26 Nov 2008

“Obama Appointments Demonstrate His Inexperience”

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Dick Morris still bears a major animus toward the Clintons as the result of his inglorious and involuntary departure from Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign (in connection with an indiscretion on Morris’s part involving a prostitute), so he is not at all pleased to see Obama cozying up to the Clintons and loading up his administration with former Clinton staffers. Good vituperation.

Having upended the Democratic Party, largely over his different views on foreign policy and the war in Iraq, he now turns to the leader of the ancient regime he ousted, derided, mocked, and criticized to take over the top international-affairs position in his administration.

No longer, apparently, does he distrust Hillary’s “judgment,” as he did during the debates when he denounced her vote on the Iraq war resolution. Now, all is forgiven. After everything Obama says he stood for, the only change he apparently truly believes in is a fait accompli.

Apart from the breathtaking cynicism of the appointment lies the total lack of foreign-policy experience in the new partnership. Neither Clinton nor Obama has spent five minutes conducting any aspect of foreign policy in the past.

Neither has ever negotiated anything or dealt with diplomatic issues. It is the blonde leading the blind.

And then there is the question of whether we want a secretary of state who is compromised, in advance, by her husband’s dealings with repressive regimes in Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Dubai, the U.A.E., Morocco, and governments about which we know nothing.

These foreign leaders have paid the Clinton family millions of dollars — directly and through the Clintons’ library and/or foundation — funds they can and have used as personal income.

How do we know that she can conduct foreign policy independently even if it means biting those who have fed her and her husband? But the most galling aspect of the appointment is that it puts Obama in the midst of an administration that, while he appointed it, is not his own.

Rather, he has now created a government staffed by Clinton people, headed by Clinton appointees, and dominated by Hillary herself. He has willingly created the same untenable situation as that into which Lyndon Johnson stepped when JFK was assassinated in 1963.

Johnson inherited a Cabinet wholly staffed by Kennedy intimates with Bobby himself as attorney general.

LBJ had no choice and had to spend two years making the government his own. But Obama had all the options in the world and chose to fence himself in by appointing Hillary as secretary of state, Clinton Cabinet member Bill Richardson for Commerce, Clinton staffer Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, Clinton buddy (and top lobbyist) Tom Daschle to HHS, and Bill’s deputy attorney general, Eric Holder, to Justice. …

Not since William Jennings Bryan in the 1910s have we had a defeated nominee named as secretary. Obama will not be able to control Hillary nor will he be able to control his own administration with Emanuel as chief of staff. He will find that his appointees will march to the beat of their own drummer — if he is lucky — and Hillary’s if he is not.

Either Obama has chosen to put himself in this untenable situation because he is not wise in the ways of Washington or because he plans to be little more than a figurehead. Given his campaign, neither seems likely. But his promise of change has proven so bankrupt that maybe the rest of his candidacy is too.


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