Turns Out Business Will Be Done Differently in D.C.

Barack Obama is still days from being sworn in as our 44th president but has had enough political headaches in these last two weeks to last him months.

I think much of it could have been avoided. Roland Burris could have been seated sooner and the Democrats could have been spared the sight of him nearly being knocked over by his Paris Hiltonian paparazzi mob out in the rain. Obama could have called Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and asked for her input on his choice of Leon Panetta to head up the CIA. Obama could have vetted Tim Geithner — and Bill Richardson, for that matter — more strenuously.

But other issues, like getting Congress to agree to release the second installment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, was never going to be easy or pretty — and the excitement of Obama's historic Inauguration wasn't going to make it better.

Furthermore, members of his own party in the Congress are feeling the need to flex their muscles, as I explained in my column this week. They have been sidelined and shoved aside by the Bush administration too long and aren't going to let Obama call all the shots.

Finally, Obama will soon learn that governing isn't campaigning, though he and his team are still clinging to some of the same tactics. He is set on changing the way business is done in Washington, but not calling Feinstein isn't exactly the kind of reform that's going to succeed.

Democrats in Congress will be shaping Obama's legislative initiatives, whether he likes it or not, and they weren't afraid to swat down his $3,000 tax credit for each newly created job. If he is looking for a smoother ride, he should make sure they are informed and included — because if they aren't, they will be happy to provide more bumps along the way.


IS GEITHNER'S TAX ISSUE A PROBLEM? Ask A.B. returns Monday, Jan. 19. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.