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October 25, 2008


It's a make-up call for the NYT's endorsement.

The doctrine of Fairness and Balance requires that you either endorse, and then sandbag, a candidate, or fail-to-endorse, and then run a few thinly disguised campaign adverts.

This is the paper that endorsed Clinton in '04, after having manufactured Whitewhater and flogged it to death in its pages for all of '01, '02, '03...

That seems to be par for the course for the New York Times for the past eight years, at least. Being from the midwest, I have to wonder who appointed them the "newspaper of record", and how long it will take for them to lose that position if they haven't already. Certainly in their own eyes they haven't.

Well, hell, I've written lines in my head that I think should go into Obama's inaugural address if he's lucky enough to have one. And my job isn't preparing for an Obama presidency. But I would be highly surprised if whatever Podesta has written is actually Obama's inaugural address. For one, it really is too early---not just in the sense of being presumptuous, but because there are three months worth of stuff that can happen to change the tone and content of the speech. And, of course, as hilzoy says, assuming he is elected, I'm sure Obama would want a hand in writing what would be one of the defining speeches in a career of defining speeches.

So in other words, just because someone on his staff wrote a speech, doesn't mean that said speech will be spoken on January 20th.

Pretty astounding stuff. The Times did a pretty good story during the primaries about Obama's speechwriting process; I guess these guys don't read their own paper? I mean, it is pretty well known that Obama still plays a large role in writing his major speeches, and that he wrote the one that launched his national career himself (must ... resist ... comparisons ... to ... the ... 2008 ... RNC ...). And in any case, for the writing that he jobs out, he's got at least one writer actually trained to write in Obama's voice. I sent a polite email to the one author who had a link for email contact, but I doubt I was the only correspondent, and I woldn't recommend that they actually read their incoming mail. P.S. Davis X Machina, you've made the very understandable mistake, in this case chronological, of trying to pretend the George W Bush years never happened.

Oh, dear...epic fail.

ERRATA: for '01, read '92, u.s.w.

Or alternatively, consider the Clinton years numbered French Revolution-style.

Unfortunately, McCain can't figure out what he just said.

I can only hope that the "reporting" in that story is as inaccurate about likely appointments as it is about the inaugural speech, because it's a major buzzkill: Rahm Emanuel, Tom Daschle, Robert Gates...

Thankfully, I didn't read it before I canvassed for five hours yesterday. Now to suppress cognitive dissonance in the next two hours, before making calls to recruit sample-ballot greeters for election day.

The day after which cannot come too soon.

Who cares if he is writing a draft inaugural address? This is a lot like Republicans slamming Obama for the presumptuousness of having a transition team when every major presidential candidate has one. What, you don't like it when somebody who's running for President plans what to do in case he wins?

I don't see the possible retention of Robert Gates as Sec. of Defense as a buzzkill - from reading Fred Kaplan at Slate it sounds to me like Gates is one of the better Sec Defs we've had in a good long time.

I don't how an Obama administration will treat the 2010 Pentagon budget, but if cutbacks are going to be made I think they will have to break the traditional paradigm of rough parity between the service branches, and fall mainly on the shoulders of the Air Force and Navy (who still maintain a condition of hyperdominance vs. potential competitors) rather than the overstretched Army and Marines.

Given that (at least per Kaplan) Gates has already demonstrated the backbone to take on top Air Force brass, and has been pushing changes (such as a shift in officer promotion patterns) to implement a more COIN focused approach in the Army, he seems like a good choice if a real shakeup in budgetary priorities is coming. Giving some bipartisan cover to those changes wouldn't hurt either.

Having said this, I don't know if Gates is willing to serve beyond 2008 or not. He is getting up there in years and fighting the entrenched interests in the Pentagon is a gargantuan undertaking which may require a younger person's energy. But if he is still willing to serve at Obama's request, I'm not going to second guess that decision.

What I don't understand is why it's presumed that Obama must choose Republicans to fill positions in his cabinets or as his department heads. Is it impossible for him to be respectful of conservative interests -- the sane ones, not the insane freaks we've had running about the place recently -- while filling those positions with Democrats, as has been done since... well, pretty much since the beginning?

[I'm not accusing anyone here of concern trolling, mind, but I'm deeply, deeply suspicious of any suggestions that seem to smack of Obama being conciliatory to the GOP. Respectful of conservative interests and attempting to bridge the gaps in a bipartisan fashion, sure; but if the GOP loses power, they lose power and can suck it up accordingly.]

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