a coconut out of a tree full of ripe coconuts. Believe it, or not, they can wind the end of the cord around the spear grooves, lay the spear on the ground, pick-up the ’sling’ stick, use it to take out the slack, and then with a few powerful steps they have those jokers hurtling across the field like missles!

    If they all miss from 100, they’ll step-up to 75 and try again, and keep moving forward until they have a winner. But, they all have stories about the ‘time they dropped the coconut from the 100 on the first try’ – usually with no witnesses around to vouch for them – Somoan trash-talk, if you will. But, amongst them, there are well known cases of skillful athletes ‘calling the shot’ in front of many people, and they, in particular, are held in high esteem.

    So, that’s a long-winded way of saying that your point in this article looks like it’s whistling right at the coconut with the presidential seal on it, 8 days across the political field.

    If this were on Intrade, I’d be betting on you!

    Thanks for all that you do!

  5. plunger says:

    WOW!!! REAL Exit poll results by an avid McCain supporter. Save this and make it famous:


    The Neocon Express just spent a depressing 3 hours conducting an exit poll at a Las Vegas early voting station. The Location was in a more affluent Western suburb of Las Vegas, on the edge of Summerlin; More specifically, at the Vons shopping center on Rampart, between Charleston and Sahara. It was a glorious day in Las Vegas so what better way to spend a few hours than by hanging outside a polling station and randomly sampling voters, right?

    Nevada is a swing state, and the middle to upper middle class suburbs of Las Vegas, like this location, are a crucial indicator of how the state might go. Early voting started at this location yesterday and the lines have been long and non-stop all day, with people waiting in line an average of 45 minutes to cast their votes.

    I randomly interviewed over 150 voters after they cast their ballots. I stood outside with a clipboard and certainly looked the part of a pollster. My question went like this: “Hi, I am conducting a quick, random exit poll; of course all participants are anonymous. Was it John McCain or Barack Obama for you?”

    I could not possibly have talked to everyone who voted during the three hour time frame but I got a very good random sample. The results were devastating to me.

    Let’s get to the results:

    Obama: 70%
    McCain: 26%
    Other 4%

    If I calculate the number of people who declined to give an answer, than the breakdown went like this:

    Obama 53%
    McCain 20%
    Other 3%
    Declined to participate: 24%.

    My gut instinct tells me that the vast majority of those who “declined to participate” were McCain supporters, but of course, I have no way of knowing that for sure.


    Anyway, that’s how I spent three hours of my weekend and as a McCain supporter, it was deeply depressing. McCain will need to carry rural and Northern Nevada by a wide margin to overcome what will certainly be a devastating lose in Clark County.

  6. randiego says:

    I did phone banking for Obama last night. Funny thing – we were calling swing states and they had Colorado going for my shift.

    Colorado. On Monday night when the Broncos were playing. I never made the connection until I got the first guy on the phone – he was like “I’m with you but you’re calling during Monday Night Football!”. I quickly apologized and hung up.

    After that I skipped the guys on the list. I know it’s sexist, but you just know every guy in Colorado was watching that game, and the Broncos were getting spanked….

    Still, lots of fun and people were really great.

    • emptywheel says:

      Be honest. They made you stop calling the guys after the third time you said, “Best thing that ever happened to the Bolts this year: a Brady-less Pats team that STILL can beat the Broncos”?

  7. klynn says:


    There was a post over at FDL months ago about what can we, progressives, bring to the table to reshape the Democratic party? I suggested that Obama focus on the issues during the campaign and hold summits that bring some of the best minds together and to just start doing the work of problem solving as a President would in order to show he is serious about the issues that face citizens, instead of dumping all campaign resources into a political fight. Especially if Obama was about change…

    Most the comments stated my idea was unrealistic…

    Guess unrealistic works…

    Hope he does a few more of these.

      • plunger says:

        Too funny! Yeah, I guess the Bengals could have lost to the Broncos, but that’s about it. At least they sucked badly enough by half time that it didn’t cost me any sleep.

  8. randiego says:

    Be honest. They made you stop calling the guys after the third time you said, “Best thing that ever happened to the Bolts this year: a Brady-less Pats team that STILL can beat the Broncos”?


    You know I wanted to.

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