“President Obama is trying to sell some of his own moonshine, distilled in the White House basement from corn grown in Michelle’s back-yard garden, to get Chuck Hagel through the Senate. He will need Mr. Hagel and his heroic war record as cover for the evisceration of the U.S. military he must get through Congress. Mr. Hagel says the Defense Department is “bloated” and the Pentagon should be “pared down.”
Nobody wants rain on Inauguration Day. For the partisans among us – and that includes approximately half of us, give or take a few hundred thousand – it’s a day for celebration of the nation and its history, the continuity of its institutions, and the promise of the future.
For the celebrating pols, it’s a day to celebrate not having to go home and get a job, and to mark the promise of another four years at the public trough.
For Barack Obama, it’s a celebration of his agenda, both the one seen and the other unseen. We’ll see soon enough what’s in the unseen, and how much he can get through a divided House and a soft and compliant Senate.
The big fight is one he’ll lose if the Republicans in Congress remember why they’re in Washington and who sent them here. He should win the other big fight, over whether to confirm Mr. Obama’s choice to be the secretary of defense. Presidents nearly always get the assistants they want.
Imitation messiahs can’t imagine why anyone should think they need advice and counsel from mere mortals, but Mr. Obama got a little good advice over the weekend from Bill Clinton. It’s not likely this White House will take it, but somebody in the West Wing should write it down and post it next to James Carville’s famous message to Stupid that elections are about the economy.