The contours of the next few years are being set. Some changings-of-the-guard may be good (Eric Cantor running for House Minority Whip). And others not so much (Rahm Emanuel for Chief of Staff). But if we learned anything from the Bush administration, it is that personnel is policy (Donald Rumsfeld) and political destiny (Alberto Gonzales). Everyone should choose wisely.
It is especially noteworthy that the personnel choices for Obama are not simply part of the Washington guessing game of “who will get the job.” They provide the first clue as to who he is. The campaign certainly didn’t tell us. Pundits are reduced to examining words not spoken to decipher what he’s up to.
Meanwhile, the savvy Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sets down some markers with this deliciously loaded statement:
I congratulate President-elect Obama and will work with him on behalf of the American people. The Republican leadership stands ready to hear his ideas for implementing his campaign promises of cutting taxes, increasing energy security, reducing spending and easing the burden of an immense and growing national debt. On these, and other bipartisan issues, he will find cooperation in the Senate.
So forget card check, tax hikes, big spending, and an offshore drilling ban — and welcome to Washington, Mr. President Elect. We’ll see if Obama takes the hint.
And so we pivot — from election to personnel and policy. This is all for the better. Soon enough, we will begin the political jousting (only appropriate, for a vibrant democracy) to determine the future of our country.