With two weeks still left in President-elect Barack Obama's transition and because of the alleged corrupt conduct of several people in his proximity and his own passivity and public silence (and the inherent drama of current events), his has become the most dramatic presidential transition in memory.
The phrase "No Drama Obama" was born March 12, 2008, when retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, who was campaigning for Obama, labeled him "No Shock Barack, No Drama Obama." It is fair to say that this useful and rhyming campaign slogan finally and formally was laid to rest last Sunday, when -- after weeks of Illinois transition opera bouffe and colorful Caroline Kennedy Senate-snatching efforts -- Obama's designated commerce secretary, Bill Richardson, withdrew his name one step ahead of a New Mexico grand jury.
Team Obama lost no time Sunday afternoon turning that embarrassing incident into a classless finger-pointing exercise, as they backgrounded Richardson's treachery. According to ABC News, "Officials on the Obama Transition Team feel that before he was formally offered the job of commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was not forthcoming with them about the federal investigation that is looking into whether the governor steered a state contract towards a major financial contributor." Of course, no one has suggested that Obama knew either of Richardson's alleged conduct or what his transition team was saying to ABC News.
Also on Sunday, the normally Obama-friendly New York Times went after Obama's designated secretary of state, with the following headline and lead: "A Donor's Gift Soon Followed Clinton's Help." "An upstate New York developer donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton's foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman's mall project." Of course, no one is suggesting that Obama had any personal knowledge of these Clinton transactions at the time he nominated her.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.