The country can't afford ideology just now; it needs results. There is a whole fiscal structure to repair and a nation's confidence to restore.
The president-elect's campaign promise to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs -- by raising taxes on the country's highest earners -- has been put on hold for the duration. Ditto, his pledge to repeal the Bush tax cuts that sparked the economic boom earlier this decade. Barack the Practical isn't about to tax American capital even more, not when investment is sorely needed. Apparently nothing concentrates the mind so wonderfully as the prospect of becoming president of the United States in less than 60 days.
No doubt Barack Obama's gift for rhetoric will still soar from time to time, and his voice will again thrill. But the hands on the financial controls will likely be Timothy Geithner's. Which is assuring.
Also assuring is the emergence of Hillary Clinton as the next secretary of state -- if only she can free herself of the albatross represented by her spouse's financial entanglements around the globe, which will inevitably raise questions of a conflict of interest on her part.
But in her own right, Sen. Clinton has much to recommend her as secretary of state. During the presidential debates, she played bad cop to Barack Obama's good one. Lest we forget, she was an early advocate of deposing Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And she supported the war there, at least till it grew unpopular, at which point she sought to appease the growing influence of the defeatists and conspiracy theorists in her party's primaries. A born fighter, she's not likely to surrender in Iraq now that victory is in sight. And she's consistently taken a tough line against Iran's mullahs and their incendiary front man, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Not the least of the advantages that would accrue from having Hillary Clinton as secretary of state is that she would be safely removed from having anything to do with national health care. Her last try at "reforming" it in the early, chaotic days of the Clinton administration was more bureaucratic nightmare than real solution. (Thankfully, it never got off the crammed drawing board.)
Hillary Clinton's appointment as secretary of state would be another tribute to Barack Obama's determination to govern rather than continue campaigning. In the spirit of Lincoln in his critical time, he's proceeding to form a team of rivals.