Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Is Obama, Not America, That Has Really Changed

President-Elect Barack Obama has virtually completed top officials for his cabinet. This is an extraordinarily rapid pace. It is noteworthy that one of the most leftist Democrats at the Senate is changing into the President of a centrist administration. Why has Obama changed so drastically?

Apparently, conservatives were infuriated with newly elected Obama just after the election. See the video below at John McCain’s concession speech. McCain is soothing his supporters’ utmost anger toward Obama, a radical liberal President-Elect.

Their outrage could have some influence on Obama. The President-Elect takes ideological and racial balance into account as he selects his cabinet members. As show in the table below, Obama’s transition is unprecedentedly rapid.

Also, I would like to show a list of cabinet candidates in the Obama administration through this link.

The Wall Street Journal points out some characteristics of the Obama administration. While the Bush team included top corporate executives from aluminum, railroad, and financial industries, the Obama team is largely devoid of business experience. Also, Obama has given key cabinet posts to those who are unfamiliar to him.
This is noticeable among his appointees to national security posts. His Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was the archrival for Democrats’ presidential nomination. Secretary of Defense Appointee Robert Gates is a member of the Bush cabinet. He has served a couple of Republican presidents, including George W. Bush. National Security Advisor James Jones worked for John McCain for in the past, and he still has close ties with the Republican candidate in the last presidential election. In other words, this is something like appointing John McCain to one position in Obama’s cabinet.

On the other hand, Obama’s liberal loyalists were appointed to lesser positions. Homosexual rights, labor, and environmental activists failed to obtain key positions, such as Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Environment.

Democrat activists do not complain Obama’s personnel choice in public. However, it is apparent that those who bowed and praised their savior Obama have been betrayed (“Obama Sets Fast Pace for Transition”; Wall Street Journal; December 22, 2008).

The Economist comments positively about balanced selection of cabinet members by Barack Obama. However, it raises concerns, “The trouble is that pulling in so many big names may, in time, produce rivalries that Mr. Obama will have difficulty reconciling.” (“Barack Obama: A well-stocked cabinet”; Economist; December 22, 2008)

Shortly after the election, Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton left a similar comment in his article. Bolton advises Obama as the following (“Letter to the President-Elect”; AEI Online; November 13, 2008 & also, in Daily Telegraph; November 5, 2008).

Although President George W. Bush tried to make this his mantra, his administration was plagued in its first term by incoherence in national security decision-making. Crisp decisions were not made, strong differences of opinion among cabinet secretaries were not resolved, and policy too often oscillated between conflicting options with no consistency or direction.

Ironically, the Bush administration's second term erred in the opposite direction, almost eliminating differences in advice to the president until there was only one voice in his ear at critical points. You must avoid both pitfalls, and you must make that immediately clear. You must resolve disagreements among your advisers, not allow drift, and insist on discipline once you make a decision.

Yoshihisa Komori, Chief of Washington Bureau at Sankei Shimbun, points out that Barack Obama was judged the most radical liberal as a Senator by AFL-CIO (“Barack Obama’s Bright Side and Dark Side #7”; Stage-kaze Hastu; December 20, 2008).

How could he convert himself into centrist? Despite longtime experience in Washington, Komori has not found the clue to this question (“The Prospect of the Obama Administration”; December 11, 2008). I understand his puzzlement. Obama’s primary agenda is the economy, and in this area, his selection is heavily dependent on Clintonites. Komori wonders why Obama included Clintonites and Republicans in his team. Is Obama confident in addressing his own agenda of radical leftism even though he needs help by Republicans and Clintonites? Partly, it is true. But I think Obama needs help beyond his creed because he has only 3 year experience at the Senate. This implies that Obama does not have strong personal contacts to manage Washington politics.

Seemingly smooth, Obama’s transition faces difficulties in appointment of some positions. The CIA Director is a key post in the War on Terror. However, due to clashes between CIA officials and liberals who denounce Bush policies on Guantánamo prisoners (“Obama Faces CIA Appointment Dilemma”; Washington Independent; December 12, 2008), Obama has not appointed anyone to the CIA Director yet (“No One Wants to Be CIA Director Thanks To Bush”; Washington Independent; December 30, 2008).

It is Obama, not America, that has really changed. John McCain was right to soothe his supporters during the campaign that there was nothing to worry if Obama was elected. Now, the 3 year boy is leaning what the President of the United States is. This is an OJT. Will the world test Obama in 6 month as Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden said? In such a case, it is Biden himself who tutors the Boy Obama.

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