As for the message a Clinton appointment would send . . . Maureen Dowd, in her Sunday New York Times column: "If Barry chooses Hillary as secretary of state, a woman who clearly intimidated him and taught him to be a better pol in the primaries, it doesn't signal the return of the Clinton era. It says the opposite: If you have a president who's willing to open up his universe to other smart, strong people, if you have a big dog who shares his food dish, the Bill Clinton era is truly over. Appointing a Clinton in the cabinet would be so un-Clintonian."
Too much Clinton? Bloomberg's Al Hunt sees Obama going for a balance: "He wants to assemble a group that has gravitas and is fresh, one that reflects the diversity of his political appeal and the depth and knowledge he promised to bring to government. Insiders and outsiders."
That might mean Tim Geithner at Treasury: Geithner, "whose acumen is as striking as his youthful appearance, is a more attractive alternative [than Larry Summers] to some Obama advisers. A possible middle ground that has been advanced to the president-elect is the towering presence of 81-year-old former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, with Geithner as his deputy and heir apparent."
The new boss introduced himself early: "In wooing federal employee votes on the eve of the election, Barack Obama wrote a series of letters to workers that offer detailed descriptions of how he intends to add muscle to specific government programs, give new power to bureaucrats and roll back some Bush administration policies," Carol D. Leonnig reports in The Washington Post.
"The letters, sent to employees at seven agencies, describe Obama's intention to scale back on contracts to private firms doing government work, to remove censorship from scientific research, and to champion tougher industry regulation to protect workers and the environment. He made it clear that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would have an enhanced role in restoring public confidence in the housing market, shaken because of the ongoing mortgage crisis."
Noam Scheiber wonders whether Obama can keep his team in line as it grows: "Already, there are signs of strain. Overshadowed by Emanuel's Hamlet routine was the unintentional rollout of [Robert] Gibbs as White House press secretary, which transition officials first pushed back against, then grudgingly acknowledged. This week, Obama honchos beat back rumors that former secretary of state Warren Christopher, a man many Democrats associate with concave-chested wimpiness, would help guide the State Department transition. An e-mail asking foreign policy aides to stiff the press quickly found its way to Politico; internal discussions about Guantanamo leaked to the Associated Press. Other personnel news keeps gushing forth prematurely: Reports have former Clintonista Patti Solis Doyle in a senior White House job."
How many future Cabinet members will we see this week in Washington, with a lame lame-duck session on tap?