OBAMA HAS A POSSE: Announces Econ Triage Team


HUFFPO: Obama made his comments as he unveiled the top members of his economic team, beginning with New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner to be his treasury secretary. Geithner, 47, is a veteran of financial crises at home and overseas and has worked closely with the Bush administration in recent months. Obama chose Lawrence Summers as director of his National Economic Council. Summers was treasury secretary under former President Bill Clinton. Obama said his newly minted economic team offered “sound judgment and fresh thinking” at a time of economic peril. He expressed confidence the nation would weather the crisis “because we’ve done it before.” Obama also announced two other members of his economic team in the making. He named Christina Romer as chair of his Council of Economic Advisers, and Melody Barnes as director of his White House Domestic Policy Council. Obama’s principal theme was urgency. “We do not have a minute to waste,” he said, citing the turmoil in the financial markets as well as the deterioration of the broader economy. MORE

obamatimevibe_1.jpgOPEN LEFT: Why hasn’t Obama appointed a single movement progressive? And the answer to the question, in my opinion, is because Obama effectively ate a huge chunk of the left. And really, Obama didn’t eat a huge chunk of the left, celebrity did. What I mean to say is that we live in a culture that now organizes around celebrity — and Obama knew it, and knew that lots of left organizations aren’t really ideological — they are, if anything, organized around the Democratic Party and Bush hatred. So he basically figured out that if he could become a celebrity — and a Democratic Bush-hating one — he could swallow up a huge part of the “progressive infrastructure” and organize it around him. And we shouldn’t blame him for being a “celebrity” — it’s not an epithet. And we shouldn’t blame him for seizing his moment. Not at all. This, by the way, is very different from the Reagan model. Reagan was a telegenic, for sure — but he was a product of a movement. In the age of celebrity worship — the age where we literally organize AROUND celebrity – Obama is a movement unto himself. So now, because of this, you have a large majority (though not the whole) of his 10 million-person email list overarchingly organized around the celebrity Barack Obama — not really around issues (though certainly people can like Obama and support specific issues). That means he feels no real obligation to appointing “movement progressives” because he has his own movement — one that’s about helping, aiding and defending Barack Obama. Again, I say that not derisively or in anger at Barack Obama — I say it just to note an important fact. MORE

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