President-elect Barrack Obama has been in the spotlight the last few days as he announces transition plans.
University of Iowa political science professor, Cary Covington, says it’s important to have a smooth transition with the current economic situation Obama will face on taking office. He says Obama has taken a page out of Ronald Reagan’s playbook in trying to assure a smooth transition.
Covington says Obama has “parachute teams”, or groups of people who are going in an watching the people who are now running the government to see what they are doing. He says these won’t be the people who hold the jobs, but the people who teach the appointees how to do their jobs when they come in — something he says Reagan did very effectively.
Covington says it’s a far cry from the transition practices of the early 20th Century. Covington says in previous administrations when the people nominated to run the department showed up, they were on their own and had to learn about the job from the people who they are supposed to be supervising. “And that often led to ineffective leadership, at least from the president’s perspective,” Covington says. Covington says the outgoing administration is generally willing to help, but the new administration isn’t always ready to listen.
“The people who are leaving the office have a strong desire to tell the incoming folks, here’s what we’ve learned, here’s what our experience has taught us, here’s what we think you need to know,” he says, “the problem tends to be the incoming administration.” Covington says the incoming administration is usually “full of hubris” at winning and are full of confidence and feel they don’t have to listen to the other party.
The federal government now provides money for a transition office and staff for the incoming president. Covington made his comments today on the Iowa Public Radio program, “The Exchange.”