Presidential transitions are always rough for the political news media, and their consumers, especially in the age of 24-hour basic cable news channels. They have to talk about something even if there is nothing to talk about. So we get endless parsing of rumors about who might be appointed to what position and what that might say about the incoming administration. For instance, the liberal end of the blogosphere has been freaking out for a couple of days over rumors that former Harvard President and Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers was being considered for the Obama Administration. (I intend to use that last phrase as often as possible for a while).
The freak-out has produced some useful reminders that the roots of the recent free-market excesses date back to Clinton-era deregulation that Summers championed. (His enablement of Enron seems especially embarrassing.) And yet, the freakout is occurring based no new real information except the names of the transition team members, and given the unusual-for-Democrats tightness of the ship Obama runs, I doubt we will get anything new until the President-elect is ready to tell us for real. It was only natural and appropriate for a new Democratic president to turn to members of the previous Dem administration for advice. Indeed, it would be insulting not to — Clinton made one of his many early mistakes by snubbing the Carter Administration (repeating Carter’s own mistake). So, yes, the immediate previous Democratic Treasury Secretary was brought in, along with Robert Rubin and many others. Not exactly the fulcrum of modern American history, death of a dream, or any of that. If it makes some of the freaked feel better, my reading is that Summers’s presence on the transition advisory board would more strongly suggest that he is NOT in line to be T-Sec again rather than the reverse. Clintonomics has duly been acknowledged, and now Obama will make his own choice. I would go with Paul Krugman myself, but that sort of provocative grandstand play is exactly why Barack Obama is getting ready to move into the White House, rather than John McCain or myself.
So, I say, God bless you Sarah Palin and your clueless post-election media blitz there [read in North Country dialect], apparently designed to remind voters of everything they did not vote for last week by continuing to babble your failed campaign talking points. Matt, Wolf, Greta, and the rest love an empty political celebrity story to flog and you are just the empty political celebrity to give it to them. Sarah, you distract the bloggers for a while, and give Barack Obama a few days catch a breath, organize his adminstration, find a school and dog for the girls, and then you can give back the spotlght you enjoy so much.