Oh boy. President Elect Obama has been looking through not only a lot of Lincoln, but he’s probably on his 25th reading of “The Prince” by Machiavelli. The guy is no shrinking violet, that’s for sure. He’s been quietly making some interesting moves ever since the election, and like a good chess player, he’s setting his opponents up for failure and they don’t even know it.
Let’s look at his first two important decisions: the VP pick of Joe Biden and the Chief of Staff position of Rahm Emmanuel. He’s pretty much surrounded himself with one very straight shooter in Biden who is not afraid to speak his mind, and a pit-bull with a clear focus on pushing through the Obama agenda in Emmanuel. This pretty much leaves two “bad cops” to Obama’s “good cop”; a formidable set of doors to walk through even before you get to the future President. He also has two guys who know how to work either the House (Emmanuel) or the Senate (Biden) for legislative arm-twisting and back room dealing. A brilliant start, if you ask me.
The mostly-leak proof Obama Campaign has moved into Transition Phase very nicely, although there have been some questionable leaks coming from the team in recent days. I refuse to believe that an organization that was that disciplined and controlled for 21 months would suddenly start springing leaks like the Titanic. I can only conclude that there are more trial balloons going up that are starting to clutter the political skies than the Battle Of Britain. NOTHING is by chance in Obamaland. It is a well reasoned, deliberate, and thought out political machine, very much in the mold of the man at the helm. So, while some of the recent announcement/leaks regarding closing Gitmo, repealing Bush Administration policies and the like may have appeared careless at worst and a trial balloon at best…I am convinced those were designed to get the Press caught off guard and away from issues that were really being tacked in that Chicago office building…like a visit from a former political rival, one Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ever so quietly, Senator Clinton went to Chicago on “personal business” yesterday. Quite frankly, I’d call being offered the job of Secretary of State “personal business”, wouldn’t you? No doubt, she is immensly qualified for the position, and this is one time where former experience as a First Lady REALLY does matter. She also has numerous trips overseas made on her own as Senator; and she sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. The sight of a very strong-willed woman at the bargaining table with some Arab leaders is just too much of a priceless image to pass up. Granted, Secretary of State Rice is a woman…but she’s a débutante…and she sure as hell ain’t no Hillary. All any Foreign Head of State has to do is ask Bill. He’ll just tell them to make sure they duck around flying lamps.
Speaking of Bill…he may be the one thing stopping her from taking the job. From what I’ve been reading, the job application for a position in the Obama Administration is rather invasive and even asks whether or not you prefer boxers or briefs, Count Chocula or Frankenberry, and Ginger or Maryann? Well, I believe Bill answered that he prefers briefs on an MTV interview in 1992, I’m sure he would take both Ginger AND Maryann, and he seems like a Count Chocula kind of guy. Unfortunately, The Clinton Foundation would then come under very intense scrutiny…and that might be more than Excedrin Headache Number 236 for the Obama Administration. It might be a bit interesting if the Secretary of State of The United States is visiting a country where hubby does business or wants to do business.
For Obama, this is very much a win-win all the way around. If he’s offered her the job and declines, at least her offered it to the most qualified person out there (which I believe she and Bill Richardson are right now) and was a very nice payback to HRC for helping in the campaign. If she accepts, there is less of a risk of being second-guessed by a political rival in The Senate should things not be going to well in the coming years. It also keeps her very close in his orbit, and almost guarantees her loyalty. It could also be an extensive launching pad for her should Obama win a Second Term and she decides to take the plunge again in 2016. This is nothing but a BRILLIANT move on Obama’s part; it couldn’t have been scripted better by The Master himself.
More moves are coming. Obama is supposed to have a sit down with McCain (and his trusty boy wonder, Lindsay Graham as well as Rahmbo for Team Obama) on Monday. The way things are going, he might just offer McCain Secretary of Defense…and you know, that’s not such a bad idea. Obama wouldn’t get a “yes” man (which he appears to not want to have around him), he’s eminently qualified, it would make McCain achieve a higher status than either his father or grandfather ever did, and it would heal a lot of wounds from the campaign. This White House is starting to resemble Lincoln’s with each passing day, and that’s a damned good thing. Perhaps we can all sit down as Americans for once to get things done for this country and the world without having to resort to the usual political rancor.
I did read one interesting thing that Obama is asking of his cabinet members: to sign a loyalty oath…to the Chicago White Sox.
“A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.” – Niccolo Machiavelli