Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Feeding The Hydra

In mythology, of course, the Hydra of Lerna was a many-headed beast who devoured cattle and killed men with its poison breath. If one lopped off one of its head, two grew back in its place. It took Hercules and his cousin to kill the monster.
In politics, the Hydra is comprised of that faction of Progressive Blogtopia (© Skippy The Bush Kangaroo) that simply cannot stand the Clintons.
Exhibit A is presented courtesy of Taylor Marsh. This particular head's name? Arianna Huffington:

But given the palace intrigue that always accompanies the Clintons, James may be too genteel. Consider: in the two Times stories examining the "Clinton-Obama détente," we hear from "confidants of Mrs. Clinton," "former Clinton administration officials...who admire Mrs. Clinton," "a longtime friend," "a former aide," "two advisors to Mrs. Clinton," "a longtime friend of the Clintons who broke with them," "one Clinton advisor," "lawyers on both sides," "people close to the vetting," "close aides to Mrs. Clinton," "her confidants, who insisted on anonymity," "a close associate of Mrs. Clinton," and "one Democrat who is close to both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton."

So by taking in Hillary, Obama is getting more than just Hillary -- and more than just Hillary and Bill -- he's getting the entire Royal Court of the House of Clinton, complete with chancellors, chamberlains, and a court-jester or two.

The "royal court" construct is particularly juice coming from a woman of means whose political career began and ended by being the "beard" of a Republican senatorial candidate. Presumably, this gives her a certain leg up in experiencing the royal court, but a careful analysis of her history suggests she has deep and mixed feelings about the Clintons, despite her conversion to progressivism.
In short, she hates Bill and Hillary, but she's worked hard to supress those feelings.
Unfortunately, as Marsh points out, Arianna can't hide them completely.

There is no evidence, you know, the kind that comes with an actual name, to prove Hillary Clinton and her closest circle, which at this point is rather small, has added to the drama the media covering her has spun out of control.

It's not surprising that people are buying into the soap opera construct. It's just disappointing when there's no proof that any of this is coming from HRC's side or Obama's either.

There is no doubt that the most qualified person who ran for President in 2008 was Hillary Clinton. Who has been closer to the Oval Office than a First Lady? Who has seen first hand the inner workings of policy?
Did the Clinton's establish a court? Of course they did. Will Obama establish a court? Of course he will.
But, as Peter Beinart (via Marsh) points out, this is a good thing, to mix a little of the Clintons into the Obamas:
For the first time in four decades, a Democratic administration is going to hit the ground running rather than fall on its face because it will be staffed by people who know how the federal government works. That's change all right—the kind we can believe in.
Moreover, as Time Magazine notes, Obama doesn't have much time to get on-the-job training:
But not since Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in the midst of the Depression has a new President faced a set of challenges quite as formidable as those that await Obama. That's why Obama has been quicker off the blocks in setting up his government than any of his recent predecessors were, particularly Bill Clinton, who did not announce a single major appointment until mid-December. As the President-elect put it in his first radio address, "We don't have a moment to lose."
So it's not only that he's availing himself of a fairly professional, talented crew of people who are experienced in precisely how to run a White House, he's also not got the luxury of vetting a million people who might be equally qualified, who might benearly as adept, but who might run into trouble in the confirmation process.
You may not realize it, but there are 300 posts in the White House that must be confirmed by the Senate. Granted, Obama has a friendly Senate awaiting him in January, but the confirmation process demands bipartisan participation (amen to that) which means Republicans will be lying in wait for anything, and I do mean anything, they can take a pound of flesh from Obama's hide.
Remember the Clinton Attorney General appointment? It was nearly "three strikes and you're out," what with Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood. Could you imagine the uproar if Obama gets hit on such a vital appointment, twice?
The Bush administration touted that "the adults are taking over," even if they quickly whined about missing W keys on the computers (which should have been our first clue). Obama does not intend to make that mistake again. It's nice to see the adults truly are  taking over. Hopefully, Obama can kill the Hydra as well. Or at least make it grow the hell up.