November 19, 2008

a word or two on politics...Obama post-election, etcetera

I got a text from my friend James today and had a brief exchange about the current hullabaloo around Obama's (mostly unconfirmed) cabinet picks. The talking heads, I see, are babbling away about the fact that Holder, Craig, Emanuel are quote old Clinton White House hands, and therefore "not changey" enough. As if there is some sort of betrayal going on here and Obama was going to stack the deck with...well...me and james and liam and quill, and oh hell, a couple of you guys reading this- why not? or perhaps draw from the hidden well of extremely experienced tried and tested political talent in the Democratic party that NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF BEFORE.
reality check. It has come from others and I will simply reiterate. The majority of Dem talent that does not actually serve in the Congress or currently govern a state, and who are not senile, are career people who served (mostly successfully) in Bill Clinton's administration. The pool of top-notch people in any given political party at any given point in time is not anywhere near the infinite depth and breadth that the need-2-talk 24 hrs a day folks seem to be implying with their faux outrage here. Nobody should be surprised at these appointments, and they certainly should not be equated with the tragic early death of the promise of change.
The other options Obama has (and he has shown a willingness to exercise them as well), are basically to siphon Dem talent from the Congress (Biden and quite possibly Hillary in the near future), and from the Dem governors. I'm sure NOW and their like would like to see Janet Napolitano and Claire Mccaskill get a spot in the cabinet, but Obama has to be careful when he pinches this talent, to ensure that Repubs won't jump into the breach and make governing more difficult by fucking up key majorities or near-majorities and replacing deputies in key spots.
With all this said, as I told James, I look for Obama to do his real moving and shaking mainly outside of these traditional core cabinet positions. It is clear from the talent-recruiting initiative going on through the transition team's web presence, that they are throwing the net far and wide. They are bound to get thousands of resumes from young, tech-savvy, innovative talent. My brother, who is a systems engineer, is applying to work in the Office of Urban planning...He is offering the incoming administration his talent to work on issues of technology, web infrastructure and urban development and sustainability. He is just one example of the cornicopia of talent (particularly young talent) that Obama will have to pick from in staffing the offices that he will spearhead to address urgent issues that were ignored under the current Administration. Don't look for the fresh blood in the cabinet folks- look for decentralization of power and important activity to outlying offices- and not evil Bush-Cheney secret prison shit-. JFK authorized some of the most groundbreaking initiatives of his presidency through relatively obscure offices like the presidents initiative on juvenile delinquency which was overseen by RFK and an old friend of his from high school who had previously been only peripherally involved in politics but was interested in addressing the inequity blocking youth in ghettoes from advancement. The peace corps and Americorps both originated outside of the core Cabinet. Obama has already made "spreading power and ownership around"- decentralizing command, re-constituting the traditional hierarchy and allowing the grassroots to initiate when it is most effective- the hallmark of his leadership style. I expect he will continue to do so as President. Filling the cabinet with the people who essentially exist to fill the cabinet is only a prelude. Don't get caught up in this bullshit-hype. Instead, why not go over to Change.gov and apply to work in the administration yourself?

3 comments:

ß. Andrigon said...

In my defense, I hadn't heard anyone on television upset about this, I was just wondering what I had noticed (that everyone seemed to have Clinton experience, culminating in Mrs Clinton herself). Look! They just announced Napolitano for Homeland Security, that's a very exciting & interesting choice.

I was going to post our text messages from work, but you more or less covered the bases & moved beyond with this post. Let it be known, Grainne sometimes send me five-message long texts with political essays while I'm sitting around at a boring job at the hospital.

ß. Andrigon said...

I hope you don't mind, I added photos of two of my hottest Obama-pin wearing friends.

Olaf Mary said...

is that r. pollack, or is it pollak, or some other elusive spelling. what is she doing? can she hook us up with some printing dudes to print some illuminated doggerel nonword sense po'stuff