The Washington Post reports:
Barack Obama was famously able to impose discipline and control over his presidential campaign, but it didn’t take long for him to discover that running a transition is something quite different.
Top aides to the president-elect had hoped to take a methodical approach to selecting and unveiling their new team, starting with the announcements of top national security and economic players shortly after Thanksgiving. But leaks and rumors have disrupted that plan, suggesting that the “no-drama Obama” mantra famously repeated by his staff may not be as operational in Washington as it was at campaign headquarters in Chicago.
Once again, reporters are amazed that running a campaign isn’t much like running the country. The sole focus and relatively small numbers employed in winning an election really aren’t comparable to running a far-flung administration, hiring diverse people, and making substantive policy decisions.
Having been sold on the New Politics and the aura of The One, the MSM cheering section may be stunned to learn that leaks, incompetence, poor personnel decisions, bureaucratic logjams, and conflicts with Congress are not exclusively Republican faults.
The next step will be exercising a level of skepticism. Unlike the Post, I find it hard to believe that Penny Pritzker suddenly realized she had pre-existing business commitments preventing her from accepting a cabinet position. (I favor the “What are you guys doing! She ran a failed subprime lending bank!” explanation.) Rather than kvelling about his masterful transition management, a more independent media might be quizzing Obama’s aides on why, with the market tanking, we still lack the name of his Treasury Secretary pick.
But it is an adjustment for everyone. Sooner or later, the MSM may graduate from noticing the President-elect doesn’t run a transition as smoothly as his campaign to questioning his executive skills, probing his motives, and hunting down unfavorable information. An independent and adversary media not dedicated to Obama’s success–now that’s a change we could believe in.