OFF THE PLATE: NOVEMBER 2008
(Nov. 24, 2008)—After watching Chris Matthews on Wednesday criticize President-elect Obama for appointing Eric Holder as Attorney General and possibly Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, I was surprised by his reaction.
As we continue to hear one reference after the next about Obama's admiration of Abraham Lincoln's "Team of Rivals," I was vexed by Matthews-and-company challenging Obama's pledge for change by saying the President-elect's cabinet is looking more like a Clinton Administration alumni party than a cast of fresh-faced change agents.
That is the point. Since Obama's mass introduction to the political scene, all of the signs of his diplomacy and decency have been there. His two-year presidential campaign notwithstanding. The Obama who appointed Eric Holder, reached out to Hillary Clinton and showed Joseph Lieberman grace, is the same Obama who:
It is my belief when Obama promised change, he wasn't just promising a change in names and faces or an Ivory Tower F-You to those who bashed him on the campaign trail.
Instead, the change he promised was one that starts from the inside out. By inside, I don't mean inside the Beltway, but an inherently different way of doing things. Change in thought and action, and a transformation in decision-making to get Washington out of the insanity it's imposed on itself for decades by doing the same things over and over again.
Another interesting topic that came up tonight on Hardball was how Obama—as in, "No-drama-Obama"—will affect political comedy. Denis Leary, ever so hilarious, guested on Matthews' show and I laughed out loud as Matthews did when Leary said Lieberman would be in charge of poop-scooping after the new First Dog. While musing over Obama's former smoking habit and how that might be fodder for Leary when considering Obama's inheriting a giant political and economic mess, Leary and Matthews led the discussion with the challenge Obama poses since he does not have any obvious quirks or habits of which comedians can caricature.
While Matthews' program shed the attention on the likes of Leary, it seems to me the new dialog should be, "How will Obama's pursuit of engaging his team of rivals change the face of political punditry?" Matthews put the current climate plainly by opening his show with, "Unity sucks. Let's play Hardball."
With Obama striving to create a Washington and an international community devoid of angry (not that there's anything wrong with it) partisanship, will the polarized pundits need to start doing Yoga? Singing "We Are The World" or as Matthews referenced, "Kumbaya?" Playing Pictionary on the air?
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