On the official White House website (above) "Transition" is listed above "The Economy." That actually reflects an apparent reality. Politician to the end, our current president (OCP) intends to use a successful transition to attempt to refurbish his badly tarnished image. If, at the end of the day, our next president (ONP) does not feel like he has made a safari into the bush, it will be of benefit to the tenor of the transition.
Today "Obama heads to White House for first post-election visit," is the headline from Deborah Charles' (11/10/08) story at Reuters. The visit takes place earlier in the transition than in the past, because of all the crises facing the nation. I imagine both men were eager to make it happen for that reason. It fits in well with President-elect Obama's "hit the ground running" governing agenda. To quote:
Accompanied by his wife Michelle, Obama will visit for about 90 minutes. The Obamas will look around the house that will become their home, and Bush and the president-elect will then sit down to discuss issues including the transition of power, the ailing U.S. economy and the war in Iraq.
[Bush] . . ."Ensuring that this transition is seamless is a top priority for the rest of my time in office," Bush said on Saturday in his weekly radio address.
"In the coming weeks, we will ask administration officials to brief the Obama team on major ongoing policy issues, ranging from the financial markets to the war in Iraq."
[Obama] . . . "This speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America we can compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other's ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done," Obama said on Saturday in his radio address. "And that is particularly important at a moment when we face the most serious challenges of our lifetime."
Since this important meeting appears to be a win/win for both sides, everyone will be on their best behavior. And the two couples may actually have a very pleasant time this afternoon. A good story from Sheryl Gay Stolberg at the 11/9/08 New York Times describes the challenges as: "A Visit Both Historic and Perhaps Awkward." To quote:
As the president-elect, he will be welcomed at the White House as an honored guest of its current occupant, Mr. Bush, for a meeting that could be as awkward as it is historic.
. . . there will also be a subtext to the session: the personal chemistry between two leaders whose worldviews are miles apart.
. . . with Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama over the economy. Mr. Bush has invited world leaders to Washington on Friday and Saturday for an international conference on the economy. Mr. Obama and his team have declined to attend. Mr. Obama supports a new economic stimulus package; the Bush White House is cool to that idea.
Meanwhile the work of transition continues. It looks like this gossipy little column, "In the Loop," by Al Kamen in the Washington Post, will be a good way to stay in touch with the latest. For example, he thinks former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack may have a lock on the Agriculture Secretary position. Kamen also weighs in, in a fun way, on President-elect Obama's official transition website, closing with more information on potential other appointments.
Into the bush, the wilds of Washington, is the way these men, and President Clinton -- relatively speaking -- experienced and will experience the early days and weeks of their terms. Each president had to watch out for carnivores lurking in the grass. Clinton had Gingrich, Bush had terrorists, and Obama will encounter the full import of the decisions and events of the past 8 years. Former Presidents Clinton and Bush 41 will leave town, and President Obama will head home to the upstairs of the White House. To each man on January 20, 2009, we can all rightfully say, "Bon Voyage!"
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.