I think Michael’s take is probably right in many respects. I like Panetta, too. He’s a grown-up and, while his politics aren’t mine, he’s enough of a wonk, mensch and political craftsman that I think he’s open to listening to smart people, but also not intimindated by them either. Nonetheless, his appointment strikes me as just the mother of all cop outs on Obama’s part (as Byron suggests below). During a period when intelligence gathering is huge important, Obama either won’t or can’t appoint someone with an intelligence background who agrees with him. That should speak volumes about the intelligence community, Obama, his positions, or all three.