Presidents typically say they want to be surrounded by strong-willed people who have the courage to disagree with them. President-elect Barack Obama, reaching out to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republicans, actually might mean it.
Abraham Lincoln meant it. He appointed his bitter adversaries to crucial posts, choosing as war secretary a man who had called him a "long-armed ape" who "does not know anything and can do you no good."
You could say his Cabinet meetings were frank and open.
Richard Nixon didn't mean it.
"I don't want a government of yes-men," he declared. But among all the president's men, those who said no did so at their peril. He went down a path of destruction in the company of sycophants.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the candidates that President-elect Barack Obama is considering for secretary of state, according to two Democratic officials in close contact with the Obama transition team.
Clinton, the former first lady who pushed Obama hard for the Democratic presidential nomination, was rumored to be a contender for the job last week, but the talk died down as party activists questioned whether she was best-suited to be the nation's top diplomat in an Obama administration.
The talk resumed in Washington and elsewhere Thursday, a day after Obama named several former aides to President Bill Clinton to help run his transition effort.
The last two presidents have been notable for the fury they aroused in their opponents. Bill Clinton's critics were so angry about his marital infidelities -- and about his Vietnam-era draft dodging and pot smoking, among other issues -- that they hounded him throughout his two terms, culminating in his impeachment. And George W. Bush's opponents have been so fired up during his eight years that columnist Charles Krauthammer invented the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome" to describe the condition.
I recommend to you an article on Politico.com that reports on the latest contretemps between the Obamas and the Clintons---a tricky-track of a relationship if ever there was one.
It describes a phone call from Michelle Obama soliciting advice from Sen. Hillary Clinton about how to raise children while living in the most glaringly public fish bowl in the world: the White House. Odd, on the one hand, that Michelle Obama, who never veiled her venom for Hillary Clinton during the primary contest, would now be soliciting her advice. Maybe not, says Politico.com:
Comrades, when the dreaded socialism descends on America courtesy of the Obama administration -- which, by the way, is the most ridiculous delusion to sweep the land since the Y2K scare -- I hope team sports become mandatory.
Team sports teach important life lessons, especially about winning and losing: To wit: Don't be a loser when you win but be a winner when you lose. In other words, act with a little class, win or lose. And, oh yes, keep a sense of humor.
When Barack Obama won the presidential election last week over John McCain, he did so with substantial help from Hispanic voters in four critical swing states. Nationwide, Hispanics supported Obama by better then two-to-one, Edison-Mitofsky exit polls showed, helping boost him to easy victories in such major electoral-count states as California, New York and Illinois.
The exit polls of some 17,000 voters broke down the national pro-Obama support (in percentages):
-- Blacks: 96-4.
-- Hispanics: 67-32
-- Whites: 43-55.
US president-elect Barack Obama is sending evaluators to study the sprawling US bureaucracy to help him determine how best to meet his administration's goals when he takes office on January 20.
Obama's 450-strong transition team will scour more than 100 departments and agencies for data to underpin new policies as soon as his inauguration ushers in an historic presidency.
Whatever Sarah Palin's future in politics outside Alaska, she will go down as one of the most trashed and controversial vice presidential candidates in American history, a victim of some bad journalism, a negative atmosphere she helped create, her shallow qualifications and sabotage by those who chose her as an improbable running mate for John McCain.
The US Republican Party, once dominant now in disarray, is beginning the search for a leader to chart a course out of the wilderness after the presidential and congressional elections disaster.
President George W. Bush and his political guru Karl Rove once dreamed of building a conservative coalition that would outlast them.
But Bush will leave Washington in January with Democrats monopolizing power in the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The first meeting of incoming and outgoing presidents has been a rite of passage fraught with emotion, surprises and the rare exchange of secrets between leaders of opposite political parties.
On Monday, President Bush will welcome President-elect Obama to the White House, and the 43rd and 44th presidents will make nice. This, after a hard-fought campaign in which one of Obama's most effective strategies was to rail against the "failed policies" of the current president.