The Obama administration: Here’s your briefing book. Better pack a lunch


So here’s the thing. I interviewed Jim Prentice today for a piece a few of us are working on, about the shape relations between the Harper government and its looming Obama counterpart might take. The environment minister named three people who have been leading on climate-change policy for the Democrats. I nodded sagely, then ran back to the office and googled their names. All three are affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a centre-left Washington think tank.

But it’s rather more than that, actually. Under John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s last chief of staff, the Center for American Progress has been described by one of Washington’s finer reporters as a Democratic government-in-waiting. And here’s how it can be useful to you, the incredibly wonky Inkless reader.

Last Wednesday the Center for American Progress released a book purporting to be a proposed policy agenda for the Obama administration. The damned thing has 57 chapters. Ten are available free online. And there is streaming video from five sessions at the day-long conference they had to launch the thing, cut up by files including foreign policy, energy and the environment, and the economy.

A think tank isn’t a government, but when it comes to Podesta’s group, the lines are intentionally blurrier than they usually are. Podesta is one of three people running Obama’s transition, after all. I leave this trove of insider counsel to you, to dip into or devour according to your preference.


The Obama administration: Here’s your briefing book. Better pack a lunch

  1. Thanks Paul for these incredible links! Most enlightening and most encouraging news on this front in a long, long time. American Liberals are finally outperforming American Conservatives at their own game.
    Rae and Ignatieff should pay heed!
    Perhaps there really is a future for Canadian liberalism and the Canadian Liberal Party.
    Only, that is, if Liberals understand what they must do to revive their dysfunctional party.
    It will not certainly happen if Ignatieff insists on closed door meetings!

  2. Podesta is a great name for an éminence grise.

  3. more blurry then, say, the PNAC?

  4. Go for the blogging angle: Makes the reason for Yglesias’ jump from the Atlantic a little more clear. Must be some interesting/exciting halls for a young progressive pamphleteer to walk.

  5. It’s not unusual for think tanks in the U.S. to be a defacto government-in-waiting. The Republicans have the Heritage Foundation et al. to pick policy and advisors/staffers from for their administrations.

  6. “Representatives from the United Mexican States” ?

    Did I miss the takeover memo?

  7. Wrong thread. Sorry. That was supposed to go under the Ahnold agenda story.

  8. Obama is a nicer, blacker McCain. America is either far right or center right. This is our future now. Perhaps Nancy Palosi will do something to bring some blue in the bills, but that’s a longshot. Poor Americans will likely live a lame life with very little hope for their future. Obama though made them feel that there was hope. I suppose false hope is better than none at all. I hate being tricked though.

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