The punditocracy — both left and right — has long dismissed the Obama White House political operation as the gang that can’t shoot straight.
But Obama’s proposal last week for a government reorganization of a number of overlapping or misplaced agencies seemed to have worked out pretty well, even though — or maybe precisely because — it’s destined to go nowhere.
The proposal, which has been percolating for a year, would consolidate six agencies involved in domestic and international commerce activities into one agency and abolish the Commerce Department.
The smaller government idea drew a positive response from Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The overall logic of the move is pretty much unassailable, though the devil is in the details. But the White House announcement Friday was exceptionally gauzy on the details, focusing instead on calling on Congress to give him “fast track” authority for an up-or-down vote on whatever he proposes. (Good luck with that.)
Apparently there was some internal discussion about whether to propose a name for the new agency — something catchy with “competitiveness” or “jobs” or some such in it. But that too could be a source of criticism. So no name.
Seems to have worked out well for the White House. A couple days of largely positive reaction and publicity and the image of Obama trying to downsize government, change an irrational organization structure, shift the burden to the Hill and with little to no chance that Congress will act.
Maybe not a bull's-eye, but ...