That's right. He selected one of the most progressive voices in the nation to work on his transition team, and would have accepted Podesta into his administration with open arms.
The media have floated the possibility that Podesta might serve in various roles in the Obama administration, including Energy Secretary and chief of staff. But today in an internal memo to CAPAF staff, Podesta put those rumors to rest. Announcing that he is taking a temporary leave of absence to fulfill his transition duties, Podesta said that he has no plans to join the Obama administration:
I am honored to have been asked to help organize the President-elect’s transition to a new government. For this purpose, I am taking a temporary leave of absence during the transition period. As I have advised Senator Obama and the Boards of CAP and CAPAF, I will not be joining the new Administration and will return to American Progress after the transition ends.
Launched in 2003, CAP’s mission has been to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement, develop thoughtful policy proposals, and engage in the war of ideas with conservatives. Podesta formerly served as President Clinton’s chief of staff and is a professor at Georgetown University. He also recently released a progressive blueprint for the next administration entitled, The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country.
At some point, I'll be inspecting the rest of Obama's transition team. A lot of the names are unknown to me, although the fact I haven't heard sustained howls of outrage from the Left means he probably didn't choose anyone obnoxious. There's one name in there, however, that shines out like a beacon:
An advisory board will be made up of Carol Browner, William Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Governor Janet Napolitano, Federico Peña, Susan Rice and Sonal Shah, as well as Mark Gitenstein and Ted Kaufman. The latter two men have been tapped to serve as co-chairs of Biden's transition team. [emphasis added]Governor Janet Napolitano is Arizona's long-serving, hugely respected Democratic governor. She's done plenty to turn Arizona blue, and she's a lot like Obama in that she manages to moosh people together from both sides of the aisle and make it work. I've heard rabid Republicons praise her at the same time devoted Dems have. That takes some doing in these political times, where no one seems to be able to agree on the color of the sky, much less thorny issues.
So that's why I'm going to stop right here and warn you outright: Obama's bottom and the Smack-o-Matic will probably only make rare acquaintence. I trust his judgement too much now. The only thing that still sticks in my craw is his FISA vote, and I'm still expecting to find out that it was all just a plan of his so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel, not a cave to the Right at all. The man would have to install George Bush as his Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney as his Secretary of State, and Sarah Palin as his Secretary of the Treasury before I'd start to seriously question his judgement.
I'm sure there will be times when I take him out to the woodshed. But it's never going to be easy to decide when he's actually earned it. It won't be love that holds me back. It'll be that niggling sense that he's got an end-game in mind that I'll be in full agreement with. He has earned my trust to a remarkable degree.
Besides, screaming at him for quibbles wouldn't be half as fun as spanking Cons for their egregious fuckery, and believe me when I say there will be plenty of the latter. There are Blue Dog Dems to belabor. There will be outrageous amounts of idiocy coming out of the rabid right. Time is finite. I can't spank every deserving pol for every minor offense.
So don't yell at me for not yelling at Obama enough, K?
Right. Now that all of that's sorted, I vaguely remember it's supposed to be National Novel Writer's Month, and there was that minor detail about having a book to write....