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“Trial Balloon” This Week’s Word du Jour.

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will it fly?

You got to love the press. When they get a word or phrase in their heads they just can’t stop using it. Just after Obama won, the word was “transformative”, as in way transformative election. This week, as Obama starts to put together his cabinet and prepare for government, the word is “trial balloon”.

Here’s a great example of an Obama trial balloon. Yesterday, before Obama confirmed that Eric Holder was to be the new Attorney General, the information about Holder was leaked along with a caveat. That Obama wanted to see whether the black mark against Holder’s name ( that he had signed off on the pardon of Marc Rich on the last day of the Clinton presidency ), would be held against him by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, because he wanted to make sure his Attorney General nominee had broad bipartisan support. The answer came through that the GOP Senators on the committee didn’t have a problem with Holder, so the trial balloon was turned into a big red, white and blue balloon that everyone can be proud of. Sounds smart, right? Maybe not.

Trial balloons are not the kind of thing that a bold fellow would worry about. The truth is that Obama could nominate Eric Holder and know that he’s going to be confirmed by the Democratic Majority, even if every GOP Senator just hates the guy. He’s an experienced, highly able guy, who seems to have the chops necessary to mend the broken reputation of the Justice Department. But for some reason, with the wind at his back, handsome majorities in both houses, Obama still wanted to make sure that the GOP was happy.

This does not bode well. For two reasons. Firstly, now is not the time to be allowing your judgment to be colored by the party you roundly defeated only a few weeks ago, and secondly, if Obama thinks that the GOP won’t try and undermine him the first time that something they don’t like comes to the floor, he’s got another thing coming. Being nice in politics is a ticket to disappointment.

So far Obama’s been one big trial balloon. He hasn’t done much without sniffing the air first. We have to hope that this is not a sign of things to come.

Written by coolrebel

November 19, 2008 at 11:08 pm

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