What I’m thankful for — so far

Given this is the season for giving thanks, I thought I’d enumerate a few things during this transfer of presidential power for which I’m grateful. Here’s my list:

I’m thankful President-elect Obama is already moving from undefined “change’ and “cure-all” campaign rhetoric to a more centrist, reality-based Administration. Some incoming presidents never figure out that the campaign trail and the reality of the White House have nothing in common.

I’m thankful Obama is stepping up to the economic challenges facing his administration and has put a top flight economic team in place. He’s mixed experienced old soldiers with new thinkers, which is what these problems demand. What’s kicking the stuffing out of the general economy now will start whacking the ag economy in three to six months, so control now is a very good thing.

I’m thankful the transition teams are picking solid capable cabinet folks. I don’t care whether they used to work for President Clinton, I just want them to hit the ground running and not spend the first six months of the administration searching for the rest rooms.

I’m thankful for Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff because he’s just about the only breathing Democrat who can face down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA)and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) so they don’t get out ahead of the fledgling administration.

I’m thankful folks are waking up to the fact Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D, CA) successful challenge to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell (D, MI) means congressional energy, climate change and environmental agendas are now in the hands Californians in both chambers. The idea of Pelosi, Waxman, Rep. George Miller (D, CA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D, CA), chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, setting a national energy/enviro agenda should give us all pause.

I’m thankful the House GOP was smart enough to stick with Rep. John Boehner (R, OH) as their leader, bringing Rep. Eric Cantor (R, VA) in to back him up. Boehner is nobody’s fool, is a tough politician and he cares about the country as a whole, not just his party or his state. Cantor is smart and will learn quickly at Boehner’s knee.

And, right now, I’m thankful — so far — that the vetting process for the new Secretary of Agriculture is still open. I’m hoping the Obama team will choose someone who can stand up for food and agriculture in any cabinet meeting, who’s politically moderate, understands production agriculture and its challenges, who can broker the deals necessary to keep farmers, processors, retailers and consumers happy, who’s respected on Capitol Hill and can go toe to toe with leaders of both parties, and who understands that we’re in a global economy and that trade agreements are not dirty words. I’m also hoping he’s from Texas.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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