President-elect Barack Obama, in this video message, addressed the Governors Global Climate Summit in LA, hosted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
** MARKET SURGES ON WORD OF OBAMA’S TREASURY PICK. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 500 points today — placing it back above the 8000 level, which had previously seemed a market floor — on word that President-elect Barack Obama will name New York Federal Reserve chief Timothy Geithner as the next US secretary of the treasury. The 47-year old former risk management analyst at Kissinger & Associates was undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs in the Clinton Administration under both Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. The latter was seen as a top choice for the Treasury post, but had a problem with controversial statements on women, developing nations, and pollution.
Geithner, former policy director at the Internaional Monetary Fund, is an internationalist, like the new president. A Dartmouth grad and New York native, he finished high school in Bangkok and has a master’s degree in international economics and East Asian studies from Johns Hopkins.
Word also has it that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a finalist for the secretary of state post, is likely to be offered the position of secretary of commerce. As he has previously served as secretary of energy and ambassador to the UN, this would be a lateral move. Or perhaps a holding spot for later appointment.
Incidentally, for all the vicious maunderings on the far right about Obama as secret anti-semite and enemy of Israel, it is worth noting that Geithner is Jewish. Indeed, Obama’s White House chief of staff, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces during the Gulf War. His father was a member of the Irgun, which many considered a terrorist organization, during Israel’s War of Independence. And Emanuel’s middle name is … Israel.
This is what happens when you make someone out to be a “Manchurian Candidate” without actually understanding what that means …
** NATIONAL REPUBLICANS TO WATCH: STEVE POIZNER. The Washington Post’s top political blogger, Chris Cilliza — you MSNBC fans have probably seen him — has just come out with a list of 10 Republicans to watch around the the country. Oddly, it does not include Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee, for reasons I consider to be decidedly non-serious. You all like that term? (I came up with it during the campaign season just past to deal politely with what I consider to be …)
Steve Poizner: Poizner, the Insurance Commissioner of California, has an early head-start on being the Republican nominee for governor in 2010. And, if Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) decides not to run, Poizner’s ability to self-fund a campaign coupled with his relatively short time in elected office and his outsider message could make him viable in the general election. As California goes, so goes the country.
Of course, here is how California just went: Barack Obama 61%, John McCain 37%. As longtime Democratic honcho Bob Mulholland just pointed out, Obama won California by over 3 million votes, more than any other Democratic presidential candidate in history, and just over one-third his national margin of victory in the popular vote.
I’ve scouted Poizner — which means, in addition to my usual light opposition research scan, I’ve filmed him in various circumstances and studied the footage — and have an informed view of the state insurance commissioner, who was an official of the McCain campaign. I have also scouted every other potential candidate for governor of California, in both parties, and have considered the 2010 race.
Here are the other names to watch on the WashPost blog list: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Dakota Senator John Thune, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Virginia Congressman and new House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (who joined Arnold Schwarzenegger’s coterie of governors in signing an international climate change accord), and Mississippi Governor and former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour.
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who served as national campaign co-chair of the McCain campaign and national finance co-chair of the Romney campaign, is not on the list. She is contemplating a run for governor in 2010. As I mentioned, I have scouted her.
** REPUBLICAN BRAND COLLAPSING POST-ELECTION. The new national Gallup Poll — see, we’re not done with polls after all! — taken November 13-16 indicates a further collapse since the election in the Republican Party brand. 34% of American voters have a favorable view of the Republican Party; a whopping 61% have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. That’s the worst rating for the Republican Party since Gallup began measuring it in 1992.
In contrast, the Democratic Party is viewed favorably by 55% of American voters; only 39% have an unfavorable view.
Amongst independent voters, the Democrats are viewed favorably by 47%, the Republicans by 32%.
The sharp decline for the Republicans began at the end of 2005, when both parties were viewed about equally favorably.
** OBAMA RAISED OVER $500 MILLION ON THE INTERNET. Here’s a stunning fact, just reported by the Washington Post. Barack Obama raised over a half-billion dollars online. No wonder he doesn’t spend a tremendous amount of time hanging out with big contributors.
In an exclusive interview with The Post, members of the vaunted Triple O, Obama’s online operation, broke down the numbers: 3 million donors made a total of 6.5 million donations online adding up to more than $500 million. Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments of $100 or less. The average online donation was $80, and the average Obama donor gave more than once.
“You looked at the money being raised online in the same way that you looked at the crowds who came to the rallies,” Joe Rospars, the 27-year-old director of Obama’s new-media department, told The Post. “You were constantly surprised at the number of people who were coming out to see him,” and, when it came to online donations, “people exceeded our expectations as to what they were willing to do.”
** COMING UP … My new column on Obama, Arnold’s global climate summit, and the future of the climate issue in California and the U.S.
** SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: MASTERSTROKE, MOUSETRAP, OR BOTH? Potential Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Masterstroke or mousetrap? Or both? And for whom?
The political world has been all aflutter for the better part of a week at the prospect — initially portrayed as a done deal — that Hillary Clinton will be Barack Obama’s secretary of state. On the Republican side of the aisle, Henry Kissinger calls her “highly qualified” and Arnold Schwarzenegger dubs it “a great move.” The Clintons’ opponents in the Democratic Party have been restrained in their response. The media loves it, running with endless references to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s very fine book on the Lincoln Cabinet, an Obama favorite, “Team of Rivals.” … From my Wednesday column.
** OBAMA TODAY. President-elect Barack Obama continues to hold private meetings and discussions in Chicago. He has no public events scheduled. Vice President-elect Joe Biden remains in Delaware the day after celebrating his 66th birthday.
The drama over the potential role of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state continues to play out, with former President Bill Clinton’s various international endeavors and fundraising emerging as an obvious area of concern. The former president has largely opened up his financial books to Obama vetters and has agreed to curtail his foundation activities and get clearance for future ventures.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has private meetings and discussions in and around the Capitol today. He has no public events scheduled. Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders will try to pass a budget revision before Thanksgiving. California’s chronic budget crisis is spiraling further out of control in the midst of the epic global financial crisis.
** MIAMI BLUES: PALIN AND NATIONAL REPUBLICANS LOOK LIKE THE SAD CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY. … From my November 14th column.
** THE AMERICA THAT CAN BE/THE AMERICA THAT HAS BEEN. It was the America That Can Be vs. the America That Has Been. The future won. Yet there is much in the past that is of enduring value.
I must say that this campaign, for all its excitement, its twists and turns, and its thrilling outcome, was something of a disappointment. In Barack Obama and John McCain, we had the two most compelling figures in the two parties, representatives of an emerging set of values and an enduring tradition. … From my November 7th Huffington Post column.
** GLOBAL OBAMA: BIG OPPORTUNITIES, BIGGER CHALLENGES. If he wins, Obama will have the global popularity that no American president has had in a great many years. But what sort of challenges will counter the global opportunity that an Obama presidency might afford America? … From my October 24th Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading this morning way down in the $48 to $49 per barrel range.
OPEC forecasts a 0.6% decline in global oil consumption in 2009. But sees a 2.5% growth in oil consumption in developing nations.
The drop of $99 per barrel since the record high over the summer comes on acknowledgment that the weak US economy will cut future demand and on the easing of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. It is clear that that, contrary to much chatter, neither the US nor Israel is about to launch a strike against Iran. And the Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium in the oil market.
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