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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Smooth Transition?

We all remember the media's non stop gushing over Obama's "smooth" and "remarkable" transition. It was as though the media couldn't wait to give him praise until he was President so they began giving him praise before he was President. It's as though the leader of the free world finding qualified candidates to fill powerful positions was something the media couldn't imagine could happen until that leader was Barack Obama. What was remarkable was just how remarkable the media seemed to find it all. It's not as though Obama's transition wasn't initially smooth. It was fairly smooth but so what. A fairly smooth transition isn't necessarily some sort of a media event unless of course it is Obama's transition.

Of course, a funny thing happened on the way to this smooth transition. First, it hit one bump, then two, then three, and soon it really wasn't so smooth after all. First, Obama's transition became distracted by the Blagojevich imbroglio and his own incompetent handling of it all. The team made contradictory statements about whether or not they spoke to Blago. Then, they became secretive as though they had something to hide. Then, Obama became agitated by all the media spotlight of the entire fiasco. Finally, he first said no one chosen by Blago should become Senator and only a couple weeks later he said that Burris, chosen by Blago, should be Senator. One thing Obama's handling of it all was NOT was smooth or remarkable.

Then, we find out that his pick for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, is himself embroiled in a scandal involving pay to play. The concept of pay to play is of course at the center of the Blago scandal. Obama's team chose Richardson after the Blago scandal came to light and the vetters knew it was out there. How is that for smooth?

Then, Obama chose Leon Panetta for CIA chief even though he has absolutely no experience in intelligence. Furthermore, he did it without consulting with members of the intelligence committee. Initially, members of his own party including Diane Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller were against the pick. Eventually they came around, but not before Obama made a public apology for not consulting with them first. Once again, I wouldn't call any of this smooth.

Now, we find out that his pick for Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, not only didn't pay some taxes for years but also hired an illegal. That isn't very smooth at all. On top of this, his pick for Attorney General faces a very difficult road and all sorts of ethical questions. None of this is smooth either.

Beyond this, Obama made the bold proclamation that he wanted a stimulus package on his desk right after he was sworn in. The only problem was that he presented the Congress with a stimulus package that no one was all that comfortable with. The Republicans were concerned with all the spending, and the Democrats didn't like the tax cuts. The stimulus package has been put off until the middle of February at least. Furthermore, he is demanding that the second part of the TARP funds be released before he takes office. So far, the Congress hasn't complied on this either. How is all that for smooth?

Frankly, I am not nearly as concerned with the snags that have hit the Obama transition team as I am with the way the media has covered it all. When things were going smoothly, there was an endless stream of stories about how smooth it all was. Now that it is anything but smooth all those reporters that were gushing about his "smooth transition" are silent about how smooth turned to rocky. It is of course their job to point out that the smooth transition is no longer smooth. This is another example of what we should all expect from the coverage of President Obama from the MSM. They will see what the want to see and ignore anything inconvenient. Long ago, his transition stopped being smooth but after they put that into the minds of the public, there was no need to update the record.

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