Obama cabinet looks like status quo

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By Robert E. Beckner

In taking a look at our president-elect’s appointments you are first struck by all the familiar names, so many of them old-time President Bill Clinton cronies and recycled Washington insiders. You wonder if the president-elect’s transition committee just couldn’t find anyone who isn’t a beltway has-been.

The man who is supposed to be sworn in as our president on Jan. 20, 2009, ran his campaign on an emphatic and convincing commitment to change the culture of Washington, and to bring in new people, new ideas and new ways of doing business. So far he appears to be practicing the politics of status quo, not the politics of change. Just like Jimmy Carter, who also ran as an outsider, he has reached out to the same old folks who dominate the Democratic Party and who represent the status quo.

I’ll name just a few who worked for Bill Clinton; I have all their pedigrees but a lack of space prevents them here. They would be John Podesta, Carol Browne, Tom Downey, Frederico Pena, Bill Daley, Michael Froman, Stephanie Cutter, Christopher Edley, Christin Varney, and the worst, Rahm Emanuel.

I’ve saved the secretary of state until last because she’s special. You have to give her the key qualities she has. She is a serious person, smart, tough, cunning and hard-working but she doesn’t come with clean hands, having been involved in all kinds of actions over the eight years as Bill Clinton’s wife.

We won’t attempt to go into many here, but we all remember her national health care fiasco; her claim of dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, which she later admitted was wrong; then how she played an important role in the Irish peace process, which turned out to also be one of her fantasies. The worst thing is she has absolutely no foreign policy credentials, unless you want to count the 80 countries she visited as Bill’s wife. She usually just toured hospitals and schools while Bill met with diplomats. Hillary never even had national security clearance in the Clinton White House.

The president-elect has no experience in foreign affairs himself and as such needed a seasoned partner, that was the reason he gave for choosing Joe Biden as his vice president – the one with 30-plus years of foreign affairs – even knowing “foot in his mouth Biden” and the fact he is a member of the Council on Foreign Affairs (CFR) and is a lover of the “new world order.” In 1992 Biden wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, “How I learned to love the new world order.”

So our next president will be getting advice from Biden and another CFR member, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who also is a founding director of the Trilateral Commission, supporters of the world government. This new government of ours will have approximately 500 high level CFR members, about the same as our current government and Clinton’s, joining all administrations as far back to New Deal’s Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Don’t you think Biden and Hillary are going to cross swords over who is in charge of foreign policy? Hillary is going to set out her own foreign policy, probably regardless of what our new president wants. She wants to be president ASAP and she will let no one or anything get in her way.

Anyone who follows politics knows that Condoleezza Rice often didn’t follow President Bush’s ideas. She was accused of sabotage in this regard, and it just may be Hillary’s plan to make the president look stupid using every chance she gets.

Looking at it from the president’s side, being intelligent and having, we hope, many wise advisors, the reason he asked her to take the state job was, first, he could keep an eye on her and Bill Clinton; second he will send her out of the country as often as possible, keeping as much damage that she could cause out of the country and out of the news. Being on the go would lessen her publicity and if she gets really out of control, he’ll just fire her. This would show the world she couldn’t handle the state job, much less the president’s job, when and if she tries again for the president’s job in 2012.

The question will exist for some time as to whether it’s a good idea to put your team together from former rivals, such as other incoming presidents tried with sorry results. They all have big egos and it’s well known the Democratic Party’s top brass really wanted Hillary to be the presidential nominee, not the one they got.

Then you have the tricky relationship of the president-elect and the Clintons. Michele has never veiled her venom for Hillary, especially during the primaries (www.Politico.com says it’s just the latest phase in the ruling class soap opera between the two families). When the candidate for the president’s job promised to help Hillary to reduce the $20 million debt she loaned her campaign, he made the promise if she would get out of the race – she did so and to date he hasn’t come up with a dime, despite his ability to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. There are other reasons but it all comes down to basically three levels to their schizoid relationship. It is warm on personal matters, warmer on political ones and downright frosty on Hillary’s mountainous campaign debt, through workers and friends, now have it down to $7.9 million.

Then the new president will have to worry about an out-of- control Bill Clinton. No one knows what he’s really been up to, and with whom, for the past eight years. Through a faulty computer, it showed up that Bill has been freelancing with foreign governments to raise money for his cronies, his foundation, his library, plus speaking fees for himself.

This involves a serious conflict of interest. It came out that his funds were coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, the U.A.E., Kuwait and Morocco – all had chipped in to the sum of $100 million plus. All these countries have strong interests in U.S. foreign policy decisions. Unless he is somehow controlled, you can see where we would be with the Clintons’ holding strong strings and ability to control foreign affairs.

From someone who has written quite a bit about our president-elect, I just hope he cannot put into practice for whatever reasons, all that he promised. I sincerely hope that I’ve been wrong for the good of the country.

Time will tell.

Robert E. Beckner lives in Majestic Oaks with his wife, Sarah. He is a retired private investigator and insurance adjuster. He has also been a photographer and served with the Military Police in the Marine Corps.