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One striking aspect of President Obama’s governance style that I think is going unreported is the, for lack of a better term, establishment-friendly nature of his personnel appointments. We’re being told now that Chuck Hagel is going to be appointed to SecDef. John Kerry for Sec. of State. His VP choice was Joe Biden.
Who are all these guys? Frankly I can’t tell them apart because all I really know about them is that they’re all old white graying-haired Senator types. They are the types of guys whose names you catch randomly over and over from having This Week with David Brinkley on in the background as you play Pharaoh on your computer on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you should be finishing your thesis. Or whatever (you know what I mean).
In other words, they are the ultimate in Generically Boring Politician Guys In Suits. They have name recognition for being multi-term politicians and they won multiple terms due to name recognition. They stuck around and didn’t go away and did absolutely nothing of note in all their time as Generically Boring Politician Guys In Suits.
And Obama has spent his entire Presidency, and even before (i.e. the Biden choice), lavishing oodles and oodles of love upon them. Those are exactly the types of guys Obama seems to want in his Cabinet.
Which is weird. Isn’t it? From the radical background Obama has, and of course the way his critics talk about him, you’d have expected him to be filling his Cabinet full of Malcolm X’s and Che Gueveras and Nat X’s and whatnot. I guess there is Holder, but that’s about the only case where the choice approaches the stereotype.
All his other choices – the Clinton choice too – would seem to fit the description of ‘kissing up to the Establishment’ to a tee. Why would that be?
One possibility is that he just doesn’t care about these departments – defense, state, whatever – thus sees them as favor slots he can spare as handouts to the Establishment to keep them happy. The Holder choice would the be exception, but that’s because Obama actively needs an ideological and loyal AG on his side. He also brought ‘Chicago machine’ type people like Valerie Jarrett with him to do whatever the hell it is that she does exactly. But the other slots keep going to Boring Suits.
It is for this reason then that choices like Hagel and Kerry, in a weird way, actually distress me. If he would appoint some kind of commie ideologue it would perversely be a kind of relief. But appointing a Boring Suit? ‘What’s Obama planning that he thinks requires him to keep trying to assuage the Establishment with these nonstop stupid boring payola appointments?’, the conspiratorial part of my mind thinks.
Maybe that’s just me.
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