Obama NS Team

Obama NS Team

Well, the National Security team was unveiled today.  No surpises on this list. All the names were already leaked last week.

As this team continues to be presented, I am astounded by the number of old hands coming back to their old departments or related jobs in other departments. Susan Rice (who I like) is back in the mix as she was under Madeleine Albright in the Clinton years. Jim Jones is also back in the mix, so is Eric Holder who was at Justice in the Clinton years and Gates who will probably be the only Bushite to keep his job.

Then there is Hillary…

I have to admit, I have struggled to understand this pick and everyday I fail to see how it makes sense.

One argument advanced is that Obama is trying to heal the wounds of the campaign and further unite the Democratic Party.

I thought that was done already.

The original fear after the primaries was that White women, working class voters and other Hillary supporters were not going to vote for Obama. They did. He won. Hillary herself (along with Bill albeit late) threw her support behind Obama during the campaign. She could help him in the Senate by helping push through his agenda among friends and foes. So why bring her in the inner circle where she could be a disturbance?

The other argument is that Obama is trying to neutralize a threat. Well, he already won the election. How much of a threat was Hillary really going to be in the Senate as the Senator from NY? Was she going to plan a mutiny to unseat a President of her own party? Was she gonna try to run against him seeking re-election in 2012? So what was there to neutralize? I thought any threat was neutralized by the election win? Wouldn’t the best way to neutralize any threat be to simply govern well for four years and thereby make a second term easy to win? Why neutralize Democrats now? If there was somebody to neutralize I would think it would be moderate Republicans such as Tim Pawlenty or Bobby Jindal. If Obama brought Pawlenty or Mitt Romney or even John McCain in his cabinet, he would have essentially left the Republican party to the Sarah Palin small mind, social conservative types and that would almost certainly assure him re-election in four years.  As most analysts concluded in election post mortems, that wing of the Republican party is a dying one.

The last thing commonly mentionned is that Hillary has connections among world leaders that are valuable at State. Well, the Clinton baggage certainly isn’t valuable at State. I mean, notwithstanding all the talk of releasing lists of donors, getting Bill’s speeches vetted by the new White House, etc,… There is always a scandal lurking behind Bill Clinton. And that will sooner than later come out to embarass the Change President. And those world leader connections can be re-established. Obama has some political capital now as the anti-Bush President-Elect that could be leverage towards creating those links. 

And what are we to make of the relegation of Bill Richardson to Commerce Secretary and John Kerry to …well…nothing Obama has to do with but certainly a post of some importance as the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee? These two individuals supported Obama at crucial times in the campaign and their remuneration for that support pale in comparison to the Grand Prize bestowed on Clinton for essentially just being a primary rival.

 Hopefully Obama has planned the workings of this team in his mind. But the clash of egos could become too much for even his Unflappableness Barack to handle. I just hope I eat my words in a few months.

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