Diary

Pretty Soon, The Netroots Will Have No Teeth Left

Barack Obama will have caused his cyber-base to gnash their collective teeth to bits:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has asked most Bush administration political appointees except those targeted for dismissal to stay on in the Pentagon until replaced by the Obama administration in the coming months.

“I have received authorization from the president-elect’s transition team to extend a number of Department of Defense political appointees an invitation to voluntarily remain in their current positions until replaced,” Mr. Gates said in an Dec. 19 e-mail to political appointees.

The chance to stay is “available to all willing political appointees with the exception of those who are contacted individually and told otherwise,” he stated.

[. . .]

Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary, confirmed that Mr. Gates wants to retain most political appointees. He said the policy of keeping so many holdover officials is unusual for a transition from a Republican to Democratic administration.

This represents yet another comprehensive defeat for the netroots, who want American troops out of Iraq yesterday and who naturally believe that any decision to continue the lifetime of the Bush defense establishment represents a frustration of that goal. To be sure, a fair amount of the holdover personnel will eventually be replaced, but Secretary Gates seems set to keep a lot of them for the long term, as the story indicates.

I am now growing increasingly confident–especially with the presents of a Status of Forces Agreement between Iraq and the United States that the incoming Obama Administration will fail to meet the President-elect’s stated goal of removing all combat personnel from Iraq within 16 months of the Inauguration. I am increasingly confident that the President-elect will not care that the deadline is not met–indeed, I think that he does not want it to be met. I am increasingly confident that he will let the Netroots know that he does not want the deadline to be met. And I am increasingly confident that when the netroots howl in fury, he will chuckle in response.

Perhaps the chuckling will be done in private. But it will be done nonetheless.