As in the primaries and in the national campaign, the Obama krew are happy to keep their own counsel. There is a lot passing in the media slipstream on which a less disciplined operation might be inclined to bite, if only as a warning to keep some distance. They might be forgiven for thinking that, having campaigned in fifty states and won Indiana for Democrats for only the second time since 1932, they have earned the right to some decision-making away from the blast of the idiot wind generators of the mainstream media.
Of course, when the Executive Branch changes hands, it stimulates a variety of looting behavior amongst the denizens of the recently downtrodden party ghetto. All the more so this time, as the Bush Republican Guards vanish in the electoral blast of the surplus millions, some even from their own party, who banished them from office. Too tempting in the absence of party overlordship not to smash a few store windows and run off with some expensive TVs.
It’s the way: patronage proceeds any change in governance. But this year, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, it is not just the rabid Bush right that has been dethroned but also the Clinton DNC. Having campaigned in a manner suspiciously hard to differentiate from their Republican opponents at times too frequent to be random, the Hillary and Bill wing of the Democratic party need not skulk off into the crimson sunset of fratricidal warfare like the various factions of defeated Republicans. Like Senator Lieberman, they can mysteriously transmute back into real Democrats, and claim their share of the spoils.
One of the more restful aspects of the general election, for me anyway, has been the absence off-stage of the Clinton spin squad, except for the rearguard elements left to man the ramparts of the New York Times. Of course we had to listen to McCain as he grew hair all over his body politic and bayed at the moon, not to mention his Bride of Frankenstein, the supernaturally well-groomed handmaiden from the far northern wastes, Governor Palin. But Obama simply repeated the same things he’s been saying since the start of his campaign two years ago, if not four years ago at his Democratic Convention speech. When you’re consistent, you don’t need any spin. Political consistency is a very simple state of spinlessness, whether you’re consistently lunatic or otherwise. That is what was so attractive to the media (and a significantly non-denominational segment of the electorate) about the pre-Werewolf McCain and his Straight-Talk Express.
Now, with the hostile occupation of the seat of power in full retreat, the Clintonian wing of the party is spinning madly once again. Why would this be any less obnoxious to the drama-free, extraordinarily well-organized Obama campaign in its transition team manifestation than it was during the primaries? It didn’t convince enough of the voters, and it never moved the needle of the Obama campaign a millimeter off consistent and purposeful.
Well, not to worry: Hillary is not sure she wants to accept the offer of State. This most recent posture from the ex-candidate brings the spinification of the State Department in full circle.
Barack could surprise me and offer Hillary State. He might be interested in Lincoln’s relationship with Steward, which at least gained Abe the beautiful peroration “better angels of our nature” for his first inaugural. But I am inclined to wait for what the President-elect actually has to say. Maybe the Clinton’s counsel will become AG, maybe Herself will get State, but we shouldn’t let the naming of Obama’s chief of staff confuse us—he was a brawlin’ Chicago pol long before he ran any part of the Clinton machine. Obama’s people have remained firmly on the command deck amidst the gales of Clintonian spin for an extended cruise already. No reason to think they are more, and much more reason the think the are less influenced by it, now.