|The emerging shape of the Obama administration has some on the left up in arms. The problem: too many Clintonites, from Rahm Emanuel to Eric Holder to, well, Hillary (if she takes the State job.) Well, to those who are going over the edge, I'd say calm down. There are three reasons why Barack Obama's Clinton grabs are a damned good idea:
1. He doesn't want to be George w. Bush. Obama is avoiding the classic mistake made by George W. Bush, who brought with him a cloistered Texas crew that was loyal to him, but not loyal enough to the Constitution, or schooled enough in the ways of Washington to help Bush marshall lasting support on Capitol Hill. In fact, Bush is known both for policy tunnel vision and for having dissed even Republicans on the Hill in pursuit of total, ego-boosting power. Now, when he's down, they're not willing to stand up for him.
2. He wants to get things done. Besides, why bring a gaggle full of Washington newbies to the White House when you can choose experienced hands instead? Obama already signaled that he knows how tough his full agenda will be to get through congress, so he picked Biden, a 26-year Hill vet who knows whose coats to pull to get what the president wants. And by adding people who actually did the damned thing during the 1990s to his staff and Cabinet, he's giving his agenda the best possible chance at succeeding by bringing in people who know the game, know the players, and command instant respect. (The Tom Daschle pick for HHS is the latest example. Who better to push through complex healthcare legislation than a former majority leader with long experience at twisting arms? Once you get back the WTF factor, the Hillary pick is another. Why spend 6 months rolling out a new face at State when you can send someone around the world with 100 percent first-name only name ID? World leaders don't have to "get to know her" as they did with Condi Rice. And her respect level with them will be built in, as will her leverage, which is called Bill Clinton.)
3. He values creative dissonance. The Obama White House will clearly not be filled with yes-men. Obama is assembling a team that is a mix of Chicago-based loyalists, but with exterior ties (Emanel, Holder) and Washington thinkers who can challenge both him, and each other. That will help him avoid some of the tunnel vision that did poor Bush in, once he let his administration be overwhelmed by Cheney and the neocons.
Meanwhile: Big Bill opens up (his records) ...
Labels: government, Obama administration, President Barack Obama, The Clintons, Washington