Another POV on Obama Transition: Calm Down, Progressives

As information about prospective Obama administration appointments dribbles out, has the thrill of the campaign been replaced by the fear of dashed hopes? Obama and his transition team may need to revive a Sixties slogan quickly — “Keep the Faith, Baby” — and bolster morale among his many waiting supporters before he starts losing them. Two and a half weeks out from election day, news junkies and political addicts are getting impatient and reverting to their worst fears.

Many see Obama, their anti-war candidate, as already caving in to the hawks. Some dread a general shift to the Clintonian/DLC “center,” which feels like milquetoast. Others don’t like the style or track record of one or another of Obama’s advisors. And media outlets just need something to write about in the post-election news vacuum.

It’s hard to be in limbo. This writer, while impatient, remains optimistic.

Obama and his team spent two years and then some building a movement. He intends to bring enduring change, in contrast to Bill Clinton’s era of “centrist” shift. Obama means to be transformative — a word that was thrown back at him during the primaries, when he pointed out that President Reagan, not President Clinton, had done just that. Now is Obama’s time to reverse a 25- or 30-year trend and lead the country away from fiscal, foreign policy, and social conservatism.

As for specific appointments and advisors, almost any “experienced” Democrat at this point worked in or with the Clinton administration (maybe a few worked for Carter or outside of DC). If the “experience Democrats” want to survive as Democrats, they’ll have to get with the new Obama program. Obama is reeling them in one by one, finding ways to use each one’s expertise, but he also can jettison any who don’t help move the agenda forward. Obama aims to reduce some of the noise and conflict by creating a big tent. He’s trying to put an end to the idealogues and get everyone else working together.

Our great country came close to being flushed down the toilet. The renegade right wing took over key roles in the Executive (e.g., Dick Cheney), the Congress (Tom DeLay), and the Judiciary (Antonin Scalia) and promoted the disastrous policies that brought us here. The neocons envisioned America as an unfettered empire yet dreamed of drowning our weakened federal government in the bathtub — so Americans are all in for a rough ride.

The silver lining to the big black cloud (apologies, but my plumbing metaphor has run its course) is that because our problems are so dire, most people now are willing to consider new ideas.

President-elect Obama has progressive values and integrity, and he’s very strategic.  He wants to build the middle class back up. He’s anti-fear. And as he creates his upcoming administration, he is being very inclusive. That’s different from conciliatory, a point his base should keep in mind, if only for our own sanity.

via Christine Bowman at Buzzflash: Faith or Doubt – Obama Base’s Second-Guessing


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