I am very excited about the upcoming inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama.
I believe in his message of change… but staunch supporter that I may be, I also believe in asking questions, and holding people- even president elects that I love- accountable to the promises they have made.
It is based on that premise that I write this post today.
The media and blogosphere have been abuzz, commenting on the cabinet/administration choices Obama has already made… and speculating heavily on those posts he has yet to announce.
Two things have struck me.
First, Obama is putting the Clinton Administration’s dream team back in place.
Everyone from Rahm Emanuel to Eric Holder and finally Hillary Clinton… with lots of additional Clinton-folks in between seem to be coming back to work for Obama.
Now I’m certainly no foe of the Clintons… I loved both Bill and Hillary in the White House, and believe Hillary’s subsequent time in the senate has been invaluable. In fact, the reason I wasn’t a Hillary supporter during the primaries had nothing to do with her policy or her stand on the issues… and everything to do with her negative campaigning.
As a politician, she’s excellent.
Second, we have news that Obama has decided to keep the Office of Political Affairs open once he becomes president.
This is the office that gave Karl Rove all the strategic power he ultimately abused and took down the GOP with.
After Karl Rove’s nuttiness (some call it genius… and those people scare the shit out of me), there were a lot of people- on both sides of the aisle- who wanted that office shut down when a new president stepped in.
Obama has decided it’s best to keep the office open, for now at least.
These two issues- the Clintons resurrection and the Office of Political Affairs remaining open- have, to me, raised a red flag.
Now obviously, anything I say is merely speculation… the poor guy hasn’t even taken office yet… so none of us know what any of these things will ultimately mean for Obama’s leadership or policy.
Where’s the change?
Some say Obama has chosen so many Clinton loyalists as members of his team because they share his vision, and come with strong executive experience- they know how Washington works- and can therefore get things done…
I find myself thinking of Jimmy Carter… he kind of ran on a similar platform as Obama- a message of hope, of change. He was a Washington outsider… and when he took office, he surrounded himself with other Washington outsiders, known today as the “Georgia Mafia”. The idea was simple- people were tired of the status quo, sick of politics… so Carter brought in a bunch of people that were not part of the political brotherhood to help him shake things up. Unfortunately, it didn’t work… Even as Carter, like Obama today, had a huge democratic majority in Congress… not a whole lot seemed to get accomplished.
A lot of people think that’s because this “Georgia Mafia” simply lacked the political know-how to further Carter’s mission, or to get his objectives met…
… And that Obama shouldn’t make the same mistakes Jimmy Carter did.
I guess I can kind of dig it… but…
I’m still uneasy.
How does one convince the masses that things will be different when he is in some cases steadily recycling old leadership, and in others choosing not to close controversial and scary offices of the past?
I’m becoming nervous.
Not so scared that I have lost faith in my man…
… But uncomfortable enough to find myself praying at night.
Dear God, I hope this man knows what he’s doing.
It isn’t just something to believe in…
… It has become our lifeline.
It’s a necessity.