Monday, December 1, 2008

If I Can't Think of Anything Mean to Say

There is actually some good news about the Obama administration-to-be. Jim Hightower reports today that Obama "has pulled together a transition team of four dozen experts, and they've been studying the regulatory favors that Bush has done for his political backers. Already, the team has identified some 200 of these overtly-political regs that Obama can quickly reverse after his inauguration." That's good news, especially since as Hightower also reports, the Bush regime is scurrying to get rid of as much environmental-protection regulation as they can before Bush leaves office. (It occurs to me that while, yes, it's important to protect the environment, laws like the Clean Air Act are primarily people-protection laws, to enable to us to breathe and eat and drink in reasonable safety.) Oddly, though, Hightower's source for this information is an article in the Austin American-Statesman, which turns out to come from the Washington Post of November 6. Much more attention has been paid, rightly enough, to Obama's regressive foreign policy and economic teams. But if he does undo some of the damage that the Bush gang have done to people's health and safety, I won't feel that my vote for Obama was totally wasted.

P.S.: My ambivalent Obama-supporter friend passed along this link to an article which lists some genuinely progressive appointments Obama has made. They're not as high-profile as Hillary Clinton and the other center-rightists, but they look like good people who might very well do some good. For example:

In the past two weeks, Obama has tapped Melody Barnes, of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, to serve as his domestic policy director; Patrick Gaspard, a political organizer for the Services Employees International Union, or SEIU, as his politics director; Ellen Moran, of the liberal fund-raising group EMILY’s List, which backs pro-choice women candidates, to run his communications shop; and Phil Schiliro, a former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle, to serve as the White House’s liaison with Congress.

On the other hand, this looks to me like triangulation: don't pay any attention to the reactionaries Obama has appointed -- he's also brought in some liberals and progressives! I prefer to be aware of both groups, and whether their virtues outweigh their defects has to be shown, not assumed.