Nice But Tough

By Paul C. Light
Special to the Washington Post
Wednesday, November 12, 2008; 12:00 AM

As the Bush administration is wont to say at every opportunity, it is working hard to promote maximum cooperation at this stage of the transition of power. The incoming and outgoing teams are saying all the right things about working together to show the world how a smooth transfer of power works.

Word from the White House is that President Bush sees a seamless transition as one legacy of his administration. It shows. The Bush administration has set aside office space for Barack Obama's team in every department and agency, and most departments and agencies have created their own transition councils composed mostly of senior career civil servants. The Bush administration has also "leaned forward," as it says, to educate the Obama team on basic administrative and policy-making procedures.

But the transition is not a tea party in which the incoming and outgoing administrations are nothing but nice. As one Obama spokesperson told The Washington Post, "It took eight years to get into this mess, and it will take a long time to get out of it. The next administration needs to look ahead. This transition team and the incoming administration gets that in a big way."

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