LIGHTNING ROUND: THE NOT-SO SHADOW GOVERNMENT.

  • President-elect Barack Obama rolled out his national security team today, confirming Hillary Clinton at State, Bob Gates at Defense, and Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security. Clinton will remain in the Senate until confirmed to her cabinet position next year, Ben Smith reports. I would concur with Ezra, First Read, et al, that James L. Jones as National Security Adviser is by far the most interesting pick, primarily because we know so little about him, other than he comes from the Scowcroft crowd of Bush 41 realists. 0.31 seconds of Google research yielded this Charlie Rose interview with Jones from 2007, but surely the man's penned something for Foreign Affairs or Foreign Policy (nope) that might illuminate us to his views?
  • In other transition news, John Podesta tells Bloomberg that "virtually the whole Cabinet" of the incoming Obama administration should be announced before Christmas, Domenico Montanaro explores the question of whether a "team of rivals" form of management really works all that well, Laura McGann reports that "Obama has also been assembling a tight progressive cadre to serve with him in the White House" in addition to the Clinton-era centrists, and The Washington Post looks at the big holes being put in the Democratic majority by Obama appointments.
  • George W. Bush is working overtime to salvage his legacy, sorrowfully telling Charlie Gibson that "the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq." This comes on the heels of revelations that Bush ignored forecasts from last year that predicted the current recession. Meanwhile, the 43rd president is scrubbing the Iraq War allies list on the White House's web site, making sure the EPA and Interior departments are a mess for the incoming Obama administration, and laying traps at Labor.
  • I'm pleased that The Washington Post is starting to look at Bobby Jindal as the "Republicans' version of Obama," an observation I made in May, but it's worth noting that the Obama "change" campaign, which focused on the systemic failure of Republican government and conservative ideology, was quite different from the change Jindal represents, which is inwardly focused on reforming conservative governance itself.
  • The reformation of conservatism is, of course, a hot topic these days, but outside the rightroots, the solution is inevitably to get back to core conservative principles -- the latest example is this Politico piece by South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sanford. Meanwhile, Neal Gabler writes in The Los Angeles Times that the true progenitor of the conservative electoral success wasn't Barry Goldwater but rather Joseph McCarthy: "The basic problem with the Goldwater tale is that it focuses on ideology and movement building, which few voters have ever really cared about, while the McCarthy tale focuses on electoral strategy, which is where Republicans have excelled."
  • The prospect of a a Chris Matthews run for the Senate is clouded by the fact that nobody knows nothing at this early stage of the game (He's in! He's out!), but I will admit that the potential of seeing candidate Matthews on the receiving end of the sort of bad journalism his career represents will be endlessly amusing.
  • I suspect Saxby Chambliss will prevail in tomorrow's runoff election in Georgia, and Al Franken will not overcome Norm Coleman in Minnesota, but we'll have our answers one way or another by mid-week it seems.

--Mori Dinauer

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