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FCW Insider: After a historic moment

That the election of Barack Obama to the presidency was a historic moment is obvious. What's less obvious is what it will mean for the day-to-day operations of the government. Obama is the first African-American ever elected to the highest office in the land. He's an inspiring speaker, a visionary, and as his running mate Sen. Joe Biden put it, has a "spine of steel."


But a lot of the work of the president and his chosen circle has little to do with that. After January 20, President Obama will have to establish policies, procedures, a management agenda. He'll have to build on what his predecessors put into place, pruning out those aspects that aren't effective, adding his own new ideas.


One of the truer criticisms of Obama is that he lacks executive experience.  We have no record of a governorship or vice-presidency in his past from which we could glean clues about his management preferences. Other than his co-sponsoring a bill demanding greater contract transparency, his Senate record yields few indications as well. FCW and many other observers will, of course, keep a close eye on his statements and early actions to understand his approach.


The election of 2008 brought some other important changes as well. Rep. Tom Davis, the Virginia Republican who has long been the drving force of the Government Reform Commitee -- influential even when the Democratic resurgence of 2006 forced him to step down from chairman to ranking minority member -- chose to retire from Congress rather than run for re-election. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has chaired that committee, adding "Oversight' to its name and mission, for the past two years. The leadership of the new House that will convene in 2009 may well leave Waxman in that position, but there are no guarantees.


The election of 2008 was indeed historic, and not only for the obvious reasons. Obama promised "change you can believe in." His ascendance, along with changes in Congress and a new cadre of agency heads to be appointed, guarantee its a promise that will be kept.


 

Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 05, 2008 at 12:18 PM


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