Today, the Obama transition moves to its fourth and final phase– the time after the Inauguration. This phase will last a number of months and be the most exciting part of the whole transition period. After all, the training wheels are off!
The new White House website was turned on. The predictable directive freezing all regulatory actions was signed. And key White House staff were sworn into office today.
The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe’s article “Tips on Presidential Appointments” describes how most political appointments take place after the inauguration. Citing a report by the Center for American Progress, he notes that one-quarter of the presidentially appointed positions were vacant at any one point in time and that it took on average 173 days for a nomination to be submitted for non-cabinet secretary positions and 63 days for Senate confirmation of those nominated. The report offers six suggestions to minimize the length of vacancies, such as getting a commitment from the person being nominated to remain for the president’s entire term in office.
The Post’s Anne Kornblut, in a separate story, “Transition Signals a Centrist Approach in Obama White House,” that cites a swift, seamless transition without a lot of drama. Quoting President-elect Obama: ““I think people should just remember what we have accomplished here: We put a Cabinet and White House staff in place in record time in the midst of the biggest emergency since World War II. [We] operationalized that team to produce mammoth legislation that we have essentially been helping Congress to drive three weeks before I am even sworn in. That’s a pretty good track record.”
The Congressional Quarterly is calling it quits on its transition blog, saying it will be back shortly with a new blog called “Balance of Power.” The IBM Center’s blog sees the transition as largely just beginning! So we’ll be around a bit longer!
Georgetown University is sponsoring a “Transition 2009: A Conference About Change” featuring transition team members, policy experts, and academics offering insights into the new administration and the 111th Congress. Speakers include David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, Andrew Card, former Bush chief of staff, and Thomas “Mack” McLarty, former Clinton chief of staff. February 12-13 at the National Press Club. Register at www.guconferences.com . Fee: $895.
Note: I was one of the Purple Ticket holders who didn’t get to see the Inauguration Ceremony. The part of the crowd I was in was in a fairly festive, if not happy, mood. Sure glad I’m local DC and didn’t travel from California, Texas, Illinois, and other parts of the country like many of my fellow ticketholders. I still thought it was an historic day and felt privileged to be in the area. Still, I thought it amusing that by this morning – less than 24 hours later – there was a Facebook page with more than 600 fellow commiseraters. Technology really knows how to take grievances to a new level! Sure am glad I wasn’t part of the crowd diverted to stand in the 3rd Street Tunnel.