Obama Lays Plans to Kill Expectations After Election Victory
(By Tim Reid, The Times of London) - Barack Obama's senior advisers have drawn up plans to lower expectations for his presidency if he wins next week's election, amid concerns that many of his euphoric supporters are harboring unrealistic hopes of what he can achieve.
The sudden financial crisis and the prospect of a deep and painful recession have increased the urgency inside the Obama team to bring people down to earth, after a campaign in which his soaring rhetoric and promises of "hope" and "change" are now confronted with the reality of a stricken economy.
One senior adviser told The Times that the first few weeks of the transition, immediately after the election, were critical, "so there's not a vast mood swing from exhilaration and euphoria to despair."
The aide said that Obama himself was the first to realize that expectations risked being inflated.
In an interview with a Colorado radio station, Obama appeared to be engaged already in expectation lowering. Asked about his goals for the first hundred days, he said he would need more time to tackle such big and costly issues as health care reform, global warming and Iraq.
"The first hundred days is going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference," he said. He has also been reminding crowds in recent days how "hard" it will be to achieve his goals, and that it will take time.
"I won't stand here and pretend that any of this will be easy -- especially now," Obama told a rally in Sarasota, Florida, yesterday, citing "the cost of this economic crisis, and the cost of the war in Iraq." Obama's transition team is headed by John Podesta, a Washington veteran and a former chief-of-staff to Bill Clinton. He has spent months overseeing a virtual Democratic government-in-exile to plan a smooth transition should Obama emerge victorious next week.
The plans are so far advanced that an Obama Cabinet has been largely decided upon, with the expectation that most of his senior appointments could be announced shortly after election day.