So far the number of former Clinton staffers on Obama's transition and potential cabinet number just over 30 out of about 50. It appears that folks like Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, and Joe Biden will be leading the revolution for change. When a Conservative attacks these choices, the most common response is that a staff needs those that know their way around the town and the White House itself.
This defense has some logic to it, except it also opens up another problem for President Obama. He railed against the ways of D.C. for nearly two years. He said that he was going to swoop in and change things. He said that judgment was more important than experience. Then, he appointed a bunch of insiders, full of experience, to execute that change. It's all perfectly logical to appoint people that know their way around. Appointing a bunch of novices would likely lead to disaster while they get their feet wet.
Furthermore, who exactly is Barack Obama supposed to pick? In order to be qualified for such a task as Secretary of State, one needs to have plenty of foreign affairs experience. The same goes for most of the cabinet and other staff.
All of this doesn't necessarily expose the weakness of his picks. Rather it points out the absurdity of running on change. Barack Obama wanted to turn the page on the Clinton administration and then turned it by appointing a bunch of veterans of the very administration he wants to turn the page on. The reason that there is a dichotomy here is because the theme of change is an absurd one. It is one that is ironically recycled every four or eight years when cynicism in the current political cycle becomes ripe for such a theme. Politicians have been running on such theme for years. Then, the realities of the office for which they get elected make effecting change impossible.
If you think about it, all of this should have been entirely predictable. Who exactly was President Obama supposed to fill his staff with if not D.C. insiders? Where else would he find anyone with qualifications for most of the cabinets and staff? Furthermore, it only makes sense to pick Clinton veterans since that was the last Democratic administration and by lasting eight years, there is plenty of talent to choose from. The problem is the utter hypocrisy and cynicism of running on a theme of change knowing full well that the "change" would come with a staff full of D.C. insiders.
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