Politics in the Middle

My guess (actually it’s been my hunch for a while) that Mr. Obama might have more problems with the “Left” of his party than with the “Right” of the other guys. (That was even more my hunch when I heard his first named “go to guy,” Chief of Staff, would be Rahm Emanual, not exactly a wilting flower. I thought, “Maybe my hunch could be correct.”)

Already there are grumblings about Mr. Obama’s foreign policy team, not so much from the “Center Right” folks, but from the “Left Leaning” folks. Sigh.

This is my guess. When President-Elect Obama got his first intelligence briefing, he might have said to himself, “I knew things were bad, but, Oh my, this really and truly is a terrifying foreign policy world.” And folks like Mr. Gates (Secretary of Defense) were asked to stay on for the good and safety of the country. What Mr. Obama would call a “practical,” not a partisan thing. (Actually he most likely would not call it a “thing,” far too many smarts to sound like Dr. Seuss.)

So here is one of my favorites, what I would call the ever eccentric (I’ve always liked eccentric people), ever outspoken, to the Left, Congressman from Massachusetts, Mr. Barney Frank:

“‘It would be very helpful if the president-elect would become more involved in resolving the issue over the source of the funds,’ he (Barney Frank) said.”

(No offense to Mr. Frank, but President-Elect Obama has been kind of busy lately, with trying to put together a new administration and everything.)

Mr. Frank goes on to say, “Having lived with this very right wing Republican group that runs the House most of the time, the notion of trying to deal with them as if we could be post-partisan gives me post-partisan depression,” … (The entire article from the Huffington Post can be read here.)

I can’t help wondering whether Mr. Frank’s good old North East (reminds me of a good old New Yawker) combative spirit, might be part of the reason, although not all of the reason, there has, to my knowledge, not exactly been a “love fest” between Mr. Frank and the Republican Right.

And that, hope against hope, Mr. Obama’s calm, practical, (and let’s not rule out tough, don’t forget Mr. Emanuel), inclusive, problem solving approach, not to mention scary melt-down times, could be slightly more effective than the, at times, entertainingly “bombastic” style of Barney Frank.

National and Newburyport Local

In two and a half months so much has happened. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath. And the world is still swirling around and it still feels as if I’m out of balance.

A person who does seem to be in balance (and very calm), is our president-elect, Barack Obama.

My one very strong reservation when I went to the voting booth and cast my ballot, was that I had no indication, really, of how Mr. Obama would govern.

And so far, I am unbelievably relieved.

My great hope was that with the chit chat of the “middle” class, Mr. Obama would indeed govern from the “middle,” and with smarts.

And it appears from the appointment of his economic team and his foreign policy team that “middle” and with smarts may be us. In my book so far this is a, “Whew.”

Having blogged The Newburyport Blog for almost 3 years now, and having followed minutely how folks govern on the local level, as I’ve said before, I’ve become a downright “centrist,” because it appears to me that governing from the center, locally, has the best chance of getting things done.

And maybe it’s that just these “up in the air” times are making me cranky (they are making a lot of people cranky), but I’m having very little tolerance for the folks that are on either edge of the spectrum, right or left. My eye-rolling response to both is, “Please give it up, let us get important (vast understatement) things done.”

And what happens nationally, very much effects us locally. Such things as aid to states in financially perilous times, has a whole lot to do with Newburyport, MA, in the hopes that, if it arrives, state aid trickles down to our fair seaside city.

I am local, and I am hoping for good national (as my friend Frank Schaeffer would say) “Juju.”