Salena Zito

Most Americans wake every morning to news that Barack Obama will win next month’s presidential election. Strategists even say the word “landslide” aloud.

Every poll shows it, every pundit echoes it, and every analyst predicts it – therefore it must be true, right?

Let’s take this political axiom to some of those who do the predicting, to project what America will look like under an Obama administration, governing with a Democratic congressional majority led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“First of all, let’s dismiss any talk of socialism,” says Democrat strategist Bob Beckel, who worked in Jimmy Carter’s White House with a Democrat-controlled Congress. “The idea that Barack Obama is going to bring socialism to this country is just crazy.”

Beckel says that, in government and politics, the policy pendulum always swings back and forth and, particularly in this economic crisis, “people will want – and Obama will deliver – more government involvement.”

“They feel more comfortable with that than they do with a bunch of people on Wall Street,” he says.

Beckel sees an Obama appointment of Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court bench as soon as an opening occurs, and he dismisses the massive move towards industry regulations that some people predict.

One insider, who refuses to predict on the record, says privately that Obama will quickly announce his appointments to the cabinet positions of state, defense, treasury and attorney general. He believes Obama’s cabinet is shaping up to look like this: retiring U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as defense secretary; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as attorney general; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a political independent, at treasury; Susan Rice as national security advisor; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as secretary of state.

Mark Siegel, a former Democratic National Committee executive director, says Obama will want to make it immediately clear to America and to the world that “there's a new sheriff in town." He expects Obama to make that point dramatically by issuing several executive orders.

Siegel says you will see Obama immediately suspend all pending judicial nominations, close Guantanamo, then reassure the world that he will never permit torture.

Also look for a doubling of the Peace Corps, a brand-new Volunteer Youth Network, an expansion of U.S. assistance for “Teach for America," and a reduction of interest rates on student loans, Siegel predicts.

What a difference four short years makes says Brian Darling, a congressional analyst for the Heritage Foundation.

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.