LAT poll - 97% of Democrats approve of transition, zero disapprove 121008-na-poll-g,0,4977208.graphic

To be clear, the transition comes down to mostly building the cabinet, but also encompasses public statements made about future policy proposals - to be implemented once Obama takes office -, so the overall approval shown here encompasses the entire transition phase as a whole, not just the cabinet picks.   However, the cabinet announcements are the most prolific stories coming from a presidential transition phase, so it is likely that the transition approval shown is mostly due to the shaping of the cabinet.

The data graph shows that as of today a full 97% of Democrats approve of Obama's handling of the transition.  More telling is that no Democrats disapprove of Obama's handling of the transition. ZERO. The closest discontent to be found is in 3% of Democrats putting themselves in the undecided column of 'Don't know.'   I am quite sure that this is some new record for presidential transition periods with approval amongst ones own part members basically unanimous.    

Let's also make the assumption here that progressives/liberals make up about half of those who count themselves in the Democratic corner.  Where is the disapproval and discontent amongst progressives the mainstream media has been crowing and palavering about for over a week now?  Would that not show up in the subgroup of DEMOCRATS in polls like these with a BETTER THAN ZERO disapproval rating?  

Polls like these seem to suggest that those who voice outright disapproval and disappointment with Obama's transition are in the tiniest of minorities, but due to the high profile of blogs have found a strong megaphone to air their grievances and in some instances claim to be talking for a numerous slice of the progressive part of the Democratic party, when that does not appear to be the case at all.   Others have a more nuanced approach and disagree with a few of the appointments but overall are satisfied.  But one can parse those from the disapprovers easily when looking at broad judgements and policy predictions based on an overall negative perception of the cabinet picks.

Another thing to ponder:  When Obama sees that his handling of the transition is met with very strong approval from his own party to the tune of 97% and 0% disapproval, does that not suggest that Obama would have to feel that he is doing "the mix" of his cabinet picks exactly right?  Does this not, to Obama, validate strongly what he has been doing?

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Are Liberals Really Enraged?

Crossposted at Projectile Politics

In the past few weeks, there has been considerable discussion surrounding liberal anger about Obama's early cabinet choices. Pundits are falling all over themselves to get liberals to say that they feel abandoned by this apparent move to the center. This issue is largely born from three symptoms:

1. There are many liberals who are truly and legitimately frustrated with Obama's choices,

  1. The media's overwhelming urge to create controversy,
  2. The Republican Party's insistence they are not failing and that Obama must complement his Presidency with a constant string of centrist policies.

A Wall Street Journal article today argues the following: "Having enraged the left wing of his party with several initial high-profile appointments, Mr. Obama is now under pressure to placate this mob. One obvious, if frightening, choice would be to reward them with the energy-and-environment portfolio, turning it over to a team that shares the grass-roots' green agenda."

First of all, this overstates the disappointment that the Left has had with Obama's initial appointments. A Gallop Poll released today finds that 65% of liberals are still supportive of President-elect Obama. And even for those who are less-than-pleased, this is frustration, not rage. And I think that his early picks have been politically essential to improve his mandate and have a more widespread impact when he is inaugurated on January 20. Also, if Obama begins to appoint more liberal Cabinet members, it will be because they are the best candidates for those jobs, not to "placate this mob" of blood-thirsty-centrist-hating-socialist crazies.

Second, these early Cabinet choices are in departments that one might expect a liberal President to make more centrist choices by default: foreign relations and the economy. All throughout the Primary, Barack Obama promised to "gather up talent from everywhere." (I also want to note that his choice for Ambassador to the U.N., Susan E. Rice, is a strong progressive who seems eager to reject the policies of the Bush Administration.)

But Obama still has many cabinet positions to fill, and these are primarily areas in which he is likely to go liberal. These include Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Education, and head of the EPA. And an openly gay woman - Mary Beth Maxwell- is being seriously considered for Secretary of Labor.

And above all this, I believe in the argument that all of these Secretaries are Obama's employees. At the end of the day, regardless of their own ideology, they will implement Obama's policies.

So before we liberals freak out about Obama's departure from the left, and before conservatives declare victory in this ongoing ideological war, let's remember that we are barely beginning the first quarter of a long, eight year Obama Presidency. Sure, Obama is likely to be more centrist than a lot of us would like, but let's keep the hope alive that he will deliver on that oft-cited message of change.

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"You are lying" and "Clinton is too hawkish"...

Cross posted at Daily Kos and Clintonistas for Obama

This is merely my opinion regarding Clinton as SOS and therefore I cannot speak for everyone who did not support her in the primary (I did not support her, I was first an Edwards supporter then moved to Obama rather quickly despite some of my reservations).  From some comments (by others) in various threads there are some very interesting themes emerging.

One... many at Daily Kos "hated" Clinton, so that anyone that now supports her appointment as SOS was lying then or lying now.  

Secondly... Clinton is so damn hawkish because of her support and vote for the war she is completely unfit to serve in Obama's administration.

So, here I must refute these ideas...

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Weekly Pulse: Pro-Choice Cabinet Picks Boon for Health At Home and Abroad

By Lindsay Beyerstein, MediaWire blogger

It's finally official: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be Barack Obama's Secretary of State.

Some observers thought Clinton was a curious pick because she made a point of differentiating her foreign policy views from Obama's during the Democratic primary.

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Bill Richardson for Secretary of Commerce

I have been an advocate of Richardson, for Secretary of State - for quite some time. But given the economic situation - is Bill actually better suited for Secretary of Commerce?

What do you think?

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