Monday, December 08, 2008

Change you can believe in

Ready for all that new Change?

Obama appointees so far:

Defense: Robert Gates.

Bush appointee who's been overseeing Iraq since 2006. You don't think that we're scaling back our overseas military presence anytime soon, do you?

Attorney General: Eric Holder.

Deputy AG under Janet Reno. Involved in the Marc Rich pardon under Clinton. It's not what you know...

State: Hillary Clinton

I think we all know this story. Here's the NYT pointing out some "inconsistencies" with a Clinton appointment.

"Mr. Obama essentially said Americans should not take too seriously some of the things said during “the heat of a campaign.” Reminded of some of his caustic criticism of Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy experience — “grossly exaggerated,” his campaign called it — Mr. Obama shrugged off the discordant notes with a smile. ... "She is going to be an outstanding secretary of state,” Mr. Obama said. “And if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t have offered her the job. And if she didn’t believe that I was equipped to lead this nation in such a difficult time, she would not have accepted.” So were you lying then, or are you lying now?

Treasury: Timothy Geithner

This sums it up: "Geithner believes, along with Henry Paulson, that the Treasury Department needs new authority to experiment with responses to the financial crisis of 2008. Paulson has described Geithner as "[a] very unusually talented young man...[who] understands government and understands markets."

Commerce: Bill Richardson

"Richardson worked on congressional relations for the Henry Kissinger State Department during the Nixon Administration." Awesome. Nixon AND Clinton connections.

"Richardson spent a little more than 14 years in Congress, during which time he represented the country's most diverse district and held 2,000 town meetings." You need about 14 years in Congress to be an effective change agent.

"He became a member of the Democratic leadership as a deputy majority whip, where he befriended Bill Clinton after they worked closely on several issues." Leadership positions in Congress help, too.

"According to his autobiography, Richardson was asked by the White House in 1997 to interview Monica Lewinsky for a job on his staff at the UN. Richardson did so, and offered her a position, which she declined. The American Spectator provided evidence that Richardson knew more about the Lewinsky affair than he declared to the grand jury." Cronyism and Perjury: All the cool kids are doing it, why not you?

"Despite his long history with the Clinton family, Richardson endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination on March 21, 2008. Commentator and Clinton ally James Carville famously compared Richardson to Judas Iscariot for the move." Instead of 30 pieces of silver, he gets a cabinet position. Nice. I wonder if Nixon taught him that one.

Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle

Former Senate Minority and Majority Leader.

"Daschle... has signed on as a Senior Policy Advisor with the K Street law firm Alston & Bird. Health care interests, including CVS Caremark, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Abbott Laboratories and HealthSouth, are among the firm's lobbying clients. The firm was paid $5.8 million between January and September 2008 to represent companies and associations before Congress and the executive branch, with 60 percent of that money coming from the health industry." A lobbyist you can believe in.

"On February 13, 2006, Daschle became one of two Democrats (with Rep. Jane Harman of California) to endorse a warrantless domestic surveillance program conducted under the authority of President George W. Bush by the National Security Agency (NSA)." Well, at least he doesn't believe in the Constitution. That's a relief.

Management and Budget: Peter Orszag

"Orszag was director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2007 to November 2008. During his tenure, he repeatedly drew attention to the role rising health care expenditures are likely to play in the government's long-term fiscal problems--and, by extension, the nation's long-term economic problems. He also gained notoriety as the first CBO director to have his own blog." Hey, that's something different.

National Economic Council Director: Lawrence Summers

"Summers left Harvard in 1991 and served as Chief Economist for the World Bank until 1993. In December 1991, while at the World Bank, Summers signed a memo written by staff economist Lant Pritchett. The memo apparently argued that free trade would not necessarily benefit the environment in developing countries. An aside to the memo, leaked to the press, said that "the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that". The leaked memo was the subject of public controversy." An economist that dislikes free trade. Classic.

Council of Economic Advisers: Christina Romer

"Her work suggests that some of the credit for the relatively stable economic growth in the 1950s should lie with good policy made by the Federal Reserve, and that the members of the FOMC could at times have made better decisions by relying more closely on forecasts made by the Fed professional staff." She thinks the Fed has the answers, and can predict what the market needs through central planning. I guess she went to MIT. Who's to say she's wrong? Other than the economic meltdown we're currently in, I mean.

White House Counsel: Greg Craig

"In September 1998 President Clinton appointed Craig as Assistant to the President and Special Counsel in the White House, where he directed the President’s team defending against impeachment. He was also a member of the President’s trial team in the United States Senate."

"Craig's representation of Latin American politicians caused an uproar again in June 2008, when the U.S. Department of Justice granted asylum to two of his clients, former Bolivian President Gonzálo Sánchez de Lozada and former Minister of Defense Carlos Sánchez Berzaín. The two Bolivians were under indictment in Bolivia for their role in the government's killing of 67 protesters in El Alto in 2003." I can see why a guy like this would be good to have around. He's like Matlock, apparently.

UN Ambassador: Susan Rice

"At the same time, she was criticized by detractors who considered her "authoritarian, brash, and unwilling to consider opinions that differ from her own", and reportedly having disputes from some career diplomats in the African bureau." Authoritarian? Brash? Unwilling to consider different opinions? Sounds like a perfect diplomat. With those qualities, I'm surprised Bush didn't appoint her. She sounds like his style.

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