News in Review: Uh-oh
Mr. Emanuel is undoubtedly a partisan, but with centrist instincts. In his previous White House job, he oversaw President Bill Clinton’s effort to win passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement; he was a voice for pursuing issues such as welfare reform and co-authored a 2006 book, The Plan, with his former White House colleague Bruce Reed of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. The leftward precincts of the party may have more reason to be discomfited by Mr. Emanuel’s selection than Republicans do.
But Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the minority whip, who announced his retirement from leadership yesterday, cautioned Republicans against presuming that Democrats will “overreach” with a liberal agenda. Blunt said Obama ran his campaign carefully enough to suggest that he will not fall into the Capitol Hill traps that snared President Bill Clinton in 1993.
During their campaigns for the White House and Congress, Democrats played up their ambitious plans to cool a warming planet, revive the economy and fix a broken health care system. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her first news conference since the party’s big election victory, warned Wednesday that Democrats might have to scale back the size of their proposals as tax revenues slow and federal budget deficits soar because of a sluggish economy. “I think it’s important for the American people to know that many of our options have been diminished because of the downturn in the economy,” Pelosi said. “We have a lot less money to draw upon.”
President-elect Barack Obama has begun an effort to tamp down what his aides fear are unusually high expectations among his supporters, and will remind Americans regularly throughout the transition that the nation’s challenges are substantial and will take time to address. Mr. Obama’s advisers said they were startled, if gratified, by the jubilation that greeted the news of Mr. Obama’s victory in much of the United States and abroad. But while the energy of his supporters could be a tremendous political asset as Mr. Obama works to enact his agenda after taking office in January, his aides said they were looking to temper hopes that he would be able to solve the nation’s problems or fully reverse Bush Administration policies quickly and easily, especially given the prospect of a deep and long-lasting recession..Mr. Obama’s advisers said that the tone of his victory speech on Tuesday night—sober and devoid of the arm-pumping that would typically be in an address of that sort—reflected his awareness of these circumstances. Mr. Obama warned that the promises that led Americans to embrace his candidacy—be they as specific as expanding health care or as broad as changing the tone of Washington—might take as long a term to carry out.
The day after Barack Obama won the presidency, BGR Holding, once one of Washington’s dominant Republican-only lobbying shops, announced it had acquired a Democratic firm with close ties to the incoming administration. BGR’s acquisition of Westin Rinehart illustrates a broad restructuring on K Street that’s accelerating now that Democrats are poised to control both Congress and the White House. Republican heads of business trade groups are bracing for pink slips, and some corporate offices are giving Democratic lobbyists promotions to co-chair their shops and help open more doors on Capitol Hill and in the new administration… Westin Rinehart was founded by Morris L. Reid, a former senior adviser in the Clinton administration’s Commerce and Housing departments. He was in Chicago on Tuesday night when Obama was declared the winner of the White House.