Eighty-two percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll approve of the way the Obama is handling his presidential transition. That’s up 3 points from when we asked this question at the beginning of December. Fifteen percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Obama’s handling his transition, down 3 points from our last poll.
The 82 percent approval is higher than then President-elect George W. Bush 8 years ago, who had a 65 percent transition approval rating, and Bill Clinton, at 67 percent in 1992.
. . . The poll also suggests that the public approves of the President-elect’s cabinet nominees, with 56 percent of those questioned saying Obama’s appointments have been outstanding or above average, with 32 percent feeling the picks have been average, and 11 percent saying Obama’s choices have been below average or poor.
That 56 percent figure is 18 points higher than those who said then President-elect Bush’s cabinet appointments were outstanding or above average and 26 points higher than those who felt the same way about then President-elect Clinton’s nominees.
The irony in the left's total absolution granted the Obama transition team regarding any unethical contacts with Governor Rod Blagojevich or his staff actually makes for some pretty good comedy.
-- RICK MORAN
Scandal, investigation, punishment, and expiation but to more scandal. Permanent scandal. Frozen scandal. The weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist. The torture of detainees who remain forever detained. The firing of prosecutors which is forever investigated. These and other frozen scandals metastasize, ramify, self-replicate, clogging the cable news shows and the blogosphere and the bookstores. The titillating story that never ends, the pundit gabfest that never ceases, the gift that never stops giving: what is indestructible, irresolvable, unexpiatable is too valuable not to be made into a source of profit. Scandal, unpurged and unresolved, transcends political reality to become commercial fact.
-- MARK DANNER
Fitzgerald and Blagojevich are stereotypical--the crusader who never sleeps and the corkscrew pol who never stops stealing--but their collision is moving beyond clichés into a more complicated picture of people and power in a new century and raising questions about how Barack Obama managed to navigate that world without being tainted by it.-- ROBERT STEIN
Federal officials are bringing far fewer prosecutions as a result of fraudulent stock schemes than they did eight years ago, according to new data, raising further questions about whether the Bush administration has been too lax in policing Wall Street.
Legal and financial experts say that a loosening of enforcement measures, cutbacks in staffing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a shift in resources toward terrorism at the FBI have combined to make the federal government something of a paper tiger in investigating securities crimes.
At a time when the financial news is being dominated by the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that Bernard L. Madoff is accused of running, federal officials are on pace this year to bring the fewest prosecutions for securities fraud since at least 1991, according to the data, compiled by a Syracuse University research group using Justice Department figures.
You know who Bernie Madoff is. But what about Dwight Schar, Patrick Soon-Shiong, or Richard Baker? These three men have the dubious distinction of winning spots on America's Greediest 2008 Top Ten compiled by the Too Much online newsletter.-- DAVID CORN
I think we should amend the Constitution to limit the pardon power. Mend it, don't end it. Specifically, the president should be forbidden from granting a pardon throughout the lame duck period. From Day 1 to Year 4, Election Eve, the president would have the power to grant pardons. After that, he or she would be prohibited from doing so until the next inauguration. The idea is provide some sort of political check on the process. If Clinton wanted to pardon Rich, or if Bush wanted to preemptively pardon Cheney, they would have to do so before the voters went to the polls.
-- PUBLIUS-- BOOMAN
Ann Coulter's column declaring Sarah Palin Human Event's "Conservative of the Year" will prove a rich document for historians trying to understand the death of America's conservative majority. Palin is not named for her winning ways amongst the electorate nor for her innovative attempts to inject new thinking into American life. Rather, she merits the honor because she sent "the left into a tailspin of wanton despair," because she "drove liberals crazy," because "she made liberal heads explode." Indeed, says Coulter, "Who cares if Palin was qualified to be President?" Yes, who cares indeed?
-- EZRA KLEIN