Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Cabinet Moves I Don't Get

Lets begin by acknowledging that Obama has been quite deliberate and expeditious with his White House and Cabinet(or apparent) picks. Whereas some would fault his use of many DC insiders and former Clintonites, I see a man who has learned from the errors of the Carter and Clinton administrations. As an "outsider" temptation would lead him to build his kitchen cabinet out of Chicago insiders (as Carter did) and ignore those who knew Washington well, Reagan eschewed the Carter mold (though he decided to create a "Troika"), and Obama seems to have followed a similar tact. Appoint folks who are familiar with how government works and have your long serving politicos as "senior advisers". A similar trend is occurring in his cabinet "appointments" where strong candidates with executive or legislative experience have been tapped for various positions.

However, for the life of me I can not figure out why he's seems intent on picking Mrs. Clinton for the State Department. Aside from the obvious political calculations, I have never been convinced about her foreign policy chops. I see very little (aside from meeting many leaders - which passed for FP experience in the Dem primary) in her senatorial career that lends credence to her foreign policy aptitude. Especially when one considers John Kerry, Chuck Hagel or Richard Holbrooke as the alternatives. If the issue is having a female Secretary of State (after Albright and Rice maybe this will be a female position by convention) Ms. Susan Rice would be more suited for the position, she may not carry the cache of Ms. Clinton, but at least she has instant credibility, and if Worse comes to worse, I believe the original Madam Secretary is still available.

And then there is Richardson at Commerce, there maybe a plausible reason for having him at Commerce, but I have uet to see a convincing case for it.

Thus far the appointments announced have seemed good (though plucking my states governor to head DHS, may have guaranteed a republican hold on all state organs, and a republican governor in 2010) but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.


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