CAN YOU HEAR the grumbling over in what Howard Dean used to call "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party?" The tolerance-and-diversity crowd is upset with Barack Obama; it seems the president-elect has been bringing people into his circle who don't agree with them on every single issue.
President-elect Barack Obama introduces his national security team on Dec. 1. Nominees L to R: Eric Holder (Attorney General), Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (Secretary of Homeland Security), US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who is to continue in his position, Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State), retired US Marine Gen. James Jones (National Security Adviser), and Susan Rice (ambassador to the UN).
The consternation on the left began with the naming of Obama's national security team -- Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Robert Gates to continue as secretary of defense, and retired four-star General James Jones as national security adviser. "Barack Obama's Kettle of Hawks," they were promptly dubbed in the Guardian by the left-wing journalist Jeremy Scahill, "with a proven track record of support for the Iraq war [and] militaristic interventionism." How could Obama possibly keep his campaign promise "to end the mindset that got us into war," asked The Nation, when none of his top foreign policy/national security picks had opposed the war?
There was even more distress in progressive precincts after Obama's economic team was announced. Lawrence Summers, who will chair the National Economic Council, "opposed regulating the newfangled financial instruments that greased the way to the subprime meltdown," wrote David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine, in a column for the Washington Post. Obama's choice for Treasury secretary, New York Fed president Timothy Geithner, "helped oversee the financial system as it collapsed." Both of them, lamented Corn, are close to Robert Rubin, "a director of bailed-out Citigroup and a poster boy for . . . Big Finance." In the plaintive title of Corn's essay, "This Wasn't Quite the Change We Pictured."
Add to those the passel of former Clinton operatives who have returned to play key roles in the Obama transition, including Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, and Greg Craig, and Obama Girl herself could be forgiven for feeling disillusioned. Whatever happened to the fresh, progressive candidate who promised an escape from Clinton-era Democratic politics?
As if all that weren't enough to give a fervent liberal agita, Obama has asked the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. From many on the left, where Warren's staunch opposition to same-sex marriage is reason enough to loathe him, responses have ranged from dismay to fury. Barney Frank labeled the pastor's views "very offensive" and pronounced himself "very disappointed" that Obama would invite him. The blog Liberal Rapture was more pungent: "Obama throws another middle finger to liberals." ...
Still, Obama is hardly in danger of turning into anything resembling a right-winger. With his trillion-dollar "stimulus" proposal, he is inviting comparisons to FDR. And with committed liberals like Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services secretary, Carol Browner as energy czar, and Eric Holder as attorney general, the Obama administration is never going to be accused of harboring Republican tendencies.
Whichever way you look at it, Obama sure is a champion con-man. Amusing that it seems to be mainly the Leftist big-shots that he has conned, however. Like other psychopaths -- such as Bill Clinton -- Obama believes in nothing other than what will benefit him personally. And he rightly perceives that if he wants a second term, he has to be a centrist. There is an article here which argues that centrism is the rule of politics. I can remember only as far back as Ike but as far as I can see, with one exception, all American presidents have been centrists -- the exception being, of course, Ronald Reagan. But as Nancy once said: "When they made Ronnie, they broke the mould". Ronnie actually moved the centre for a while but it has drifted back
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here