If I haven't said it already, just a reminder for those worried about Obama's picks for various positions in the cabinet and elsewhere in the administration.
From my perspective, it seems obvious that he is trying to avoid the mistakes of both Carter and Clinton, the two most recent Democratic presidents, as well as obviously the mistakes of the present administration.
Carter came to DC as an outsider and brought his own team with him who, unfortunately, weren't experienced or even well-schooled in the ways of the Congress and the various federal agencies and departments. They were bright, amazingly well intentioned and even in some ways idealistic. And they got their butts kicked by the oldtime pols and longtime DC and federal government insiders. Even sabatoged by a lot of those folks.
Clinton came in a little more knowledgable and with a team much more so. But they underestimated the Republican opposition and growing propaganda arm, used so well to keep a health care plan from succeeding. And then had to make too many concessions to the Republicans to get anything done at all.
Obama seems to be preparing a team that has some federal government experience, most often from the Clinton years, (ala his pick for Attorney General), whose experience he can use to his ends. And remember, they will all serve at his discretion, which they and he both know very well.
If, for instance, Hilary becomes Secratary of State (if they can work out the Bill Clinton obstacles to that) she will be getting a more powerful position than a junior Senator with little actual power in Congress, and Obama will have eliminated a Senator with greater ambitions who might find some satisfaction in opposing him on some of his agenda she doesn't agree with, whereas in the Secratary of State position, she brings to it her worldwide recognition for toughness, intelligence, experience, and independence, while at the same time knowing full well that at any time Obama can replace her, so her voice will be heard but his agenda will be followed.
He's disarming, as I see it, his most visible opposition from the primaries and the election, so that they'll either be working for him or marginalized. Smart. Even his pushing to let Lieberman keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate is pretty smart. He's shown his graciousness and forgiveness, leaving Lieberman in his debt, and if Lieberman should choose to not show his gratitude by following Obama's agenda, he will alienate the only champion he has right now in the Democratic Party and then lose his chairmanship.
Obama has obviously, as everyone points out, followed Lincoln's lead in embracing his enemies and keeping them near where he can keep an eye on them as well as use their better ideas and their experience to his ends. I love this guy.