Monday, January 19, 2009

McCain: Gone But Not Forgotten

Proof positive that politics is not a blood sport for Barack Obama can be seen in his unprecedented reaching out during the transition for advice and help from John McCain.

Tonight McCain will be guest of honor at a black-tie dinner celebrating Obama's inauguration but, beyond such ceremonial gestures, the President-Elect has been consulting his former rival about potential nominees to national security jobs, in one case even pursuing answers to questions McCain had raised.

According to Lindsey Graham, McCain's close Senate friend, the Republican candidate has told him "many of these appointments he would have made himself."

With Joe the Plumber reporting from Gaza and Sarah Palin sulking in Alaska, Obama has been healing election campaign wounds, not only by dining with conservative pundits, but discussing with his former rival McCain's proposals to cut "corporate welfare," curb waste in military procurement and overhaul immigration rules, according to Rahm Emanuel, the new White House chief of staff.

In the months ahead, McCain could turn out to be one of Obama's strongest Senate allies, representing the traditional wing of the Republican Party rather than the extremists who took over and wrecked his presidential campaign.

With Hillary Clinton in the Cabinet, it's conceivable that, when McCain's Senate term expires next year, Obama could turn to him as a replacement for interim Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to complete a truly Lincolnesque team of rivals.

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