While not a household name, Gail Lovelace arguably is the person responsible for the orderly transfer of power from President Bush to President-elect Barack Obama.
At least every eight years, the General Services Administration (GSA) turns over to a president-elect what has become a 120,000-square-foot, fully furnished, computer-equipped Presidential Transition Headquarters. This week, it was Mr. Obama who was awarded the keys to the suite of modern offices in downtown Washington by GSA acting Administrator James A. Williams.
Congress in 1963 handed the GSA the responsibility of providing each new administration not only with office space, but information technology, furniture, equipment and other logistical support — including the federal funds to pay for it all.
The GSA even appoints a "Presidential Transition Director" — Ms. Lovelace — who said this week that her staff "worked more than two years to complete this headquarters and help facilitate the orderly transfer of executive power."
Pretty impressive, figuring the GSA manages 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings, 425 historic properties, and Uncle Sam's fleet of 208,000 vehicles.
HOPING FOR CHANGE
Aristotle reminds us, "Youth is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope."
Let's hope youth is right this time, given its major impact in deciding the 2008 presidential election.
Indeed, overwhelming youth support for President-elect Barack Obama in battleground states turned out to keep this election out of reach for Republican John McCain, said Eric Greenberg, author of "Generation We: How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America and Changing Our World Forever."
He points to exit polls showing the youth vote supported Obama/Biden over McCain/Palin 66 percent to 32 percent, which he said is the highest share of the youth vote for a presidential ticket since exit polls began reporting results by age groups in 1976.
Specifically, college towns in the battleground states of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida saw increases of up to 92 percent in youth voter turnout in comparison with 2004 (Precinct 01 at Indiana University Bloomington saw at least a 287 percent increase in youth vote over 2004).
More broadly, 18-29 year-olds represented 18 percent of the electorate (some 24 million young Americans) while those identified as 65 and older made up only 16 percent.
"This is more than a voting bloc. It's a movement," Mr. Greenberg said. "We are witnessing a changing of the guard, a new political epoch, a youth movement, and their call to restore the American dream. One only has to look at how the youth voted overwhelmingly for Obama this election to understand that a generational shift is occurring."
SO LONG, LUNTZ
"The end of the most interesting election in modern times will also be the end of my career with Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research," widely quoted Washington political pollster and consultant Frank Luntz writes to his long list of clients and colleagues.
As he puts it: "When I hired my first employee and opened up an office in the basement of my townhouse in 1992, I never dreamed that I would someday have the honor of working for presidents, prime ministers, and CEOs of the world's most successful companies and most influential foundations."
Mr. Luntz is moving to Santa Barbara, Calif., where he will "start examining more closely what is really happening in American life and culture." He will still report back to Washington from time to time as "chairman emeritus" of Luntz, Maslansky.
"It ain't gonna happen," says House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio, referring to congressional Republicans standing to the side and surrendering party principles in light of the Democratic Party's Election Day sweep.
Announcing that he is running for re-election to his Republican Party leadership post, Mr. Boehner warned Democrats not to make the mistake of viewing Tuesday's results as a repudiation of conservatism or validation of big government.
After all, he said, "America remains a center-right country."