CHANGE? SPARE CHANGE, MR. PRESIDENT? ANY CHANGE AT ALL, PLEASE, SIR?
OBAMA SURROUNDS HIMSELF WITH OLD LOBBYISTS, CLINTONISTAS & REAGANAUTS
BUT HIS ACOLYTES STILL SAY HE IS ONLY USING THESE PEOPLE TO GET THE JOB DONE
So, He's Going To Hypnotize & Bind Them To His Will, Or Do Their Jobs For Them?
We're beginning to wonder what the Hell Mr. Obama thinks he's up to. What is his purpose in putting so many old Washington hacks in charge of his campaign to actually manage change in the way our government does business? Yes, he needs experienced people. Yes, he needs people who know how things are done in Washington. Yes, he needs to calm markets and reassure a troubled nation & world that he is capable and competent, and not a wild-eyed revolutionary or a bumbling neophyte. But he may have gone too far in this quest for trust & confidence from the establishment. The establishment did not elect him. The rest of us, forever shut out of the establishment, are the ones who voted for him, who put him over the top. And we were voting against the established order, which means these people whom Obama is choosing to the exclusion of any of our people.
The top advisors and cabinet secretaries Obama is choosing now will not just be drones or water-carriers. They will be researching and evaluating, advising and selecting, shaping and managing all the decisions and policies of this new Administration. They will be hiring their own people who will be hiring THEIR own people. They will control the enormous flow of information to the President, filtering it and sifting it for concise summaries and final solutions to problems. The President is the chief executive. He makes final decisions and sets things into motion. He does not, he can not review everything or micromanage the entire Federal government. He picks the people who will do that, and he lets them do their work. Whom he picks is his most important decision.
The experience of every President since Washington is that his advisors and managers will run the show. They will surround and insulate the President from the outside world. They will pick and choose whom and what he gets to see and hear. They will have more influence on him than he will have on them, in the end. Perhaps in Lincoln's day, there was time to run the government as a talk shop, a debating society, a brain trust. But today, given the vastness and complexity of the U.S. government, the global consequences of every action, and the nano-second cycle of news and information incoming and outgoing, 24/7/52, there is no time to debate every phase of every issue. No time and no possibility for any one man to micromanage it all. The inmates will be running the asylum, as usual.
We can only hope that Obama does not end up like a Reagan or a Bush, surrounded and subverted by his aides and managers, each with his or her own agenda. We pray that Obama will not end up like Carter or Johnson, attacked and intimidated by his own military, diplomatic and economic experts, or sucked into adventures by them that turn out disastrously. We despair that Obama might end up like Lincoln: Distracted by his squabbling Cabinet, beset by an intractable war, shot by a traitor. Maybe we should drop the Lincoln metaphors?
Obama's people are saying that he is a great manager, just look at how he ran his campaign. But the people who ran his campaign are not the people who will be running his Administration. And a manager is only as good as his tools. Management is more than simply running day-to-day operations, or maintaining a front. We elected Obama because we thought he had vision, and the plans and the drive to manage that vision. But he is choosing as tools for the job men and women who do not share his vision. Does he plan to spend four years fighting them? He will lose. If he doesn't reverse this trend of going backwards, that's exactly where we'll all end up: Right where we started.
Mr. President, it's time for change. Change direction now before it is too late.
"Sources: Obama picks Daschle to head HHS"
Revolution, or revolving door?
' Daschle is currently billed as a "special public policy adviser" in the Washington office of the lobbying firm Alston Bird, though he is technically not a federally registered lobbyist. But his wife, Linda Daschle, is a registered lobbyist at the powerful firm Baker Donelson, which does have some clients in health-related fields. Meanwhile, critics questioned whether Obama's top staff picks so far represent the "change" that he promised during the campaign. More than half of the people named so far to Obama's transition or staff posts have ties to former President Bill Clinton's administration. Republicans aren't the only ones who want Obama to branch out. Robert Kuttner, a liberal and author of "Obama's Challenge," says the president-elect should broaden his recruiting efforts. "It's not as if the only competent people who ever served in government or who are capable are serving in government are veterans of the Clinton administration, so he's got to be careful how many Clintonistas he appoints to top level government posts," Kuttner said. '
THE WASHINGTON POST
"Lobbyists in the Transition"
Foxes take over hen-house.
' More than a dozen members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team have worked as registered lobbyists within the past four years, The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk reported this weekend. The list includes former lobbyists for the nation's trial lawyers association, mortgage giant Fannie Mae, drug companies such as Amgen, high-tech firms such as Microsoft, labor unions and the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. '
"Eric Holder Bio"
Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama? Which name doesn't fit? Which AG might not fit?
' After graduating from Columbia Law School Holder worked in the U.S. Justice Department as a trial attorney in the Public Integrity section from 1976 to 1988. He was then appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 1993 Holder was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia by President Bill Clinton. In 1997, upon the spring retirement of Jamie Gorelick, Clinton nominated Holder to be the next Deputy Attorney General. Holder was quickly confirmed several months later in the Senate by a unanimous vote. During his confirmation hearing, Holder's opposition to the death penalty was questioned, but he pledged his intention to cooperate with the current laws and Attorney General Janet Reno, saying, "I am not a proponent of the death penalty, but I will enforce the law as this Congress gives it to us." Holder was the first African American to serve in each of those positions. As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was, along with Jack Quinn, drawn into controversy surrounding President Clinton's pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. Holder gave a "neutral, leaning towards favorable" opinion of the pardon to Clinton, which led to the pardoning of Rich on Clinton's last day in office. Holder served as Acting Attorney General under President George W. Bush for several weeks until the Senate confirmed Bush's nominee, John Ashcroft. Since 2001, Holder has worked as an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. In 2004, Holder helped negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department for Chiquita Brands International in a case that involved Chiquita's payment of "protection money" to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group that has been designated a terrorist group by the United States government. In the agreement, Chiquita's officials pleaded guilty and paid a fine of $25 million. Holder represents Chiquita in the civil action which grew out of this criminal case. '
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"Obama Team Sheds Light on New Administration"
New singer, same old song.
' President-elect Barack Obama's first extensive roster of transition advisers sheds light on the types of people his administration will lean on and what institutions may claim clout in the new Washington. The Obama transition team released the names of 13 people on Wednesday who will direct a top-to-bottom review of federal agencies and another six who will lead teams that will review Treasury, State and Defense department policy, budget and personnel issues. The group is filled with second-tier veterans of the Clinton administration and workers in the technology and financial sectors. It includes four former lobbyists, three top campaign fund-raisers and two former employees of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, with some overlap among them. Four people in the group have ties to the consultant McKinsey & Co. and two have experience leading high-tech start-ups. The teams will also gather information needed to help the new administration win Senate confirmation for its appointees and begin implementing policy initiatives after Mr. Obama is sworn in Jan. 20. The names of the team leaders for other federal agencies are expected to be released by week's end. '
ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR
"Former Lincoln library director explains Obama-Lincoln connection"
Lincoln was also too ugly to be on TV. Let's not forget that!
' On the other hand, expectations for Lincoln were low. Smith said the American people displayed great patience “for a war that seemed endless.” He’s not sure that kind of patience lives on in a 24/7 news cycle world. He said if the Civil War were televised, “the sheer horror and seeming incompetence” of some Northern leaders would have caused patience to wear thin. “People forget Lincoln was viewed for much of his presidency — by Northerners — as a bumbler,” he said. '
"Will A 'Team Of Rivals' Help Obama?"
Otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
' President-elect Barack Obama wants to bring change by recruiting people from across the aisle for his cabinet. Some are comparing this plan to Abraham Lincoln's so-called "Team of Rivals." Madeleine Brand talks to Civil War historian Matthew Pinsker, who says Lincoln's idea to surround himself with political rivals didn't work out so well. '.
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