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Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama's Change: Back To The Democratic Washington Insiders



Published on on November 7, 2008

What's with Obama's choice of old-time Clinton cronies and recycled Washington insiders to run the transition to his new politics of change?

Can't the anti-Washington insiders President-elect find anyone who isn't a Beltway has-been?

Judging by the appointments to his transition committee and leaks about possible top staff and Cabinet choices, Obama appears to be practicing the politics of status quo, not the politics of change.

Obama based his innovative campaign on an emphatic and convincing commitment to change the culture of Washington and bring in new people, new ideas, and new ways of doing business.

But now, Obama has definitely changed his tune. As president-elect, he's brought back the old Washington hacks, party regulars, and Clinton sycophants that he so frequently disparaged. Like Jimmy Carter, the last President who ran as an outsider, Obama has reached out to the same old folks who dominate the Democratic Party and represent the status quo.

His Transition Committee looks like a reunion of the Clinton Administration. No new ideas of how to reform the system there. The Chairman, John Podesta, was Clinton's Chief of Staff. He presided over the outrageous last minute pardons and his style is strictly inside-the-beltway and make-no-waves.

Then there's Carol Browner, Clinton's competent former EPA Administrator who became the consummate Washington insider. She's Madeline Albright's partner and recently married mega-lobbyist and former Congressman Tom Downey. During the uproar over Dubai taking over U.S. ports, Browner brought Downey to meet with Senator Chuck Schumer to plead Dubai's case. Downey was paid half a million dollars to push Dubai's position. He's also a lobbyist for Fannie Mae, paid half a million to try to cover their rears on the subprime mortgage mess. Is his change?

Federico Pena was Clinton's Secretary of Transportation and of Energy. The President felt he was unduly soft on Air Florida after their crash and lost confidence in him. Now he's back as a Transition Committee member.

Bill Daley, Clinton's former Secretary of Commerce and the brother of the Mayor of Chicago, is the epitome of the old Democratic establishment. Clinton appointed him to the Fannie Mae Board and his son worked as a lobbyist for the agency. Aren't these the kind of folks that Obama ran against?

Larry Summers, President of Harvard and former Clinton Secretary of the Treasury is not exactly an outsider either. He's also alienated more than a few with his bizarre suggestion that women may be genetically inferior to men in math and science.

Susan Rice, Assistant Secretary of State under Clinton advised John Kerry and Mike Dukakis. Does that tell you enough?

Obama has named one of his big bundlers - Michael Froman, an executive at Citigroup. Is this supposed to symbolize change?

Obama's choice of a spokesperson for the transition is also surprising; hers' is definitely not the face of reason and new politics. Stephanie Cutter is the brash and combative former Clinton, Kerry, and Ted Kennedy mouthpiece. The liberal once described Cutter as "a moron to the nth degree" when she tried unsuccessfully to force the New York Times' Adam Nagourney to treat her unsolicited email criticizing Howard Dean as "background" without mentioning her name.

Speaking of brash, Rahm Emmanuel, the new White House Chief of Staff, makes Cutter look timid. Rahm is also a former Clinton White House staffer - and a very obnoxious one. He spent his White House years leaking to the Washington Post whenever he didn't like what the President was doing. Even Bill Clinton stopped trusting him. Any hopes of Obama keeping his commitment to reach across the aisle would go right out the window with Rahm's appointment. Instead of extending a hand to the opposition, it would be like raising just one finger. And Rahm's strident demeanor laced with the 'f' word in every sentence will do little to elevate the bipartisan dialogue in Washington.

Christopher Edley, another member of the transition team, is Dean of the Berkeley Law School. He's a former member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission under Clinton and his wife, Maria Echaveste was Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff.

Transition committee staffer Christine Varney was a Federal Trade Commissioner under Clinton and worked in the White House.

Throughout the early debates, Obama criticized Hillary as part of the inside-the beltway establishment that needed to go. But now he's reaching out to these exact same folks. Some change.

Going Outside Today

It is a gorgeous day outside today! I am getting ready to go outside and mow the leaves into the woods. It is warm and beautiful and I don't want to miss one moment, as winter will be coming soon and I do not like to be outside in the cold. What is the weather like in your area?

eBay's New Search Engine

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine closed her eBay store. She told me that her items were not showing up in the new search. Well, last evening I finally got the time to do a search on a few of my items and guess what? They were not in the search. I searched my store banners and bed ruffles and throw pillows. I did find a couple of bed ruffles, however, they were WAY at the bottom of bed skirts and there were only a couple out of the thirty plus I had listed. So, I am in the process of going through removing many of my listings. Why bother paying to list your items if eBay is going to cater to the power sellers that have sold THOUSANDS of items over you? Has anyone else noticed this that has a store?

No Hidden White Bias Seen in Presidential Race

No hidden white bias seen in presidential race

Graphic shows presidential vote by religious affiliation and race; two sizes;

Fri Nov 7, 6:29 AM EST
Whether whites supported Barack Obama or not, they don't seem to have lied to pollsters about it.

Obama's election triumph on Tuesday presented no evidence of the so-called Bradley effect, in which whites who oppose a black politician mislead pollsters about whom they will vote for. Instead, national and state pre-election polls were generally accurate in reflecting voters' preferences in the presidential contest.

"I certainly hope this drives a stake through the heart of that demon," Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political scientist and polling authority, said of the Bradley effect.

The phenomenon is named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who in 1982 lost the race for California governor after leading in the polls. There were similar contests over the following decade in which black candidates facing white opponents had comfortable leads in polls, only to lose or narrowly win the elections.

Critics have said such turnabouts might have been largely the product of poor polling. Others have concluded that some whites, nervous about appearing to harbor anti-black feelings, in fact misled pollsters up through the early 1990s but that such behavior has faded over time.

Obama, who will become the first African-American president, defeated Republican John McCain on Tuesday by 52 percent to 46 percent with nearly all votes counted.

If the Bradley effect were a factor, pre-election polls should have consistently overstated Obama's share of the vote, or understated McCain's. Instead, most did a solid job of previewing how the vote would go, both nationally and in crucial states.

Shortly before Election Day, an NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey showed Obama ahead 51 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. The Gallup Poll showed a 53 percent to 42 percent Obama lead, while CBS News had Obama up 51 percent to 42 percent.

An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll in late October had Obama ahead 51 percent to 43 percent. An AP-GfK poll in mid-October showed a virtual tie, 44 percent for Obama to 43 percent for McCain.

Web sites that combine major polls to estimate support also performed well. Among some popular sites, had Obama ahead 52 percent to 44 percent, saw Obama up 52 percent to 45 percent, and gave Obama a 52 percent to 46 percent advantage.

Such accuracy was a relief to pollsters rattled last winter when widespread projections of an Obama victory in the New Hampshire primary were upended after Hillary Rodham Clinton won narrowly.

"We're getting much more sophisticated estimates," said University of Michigan political scientist and polling analyst Michael Traugott, citing improved techniques.

Among them is the increased polling of people who have cell phones but no landlines. A Pew Research Center report in September, and exit polls of voters conducted Tuesday for The Associated Press and the television networks, suggest that people who have only cells tend to vote more Democratic than people like them with only landlines.

Many state surveys were impressively accurate also.

For North Carolina, gave McCain a pre-election edge of less than 1 percentage point. That state finally was awarded to Obama on Thursday, when he had a 14,000-vote lead out of 4.2 million votes cast.

Pre-election polls by Quinnipiac University, Mason-Dixon and AP-GfK all showed Obama ahead by 2 percentage points in Florida, which the Democrat won by 3 points. The combined estimate for Pennsylvania by put Obama up 8 points, and he won by 11.

None of this means race was not a factor on Tuesday.

Whites nationally preferred McCain by 12 percentage points, while 95 percent of blacks backed Obama, according to exit polls. Seven percent of whites said race was important in choosing a candidate, and they backed the Republican 2-1.

Analysts said any reluctance to support Obama because he is black may have been overwhelmed this year by a desire to support the candidate people thought would fix the struggling economy. They also said the Bradley effect has faded as Americans have become used to blacks winning local elections and as the 1990s' more intense focus on crime and welfare has ebbed.

The Bradley effect was "a product of a particular political environment that seems to have passed us by," said Daniel Hopkins, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University who wrote a study this summer concluding that the phenomenon has disappeared.


I certainly hope someone shares this information with the middle school and high school students. My kids have experienced "in your face" comments and have even been called racists before and after the election if they even showed one tiny bit of support for McCain. If this continues, I will be contacting the school board and local paper. I am so tired of hearing about suppression, etc, when if it were not for the white votes, Obama would not have been elected. I am not a racist nor have I raised my children to be and I will not tolerate them being called names as such. HELLO!! Obama's mother was WHITE and he was raised by his WHITE grandparents. I will give them their time to gloat, however, will not tolerate this much longer.

Has anyone else been experiencing this? I know a couple of people have told me similar things with adults and my husband experienced it on his part time job before the election...

Unity, change... all of the things Obama speaks of will not happen until this type of ill mannered behavior ends.