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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama's White House- As The Stomach Churns

I so wanted John McCain to win the election, no doubt about it, but the bright side of his losing and Barack Obama winning, yes folks, I always can find a silver lining, is watching the far left have a cow over Obama's decisions, even before he has taken office.

I am learning that there is something to be said for a good old fashioned soap opera.

I am naming this one, "Obama's White House- As The Stomach Churns," and it is going to be a four year series.

The other day I pointed out how some members of the left were already expressing that are prepared to "go to war" with Obama before he takes office, because of his choices.

The cast is Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, people Obama is choosing for his cabinet and top positions, and of course the far far left of the Democratic party. We will throw in Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the far left political players of the Democratic party as well, because there is no doubt that they will be extras in this soap opera.

The Independent gives us a list of who has been confirmed picks for Obama as of now:

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle, 60, former Senate Democratic leader

Senior adviser: David Axelrod, 53, Obama's campaign strategist

Senior adviser: Valerie Jarrett, 52, Chicago business-woman

White House counsel: Greg Craig, 63, former counsel to Bill Clinton

Chief of staff: Rahm Emanuel, 49, Political director under Bill Clinton

Political director: Patrick Gaspard, 41, a New York labour official

White House press secretary: Robert Gibbs, 37, political consultant

Vice President's chief of staff: Ron Klain, 31, former chief of staff of vice president Al Gore

Then it goes on to those that have been confirmed by sources but have not been formally announced as of yet, or still need to be vetted.

Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton, 61

Treasury Secretary: Timothy Geithner, 47

National Security Adviser: James Jones, 64

Attorney General: Eric Holder, 57

Head of Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano, 50

Commerce Department Secretary: Bill Richardson, 61

Stage is set, actors are cast and reactions from the far left are coming in about the names available already.

Part one of As The Stomach Churns will deal with Hillary Clinton, because Clinton and Obama will definitely be the lead players in As The Stomach Churns, we see that there were a few conditions set by Clinton before she would agree to accept the position of Secretary of State.

The first sign of friction in the Obama camp as Mrs Clinton demands - and gets - a purge of her critics before accepting Secretary of State role.

The advisers who helped trash the former First Lady's foreign policy credentials on the campaign trail are being brutally shunted aside, as the price of her accepting the job of being the public face of America to the world. In negotiations with Mr Obama this week before agreeing to take the job, she demanded and received assurances that she alone should appoint staff to the State Department. She also got assurances that she will have direct access to the President and will not have to go through his foreign policy advisers on the National Security Council, which is where many of her critics in the Obama team are expected to end up.

From the Telegraph we see the choice of Clinton is not going over very well with the far far left of the party and some unnamed Obama aides and courtesy of the Washington Post, the Clinton choice has some in the Arab world "worried."

The aides on Hillary Clinton:

But when they met on Wednesday they agreed on one thing: "He's making a mistake." As one of the participants told a friend later that night: "She'll do a good job but she'll do it for herself, not for Barack. I can't bear the drama again."

She, of course, is Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, figurehead of Democratic women, presidential candidate with 18 million votes and now would-be Secretary of State.


"They can't help themselves," the Obama aide told his friend, a fellow Democrat strategist. "Every event is a potential ladder up or a bullet to be dodged. They're positioning and spinning all the time. They lost. Now we seem to be handing them the farm."

Most shocking to Mr Obama's team is the loss of discipline and control that they have experienced since coming to Washington.

The President-elect's campaign was tightly controlled, with very few uncoordinated leaks. The candidate was known as "No Drama Obama." David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief of the left of centre magazine Mother Jones, summed up the problem: "The presidential transition of no-drama Obama became infected by the never-ending soap opera of the Clintons. And it really is time to turn that programme off."

The Washington Post columnist and Clinton sceptic, David Ignatius, added: "The idea of subcontracting foreign policy to Clinton, a big, hungry, needy ego surrounded by a team that's hungrier and needier still, strikes me as a mistake of potentially enormous proportions." It is a view that many around the President-elect now share.


Steven Clemons, senior fellow at the left-leaning think tank the New America Foundation, summed up their dilemma: "This rock star President-elect may either be confused, deluded and self-destructive in sculpting a team that has a high probability of paralysing itself in vicious internal skirmishes - or he may just be brilliant, really, really brilliant."

What is certain is that Hillary Clinton is here to stay - and it won't be dull.

The far left on Hillary Clinton:

From the other Telegraph article (linked above) we see some reactions about Hillary Clinton being chosen as Secretary of State

Chris Bowers of the influential blog complained: "That is, over all, a centre-right foreign policy team. I feel incredibly frustrated. Progressives are being entirely left out of Obama's major appointments so far."

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos site, the in-house talking shop for the anti-war Left, warned that Democrats risk sounding "tone deaf" to the views of "the American electorate that voted in overwhelming numbers for change from the discredited Bush policies."

Other reactions to the Clinton pick found on liberal blogs:

Huffington Post, writer Mark Joseph:

Why would Obama want to tarnish his brand new administration with the Clinton soap opera of Monica, Whitewater, Vince Foster, Marc Rich and company when he could start fresh with an entirely new team? And why would he want a mortal enemy like Hillary who is probably at this very moment plotting her comeback strategy for 2012, inside his administration, leaking to the press and undermining him? I thought he put the Clintons away for good. He seems too smart to do something like this.

Also via Huffington Post we see Christopher Hitchens appeared on "Hardball" calling the choice of Clinton a "Ludicrous Embarrassment." (Video at the link)

The Washington Independent questions whether Clinton will fill those positions under her, as Secretary of State with loyalists.

Let is be said here that the more moderate liberals, which I always separate from the far far left liberals, do not seem to be having the same problem with the Obama choice of Clinton for the Secretary of State job and are not reacting as strongly as the media and far left pundits are.

The reactions across the blogosphere and in the media to the remaining names on the list given above of the Obama picks which are confirmed and/or not formally announced yet, will be shown in part two of "Obama's White House- As The Stomach Churns."

For now I will leave you with a quote from EmptyWheel:

When it comes to the netroots, Barack Obama has the long arm-short arm syndrome. He has taken much from us in terms of support, voice, momentum, money, footwork and energy. Obama has given little, if anything, in return to the netroots. Unless you count disdain and scorn. And pokes in the eye with a blunt stick.

All future "As The Stomach Churns" pieces can be found here.