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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama's Clinton III Is a Recipe for Disaster

Introduction: When choosing a cabinet, there are all sorts of things the President must examine. As such, in many ways pundits like myself that criticize his picks are a bit short sighted. If the folks are able and effective then the cabinet is excellent. That said, the plethora of Clinton retreads that have now filled up his cabinet bring with it a startling amount of red flags. When President Elect Obama began making picks that were weighted toward Clinton veterans, I didn't initially comment. That's because there are so many red flags raised by appointing so many Clintonites that these folks had better be really good staffers. Furthermore, many of the red flags raised should go to questioning their fitness in office.

The first problem begins right away. All former Clinton staffers will be grilled by Republicans during their confirmations about each and every Clinton scandal that they can get their hands on. As I heard about the potential appointment of Eric Holder, I immediately had flashes in my mind of the loop created in the news media between photos of Mark Rich and the snatch and grab of Elian Gonzalez. For the couple days that Holder's nomination will be front page news, it will also be a non stop reminder of two of the biggest eye sores of the Clinton administration. Rather than starting the administration with an image of a fresh, forward looking administration, the Obama administration will immediately be linked, in a news loop, with the worst of the Clinton administration.

Of course, the mother of all confirmation hearings will be that of Hillary Clinton if she is chosen for Secretary of State. Each and every scandal: Whitewater, Travelgate, futures...along with all sorts of seedy new Bill Clinton business dealings will be examined ad nausea. Her confirmation will be nothing short of a painful spectacle. It will be a two to three day summary of the worst of the Bill Clinton era.

The problem with so many former Clinton staffers in the current administration is that there were lots of scandals. All of them will be examined. With the benefit of time, we also have the benefit of nostalgia. The public now remembers the Clinton years as time gone by of peace and prosperity. We so soon forget that by the end the public was really just plain tired of the drama and the scandal. For those several weeks as one former Clinton staffer after another is put in front of the Senate for confirmation, the public will be reminded exactly why they were all so exhausted by the end. We'll be treated to about a three week summary of just about each and every scandal that colored the Clinton administration: travelgate, Chinagate, Monicagate, all those dubious pardons will lead a host of scandals that Republicans will tie former staffers to. The media loves scandal and so they will oblige by once again analyzing the merits of each and every one of them. The Obama administration will immediately be colored with the stink of all of these numerous scandals.

Before President Obama has a chance to begin to make policy, he will immediately tarnish his administration with the stench of the Clinton legacy of corruption and scandal. This tarnish leads directly into the second problem. Is this the change we were promised?

This flurry of new reports comes amidst two pieces of interesting news. The first is that Hillary may not be sold on the job and wants to try her hand at health-care reform again. The other is that in a new Rasmussen report, 33 percent of people polled thought Colin Powell would do the best work at his old job in State (28 percent thought Hillary Clinton would be best). Rasmussen says that "none of the other possible candidates comes even close," including John McCain (17 percent), Al Gore (6 percent), and Richard Lugar (5 percent).

If Hillary Clinton is offered the Cabinet post, she'll be one of many reported Clinton administration retreads working in or with the Obama administration. Eric Holder, a deputy at the Department of Justice during the Clinton administration, was reportedly offered the job of attorney general. Before Rahm Emanuel was congressman, he was a senior advisor in the Clinton White House. He's now Obama'schief of staff. John Podesta, heading up the Obama transition, is Clinton's former chief of staff.

Obama has said he may be looking to create a "team of rivals." But this stack-up of Clinton veterans in the Obama administration has already caused buzz that this may not be what some people were looking for when they voted for change. Buried in that
Rasmussen poll was this nugget: "Despite the support for Clinton to be secretary of state, 70% of voters think Obama should reach out and appoint new people for his Cabinet rather than including more people who served in the Clinton administration."

Again, if everyone is capable it will soon be forgotten, but he will immediately be testing the trust of the voters. Is it really wise to immediately test the good will of the people that voted him into office by picking a cabinet that is the antithesis of the theme he ran on?

What happens if anyone of these folks is then implicated in corruption in the Obama administration? If any of the shenanigans that happened under Clinton happen in the Obama administration, the Republicans will hammer away at that constantly. Any corruption or scandal will be magnified because it could so easily be foreseen given so many folk's ties to the corrupt Clinton administration.

Finally, the role of some of these folks in Clinton scandals should be troubling to Obama perception or not. What happened with Rich pardon was shameful? This fugitive who did business with Iran and Iraq got a pardon that occurred either because of corruption, incompetence or both. Eric Holder was the point man on the pardon. Is President Obama really satisfied with the explanation? Given his role in the pardon, what exactly does that say about his fitness for the office of Attorney General?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He is not picking anybody from nowhere, as he himself has been picked.

Gudrun Eussner, Perpignan/France