Obama's Cabinet Choices Are Shut the Fuck Up:
Here's a few quotes from the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001 regarding the choice of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense by the newly-appointed President-elect George W. Bush:
"He is an enormously impressive guy, and I think Governor Bush is very lucky to get him to be Defense secretary again." - Fred Barnes on Fox "news," December 31, 2000
"I think it's a very good pick; and I think I'd rather see him than some businessman come in who you'd have to show the way to the restrooms in the Pentagon." - Bob Novak on CNN, December 28, 2000
Rumsfeld is a conservative "on SDI, but very much a moderate on other issues, I think. Rumsfeld is no right winger." - Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, January 3, 2001
"I think it's an excellent choice. I think Don Rumsfeld is a very talented and successful individual and I think it says that President-elect Bush is willing to have strong-willed, able people around him." - James Woolsey on PBS's The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, December 28, 2000
This list could go on with the rogues' gallery of fucktardery:
Ken Adelman in the Washington Times, December 29, 2000: Rummy "is a wonderful strategic thinker and a very determined individual with great managerial skills but who also knows and cares about key national-security issues."
Henry Kissinger, Wash Times, December 30, 2000: "I don't know anybody who has a similar range of experience - White House chief of staff, NATO ambassador, secretary of defense, chairman of the ballistic-missile threat commission, CEO of major American corporations. To find someone with these qualifications who also favors missile defense and knows strategic issues - it's almost impossible. It's the best choice (Mr. Bush) could have made."
Etcetera. You'll find people talking about how immensely qualified Rumsfeld was, how moderate he was, how experienced he was. And, umm, how did that work out?
There's a few points one could make here: about the fallacy of the long resume', about the stupidity of overanalyzing cabinet picks, about how you shall only know a person by his or her actions.
But let's just say this as Barack Obama introduces his national security team and people huff and puff about whether they're hawks or not progressive enough or problem children or disappointing or what the fuck ever: Ultimately, the cabinet does the bidding of the president. Sure, they offer ideas and guide the departments. But they are policy implementers. Nothing less and nothing more. You have to be willing to go along with the boss to do the job, or you don't take it. And it's all a political game. If we know anything at all about Barack Obama, it's that he's one crafty motherfucker in the realm of politics.
If you wanted to, say, change the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our strategic relationships around the globe, who's gonna do it without pissing people off? Secretary of Defense Dennis Kucinich? Fuck no. You get the guys and gals who were proponents of the war in at least some way or have cozy goddamn Capitol Hill relationships. If the great and glorious David Petraeus and the shiny Robert Gates are saying, "Bring the troops home," then you've defused your enemies. It ain't Clintonian triangulation, which involved embracing a watered-down version of your opponents' beliefs. It's just fuckin' smart. The same goes for economic policy and it will go for domestic.
Yeah, if Obama lets his hawks run the place and make him break his promises, then we can squawk. But for now, can we just take a breath and see how it all works out?