The Obama administration: Here’s your briefing book. Better pack a lunch

So here’s the thing. I interviewed Jim Prentice today for a piece a few of us are working on, about the shape relations between the Harper government and its looming Obama counterpart might take. The environment minister named three people who have been leading on climate-change policy for the Democrats. I nodded sagely, then ran back to the office and googled their names. All three are affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a centre-left Washington think tank.

But it’s rather more than that, actually. Under John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s last chief of staff, the Center for American Progress has been described by one of Washington’s finer reporters as a Democratic government-in-waiting. And here’s how it can be useful to you, the incredibly wonky Inkless reader.

Last Wednesday the Center for American Progress released a book purporting to be a proposed policy agenda for the Obama administration. The damned thing has 57 chapters. Ten are available free online. And there is streaming video from five sessions at the day-long conference they had to launch the thing, cut up by files including foreign policy, energy and the environment, and the economy.

A think tank isn’t a government, but when it comes to Podesta’s group, the lines are intentionally blurrier than they usually are. Podesta is one of three people running Obama’s transition, after all. I leave this trove of insider counsel to you, to dip into or devour according to your preference.

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