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November 11, 2008

President-Elect Hope 'n Change...Classless

Shocking I know but it appears an empty suited product of the Chicago machine doesn't have much respect for the traditions of our country.

The White House is annoyed that the Obama camp leaked details of yesterday's courtesy call between President Bush and Obama. The Obama camp says, hey, it's just business.

What the White House appears to be angry about: notions, in the press, that President Bush suggested that assistance to the auto industry would be contingent upon Congressional reconsideration of the Columbian trade agreement.

Not so, says the White House. They're accusing the Obama transition team of leaking a one-sided account of the meeting. Publicly, the Obama campaign is mum.

Well, surprise. The Obama team has a communications strategy. And surprise: it's favorable to Obama and not favorable to President Bush. And surprise: the Obama economic team considers the perilous state of the auto industry to be the most pressing issue right now. And surprise: passing the trade agreement is something Bush really wants to get done before the end of his term -- he spoke about it during his radio address on Saturday.

("What we did was hardly hardball," an Obama aide says)

Look, I know at this level politics isn't beanbag but there are some niceties that need to be observed on occasion.

One of the most amazing things about this country is the absolute ordinariness of the transfer of power between administrations. That doesn't happen simply because the laws say they should but because as a nation it is one of the most (if not the most) cherished value we hold.

A friendly or even orderly transfer of power isn't necessary (see Truman to Eisenhower for one example) but honoring the symbolism and appearances gives life to the values we hold dear. Hopefully, President-Elect Obama and his team will learn that now that they aren't campaigning for the job anymore, they need to grow up and realize not ever occasion is appropriate time to further their communications strategy.

And for anyone who wants to excuse this breach of etiquette as simply 'everyone does it' consider one person who doesn't do it...President George W. Bush. For 8 years he has come under all kinds of personal attacks and not just from loony Code Pink types but from supposed adults like the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Did he ever return the insults in kind? Not that I've seen. So no, not everyone plays fast and loose with the conventions of a democracy simply to further their personal goals.

Bush wanted to be "a uniter, not a divider" and to "change the tone" of the capitol. He managed the latter simply but cutting out the childish squawking we heard from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue during his predecessor's administration. Looks like those days are done.

BTW- I guess this means my personal honeymoon with Team Bary is over....no foreplay and not even remotely 16.2 minutes of lovin'.


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posted by DrewM. at 02:25 PM

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