The Raptor Talks Obama's Forming Cabinent

Last week Stevie requested I write something about Obama's presidential cabinet. A little strange since I was chided by her and others for becoming all consumed with politics before the election, but I appreciate the interest all the same. Honestly I've taken a few steps back from politics since Obama's election and am not as knowledgeable as I once was. The Windy City Raptor, however, is all over this stuff like white on rice (or stink on a monkey). So I lobbed the request for commentary over to Brandon. In between grading papers (he's a T.A.) and Christmas tree shopping, he got me the following bit of wonkery.

As of this week, President-elect Obama selected many of the leading nominees for his cabinet. Obama assigned the top spots in national security, defense, homeland security, foreign policy, economic policy, health, and in the justice department. While the nod to several candidates was rumored long before any official statements, the Obama camp showcased most individuals in press conferences with significant and justified media attention. So far, there have been few attacks over likely cabinet members and the president-elect faces almost no hurdles in the appointment process. Thus far--like his presidential campaign--it remains a disciplined operation. The nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder, generated some controversy due to his role in Bill Clinton's pardoning of Mark Rich, but not in any meaningful way to derail his appointment.

So what does this say about the tenor of the Obama cabinet thus far? All seem to be well-qualified individuals the president can rely upon to implement his agenda and none of them appear to be firebrand ideologues. On the contrary, each person's statements thus far evokes pragmatism, an acceptance of our weakened international capital, and the perils of a shaky domestic economy. But will Hillary run aground and bristle under Obama's leadership, as some pundits claim? Based on her actions this fall on the presidential campaign trail, it seems unlikely that she'll try to upstage the president. She most certainly knows history is against her: since William McKinley's election in 1896 (one of the years when the contemporary US began), no secretary of state has moved into serious contention for the presidency.

The country faces nearly unprecedented dilemmas, and Obama's cabinet picks will hopefully embrace the urgency of now and the dire straits we've found ourselves in after eight sluggish years. As with every cabinet in presidential history, however, there will be hiccups, accusations, and attacks along the way. But from where we stand today, he's running an effective transition and supporting candidates who should assist the president in restoring the US' global standing and competitive edge.

He also added...

Since it was announced yesterday, I'm glad to hear that General Eric Shinseki has been tapped to lead the VA. Shinseki, as you might recall, opposed the administration's plans to use less troops in Iraq and to have war on the cheap. He did so publicly in front of the Armed Services Committee, and he paid the price for his insubordination by being forced out. He seems to be a sharp leader who can hopefully repair the tattered VA system. I'm wondering how Shinseki feels about the Webb GI bill, which I hope passes. In many ways, you can tell much about a society in how it treats its veterans. But that's a point unrelated to anything at hand.

Yes, Shinseki's nomination says so much about the different tone of the incoming administration.
For more current events and political coverage and opinion check out Windy City Raptor.

Thanks Brandon!


Stevie said...

Thanks, Brandon! It turns out i still don't "get" current politics, but I'm reading your blog now so hopefully I will improve. I can't wait til you move back to town.

Tim, don't fuck with me. I have to know stuff so I can chide you with confidence. Hippie.

I appreciate the informative blog nonetheless.