Welcome to the technocracy: Obama is looking to govern for the sake of government as a technocrat in the center, rather than the left-wing ideologue that both the GOP and Democratic bases mistook him for.
Instead, he’s appointing Democrats and Republicans including old political rivals. History says that non-partisan apointments get the job of government done best – which should return attention to questions about what government should be doing, if anything at all.
In many regards, left criticism has been hamstrung by George Bush in the Oval Office. Folks got very confortable with lambasting every policy failure as a failure of incompetence or stupidity. No doubt things will continue to go wrong under an Obama Presidency, but we don’t yet have the language to describe any impending failure in a particularly useful way. For instance – while the current Bush-created budget problems will no doubt make Obama’s policy agenda difficult to implement, the focus on that issue alone sets us up for another 4 years of blaming Bush, rather than making forward-thinking criticisms of Obama (who, as the inheritor of the Bush Imperial Presidency and a unified government, will be the most powerful president in modern history).
Hopefully cutting off the head of the Bush-king will encourage people to think about the role of government on the whole, and reflect on whether it needs to do as much as we think. I am encouraged by people who would like to see police officers reduced to basic first-aid responders and directors of traffic, and I think we need to do more of this type of reflection during an Obama Presidency.