Three of Barack Obama’s most important advisers will accompany him to the Oval Office only in spirit, Gerald Seib writes in the Wall Street Journal: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Robert Rubin. In leaving behind a healthy record as Democratic building blocks, the Clinton years left Obama “what we didn’t have, which is a usable past,” says a Clinton transition member.
Gore has shaped the thinking of Obama’s energy and environmental teams; Obama’s environment “czar” worked for Gore, and Obama’s energy secretary is in the Gore mold on climate change. Obama’s top economic seats have been filled with protégés of Rubin, Clinton’s Treasury secretary. Bill himself is, of course, represented by his wife at State, and his “pragmatism and centrism” have deeply influenced Obama’s thinking.