After Obama and his team ran a campaign that made Swiss Clockwork look like a ’78 Pinto and made the U.S. Marine Corps. look like a bunch of undisciplined hooligans, everybody expected pretty much the same from the transition. And then came Richardson and his pay to play. HRC and Bubba’s international influence-peddling. Holder’s involvement with the ridiculous pardons of Marc Rich and FALN. And the icing on the cake: Treasury Secretary-designee Tim Geithner’s missing back-taxes, which is about as perfect a metaphor for Wall Street as I can imagine. My coworker commented that his vetting process must be seriously FUBAR, and I agreed.
But then I thought this morning as I was dodging the conspicuously armed cops and bomb-sniffing dogs on the metro (the next five days are going to be amazing here in the nation’s capitol) that there’s no way they could consistently screw up like this; that they could hit every note during the campaign and then fumble the political ball so badly once they won the election. With all the talk of Obama creating a pragmatic, competent, effective administration, maybe they didn’t mess up – maybe they just don’t care about the political game. Who cares about the Marc Rich pardon – maybe Holder is the best person for Attorney General, politics be damned.
At least that’s what I’m praying: that his selections are pragmatic and post- (or maybe supra-) partisan, more about governing well than scoring political points. Because if they aren’t, and his fuck-ups really are fuck-ups, then I’m afraid we’re stuck with another president whose brilliant campaigning won’t lead to brilliant governing.