Conservatives still don’t like liberals

CONSERVATIVES STILL DON’T LIKE LIBERALS…. The Washington Post has an item today highlighting the fact that some conservative activists are concerned because the Obama transition team includes plenty of liberals. Imagine that.

To some staunch conservatives watching President Bush relinquish the reins of power to President-elect Barack Obama, a few too many ardent liberals are now crashing the gates.

Some well-known Democratic activists are advising Obama on how to steer federal agencies, including a few whom conservative Republicans fought hard to keep out of power in the Clinton administration. They include Roberta Achtenberg, a gay activist whose confirmation as an assistant housing secretary was famously held up by then-Sen. Jesse Helms (N.C.), and Bill Lann Lee, who was hotly opposed by foes of affirmative action and temporarily blocked from the government’s top civil rights job.

Conservatives fear that some of these Obama transition advisers are too far left on the political spectrum and are a sign of radical policies to come.

“It is disturbing,” said Roger Clegg, a conservative opponent of Lee’s appointment who is now watching the Obama advisers at the Justice Department. “The transition team as described to me was made up of nothing but people on the far left. Though Obama is more moderate, that makes you wonder what kind of advice the president is given, and what range of choices he’ll be given when it comes time to make appointments.”

The fact that some on the right don’t like progressives on the transition team hardly seems surprising, and the Post giving this 800+ words seems a little unnecessary. In fact, Josh Marshall and Matt Yglesias mock the article for emphasizing a dynamic that appears to be blisteringly obvious.

I’m inclined to agree, but I don’t think the piece is completely without merit. The Post doesn’t mention it, but the noteworthy aspect of concerns on the right about the liberals on Obama’s team is that it offers a counter-weight to the opposite criticisms the transition office has heard fairly often — that Obama has snubbed the left and failed to offer progressives any positions of significance.

That Roger Clegg is “disturbed” by notable liberals with Obama’s ear on key issues of domestic policy is predictable and inconsequential. That notable liberals have Obama’s ear on key issues of domestic policy strikes me as more interesting.