My sense is that if Richard Haass is for talking to Hamas then it will happen. Blessed be the gatekeepers. Haass is one hell of a gatekeeper. It's not what being said that matters but rather who is saying it.
Look at it this way. She's out and about doing things that are in fact "normal." She is meeting members of her community and staying in touch with the concerns of average people. She really does have more of a common touch.
Barbara is fabulous. How many members of the Senate do their own grocery shopping? Not many I suspect. How many Democrats are openly partisan? Well a few but Barbara is one of them. Who in the Senate stood up in 2004 after the travesty of the Ohio election? Barbara Boxer did. Who in the Senate has been consistent ahead of the curve of the necessity of tackling climate change? Barbara Boxer has. She's a liberal liberal. She lives her values.
Schwarzenegger if he runs is a tough opponent (or at least tougher than most) but around his neck be the California Budget Crisis and that's likely to sink right there.
The one appointment that worries me is Admiral Dennis Blair for DNI. I am still reading up on it but it appears that Admiral Blair didn't follow orders on a mission to Indonesia in 1999 when he was sent there to discuss the situation in East Timor. A number of Indonesia-centric human rights blogs are up in arms on the appointment.
I don't think Obama is going to have a problem getting his personnel in place but I do hope this was a lesson learned. It pays to involve people in your decision making.
That would be a mistake if that's the case which I don't think it is. Bush thought that Washington was unipolar. It isn't. It's multi-polar and to a degree if you led people to believe that they are involved in the decision-making process then they become your allies and not a gatekeeper.
Obama has many talents, one of them is his ability to cajole. He should employ it fully.
I read the LA Times piece earlier today. It was unequivocal. I just don't want to see this become a sideshow, or better put, one more than it already it is. If Reid is going to lose in the end, better to do it now than risk injuring his reputation as Majority Leader.