There has been some confusing reporting in the past few days regarding President Barack Obama's plans for the Defense Department budget. Officially, the Office of Management and Budget is claiming that it will increase the budget by 8 percent. But because most of the Iraq and Afghanistan war costs have been funded through supplemental appropriations rather than the regular department budget, total military funding remains a mystery.
President Barack Obama is a beguiling but confounding figure. As he said of himself in "The Audacity of Hope," "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."
Finding wisdom on the question of economic stimulus may be Washington's most important task in generations -- short of major war decisions. President Barack Obama currently is proposing to spend about $850 billion over two years that he asserts is intended to stimulate the economy and thereby add 3-4 million jobs that otherwise would not exist.
It was fairly common chatter from congressional Democrats in Washington during the autumn months of the presidential campaign that while Barack Obama was almost certain to win, in 2009 policy would be driven from the House speaker's office.
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.
As President-elect Obama vacations with his family in Hawaii and publicly complains about the intrusiveness of the press pool and the intense scrutiny of his Secret Service team, I suspect about now Obama may be recalling George Bernard Shaw's heartless observation that: "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it."
As we enter one of America's bleaker winters -- though not so bleak as the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge nor the winter of 1941-42 after Pearl Harbor and then Wake Island -- please permit me to lapse for a moment from the secular and the material to an old memory.
Last week, The Washington Post reported on President-elect Barack Obama's plan to convert his campaign's massive digital database of millions of supporters' contact and background data into a location that will permit him to use that data legally as a tool of persuasion for his governing effort.
From The Huffington Post and Daily Kos to National Review and The Washington Times -- and all the mainstream media in between -- commentators are puzzling over who the dickens President-elect Barack Obama really is.
As President-elect Obama's apparent choice for health and human services secretary and as White House health care czar, it is a fair guess that Tom Daschle's view on health care legislation may be decisive.
In regard to attitude, America's conservatives could do worse than to be moved by those lines of Robert Blake from another place and another time on behalf of a similar sacred cause then not yet realized.
The essence of this election season couldn't be simpler. The American public is so appalled at the condition of the country (which it unfairly, but not implausibly blames on the despised President Bush) that with fate casting John McCain in the role of Bush's surrogate, a majority actually is considering voting for Sen. Obama.
There was a joke going around conservative circles during the mid-1960s that we conservatives were warned that if we voted for Barry Goldwater, America would get deeper into the Vietnam War. The punch line was that we did vote for Goldwater and America did get deeper into Vietnam.
In the past 30 years or so, since presidential conventions no longer actually have decided the nominees, their usual purpose has been to focus and project a positive image of the already chosen candidate (and, of course, disparage the opponent). But last week in St. Paul, Minn., the GOP convention was different.
The No. 1 issue (in contrast to personality) in the presidential campaign, according to every poll of voter opinion, is the economy. More than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than the concerns about health care, the public's negative view of the economy is unambiguously driving the historically unprecedented 80 percent of the public who believe the country is on the wrong track.