November 22, 2008 1 Comment
It’s never too early to start launching stupid criticisms at the incoming President, and surely Obama will be no exception. The one that’s been brewing for the past week is that Obama’s staff and appointments have too many “Clinton-era” people, or “Clintonites”, and that this somehow contradicts his promise of “change”.
First of all, just who in the heck from the civil service/bureaucracy/think tank world is Barack Obama, (D), supposed to bring into his administration that wouldn’t have been a “Clintonite” up through 2000? Someone under age 26, I suppose? Let’s just file this under Not A Real Criticism.
The deeper issue though, I suppose, is the idea that having lots of Clinton-era staffers somehow contradicts the promise of “change”. This is the sort of criticism that says more about the critic than about the target. Obama’s promises of “change” never connoted that he’d have a staff with no Clinton connections. For that matter, Obama’s promises of “change” never connoted anything whatsoever; they were completely and totally vague and undefined. This was a very good electoral strategy, of course – it worked.
But one of the ways it worked was that it allowed naive/incredulous people to project their own hopes/wishes onto the candidate and invent all sorts of fantasies for themselves regarding what “change” did or didn’t mean. For some people, it meant fantasizing they wouldn’t have to pay their mortgages or for gasoline. For others, I guess that meant fantasizing that Obama would bring in a staff made up of like, oh I don’t know, college kids and the Beastie Boys. And I’m afraid those are the people now feeling burned by the mundane/blah/Washingtonian nature of Obama’s appointments thus far; “hey! you promised change!” Well yeah, but that doesn’t mean you can just make up in your head what “change” means and then whine that Obama’s actions don’t match your fever-dream.
Not a real criticism. And believe me, I’ll be on the lookout for real criticisms of President Obama the next 8 years, and when I see one I’ll probably be among the first to come down with a roiling case of ODS. But this ain’t one.
By the way, I will say I’m thrilled by the leak of Obama’s latest Cabinet pick – Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary. Of course, that’s not saying much, cuz I don’t really know anything about Geithner; in my opinion Obama’s Treasury Secretary choice only had one real hurdle to clear: He had to not be Hank Paulson.