Most people know I am not the most enthusiastic supporter of Obama (probably a understatement), but I have to write about Obama's picks for Cabinet which I think are very encouraging for those of us who were voted for McCain and wondered about Obama's experience and past associations.
First the big pick: Robert Gates.
For the move-on left who supposedly voted Obama into office to “end the war” this pick must seem like a slap in the face. At least for the first year Robert Gates will continue to help lead the finest and most honorable military in history, and will be a great asset to President Obama.
Along with Robert Gates, Obama has selected James L. Jones as his National Security Advisor. He’s a tough-as-nails retired marine general who will be a strong advisor to Obama and certainly somebody that any red-blooded neoconservative American can be proud of. When compared to Clinton’s peacenik cabinet and Sandy “The Burglar” Burger, Obama has chosen well.
For Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle Probably the worst of the cabinet picks in my opinion by Obama; but what can I say? He certainly isn’t a Mike Leavitt.
Rahm Emanuel is Obama’s choice as Chief of Staff. He’s a very smart and outstanding congressman (and one of the reasons why the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid wing of the Democratic party hasn’t kamikazied the party into obsolescence). He’s a centrist that will provide some healthy Obama v. Congress tension that will both help to distance Obama from the single digit approval lunacy of congress and help Blue Dog Democrats better their positions. Yes, America is still fundamentally a centrist-right country and Rahm Emanuel is a good reflection of Obama’s recognition of that fact. It should encourage all democrats and also assuage many of the fears republicans had of Obama. If Pelosi-Reid though they were going to have a nice puppet president then the pick of tough-guy Rahm Emanuel is their wake-up call.
Obama could have done worse than to nominate Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security (although, as the Governor of Arizona I am a little concerned about that wide open HOV lane extending from Mexico into the U.S.).
On the Economy
For U.S. Secretary of the Treasury: Timothy F. Geithner. He is a fairly free-market guy and a solid choice to head the Treasury (although some conservatives may be less approving). Whatever happens to the economy, It seems that Timothy Geithner is highly competent and understands what will and won’t work. Certainly not the Marxist that some overly-enthusiastic Obama opponents (or supporters) were expecting.
For the White House’s National Economic Council we have Lawrence Summers. He is also very outstanding economist who is not afraid to express his opinion (an important quality in an advisor). Notably, he rocked the boat as Harvard’s president when he dared to note that there really may exist fundamental differences between men and women (GASP!!!), and where he criticized African American Studies department head Cornel West for being unscholarly and his work as “an embarrassment to the University.” Not a bad pick for a Democrat.
Next, Christina Romer will be the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. She leans supply-side on fiscal policy and seems like a fine addition to Obama’s cabinet.
For Secretary of Commerce: Bill Richardson will serve Obama well. Interestingly, his father is Nicaraguan (I knew I liked him for some reason), and best of all Richardson is a tax cutter who supports global trade (Columbia free trade?). Now that the parasitic Unions are becoming defunct and with Richardson in the Cabinet, NAFTA will likely continue unopposed. Not a bad pick at all, and a nice guy (although I miss El Diablo with the beard).
Another notable economic pick as the Chair of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board was Paul Volcker who served as Reagan’s Secretary of the Treasury and who helped clean up Carter’s mess during the 1980s. He also helped to dissect and bring to light the scandalous ‘Oil for Food’ program at the UN.
And last but not least is Hillary Clinton who will serve as Secretary of State. It’s a sign of Obama’s confidence and good will to extend that position to Clinton, and I think she will be a strong advocate for the United States throughout the world. She’s a democrat, but she isn’t Madeline Albright either. Not a bad person to pick up that phone at 3:00 a.m. even if she’s a Democrat.
One of Bush's biggest mistakes as president may have been the appointment of so many of his Texan friends who proved to be unreliable (e.g. Al Gonzalez). The first impressions of Presiden Obama are very encouraging. He may even turn out to be a great president. Unlike the rabid Bush-hating wing of the left, I love my country enough to hope for the success of even my rivals and perhaps we will see growth and success unlike anything we’ve seen in history. That is the purpose of healthy competition in the marketplace of ideas, and it seems like Obama has filled his cabinet with enough people who disagree with him enough to make positive synergy happen.
I hope Obama is so good a President that I will be salivating to vote for him in 2012, but I’ll still keep a critical eye on him as well as some of my Republican political allies. It looks as if he’s making a good foundation for a solid presidency, and we’ll see what the next four years have in store.