Obama’s false promise of change

President-elect Barack Obama promised the voters change but has started his Cabinet selection process by naming several Washington insiders to top posts.

Obama is enlisting former Senate leader Tom Daschle as his health secretary. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a well-known Washington personality, seemed more likely than ever to be his secretary of state. Clinton is deciding whether to take that post as America’s top diplomat, her associates said Wednesday

Obama is ready to announce that his attorney general will be Eric Holder, the Justice Department’s No. 2 when Clinton’s husband was president. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, is another veteran of the Clinton White House.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is Obama’s primary choice to be secretary of the Homeland Security Department, several news organizations reported Thursday. The New York Times, citing Democrats with knowledge of the process, said Napolitano was about to be offered the job. The Washington Post also reported that she was Obama’s choice.

Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, who was national finance chairman for Obama’s presidential campaign, is his leading choice for commerce secretary, the Times reported. The newspaper said Pritzker was in the final stages of vetting by Obama’s transition team.

Daschle’s selection to head the Health and Human Services Department — confirmed Wednesday but not yet announced — isn’t at the same level of Cabinet prestige as the top spots at the State and Justice departments. But the health post could be more important in an Obama administration than in some others, making Daschle a key player in helping steer the president-elect’s promised health care reforms.

Daschle could push Obama for quick action on health care reform next year, if he follows his own advice.

Daschle said efforts during the Clinton administration, led by Hillary Clinton, took too long and went into too much detail, giving every interest group an opportunity to find something they didn’t like about the plan.

"The next president should act immediately to capitalize on the goodwill that greets any incoming administration. If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it," Daschle wrote in a book he released this year, "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis." "This issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol."

The former South Dakota senator’s return to the government will be a vindication of sorts. He was the Senate Democratic leader when he was defeated in 2004 by Republican John Thune, who convinced voters back home that Daschle was more concerned with Washington than with them.

In fact, Daschle stayed in the capital city after his defeat, becoming a public policy adviser and member of the legislative and public policy group at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle isn’t registered as a lobbyist. He advises clients on issues including health care, financial services, taxes and trade, according to the firm’s Web site.

Health care interests, including CVS Caremark, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Abbott Laboratories and HealthSouth, are among the firm’s lobbying clients.

Daschle’s appointment was not formally announced, but Democratic officials said the job was his barring an unforeseen problem as Obama’s team reviews his background. One area of review will include the lobbying connections of his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, who has worked mostly on behalf of airline-related companies over the years. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Republicans sniped at what they saw as an unwelcome trend. Alex Conant, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said, "Barack Obama is filling his administration with longtime Washington insiders."


  1. remoran

    “Never stop questioning.” Einstein

    I totally agree. Smooth talking guy without gravitas. If my industry (tech) was run like the way Washington is run, there would be no technology, nada, nothing. I fear this guy is an empty suit run by banks and corporations or, as the Who would say. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    Any questions?

  2. woody188

    I watched Belichick with Bernie Kosar in Cleveland. It’s painful memories. I’d bet that is why your friend doesn’t like him.

    I wish Obama had played for Cleveland back then so I’d have a reference now. We just don’t know exactly what is coming now, and the wait is just killing us!

    Will it be change Obama, or will it be mending fences, status-quo Obama. He supports bail-outs. He publicly decries NAFTA but told the Canadian’s not to worry, that there are no plans to change it, but increase trade instead.

    Are we leaving Iraq?
    Are we building up Afghanistan?
    Will the torture continue?
    Will Gitmo be closed?
    Will the spying continue?
    Can we restore the Constitution?
    Are we pressing kids into mandatory service roles?

    Very exciting time to be alive.

  3. jwritesel

    The man is not even in office yet. Besides I am more worried about the late “changes” Bush and his cronies are making and the mass blanket pardons he seems intent on passing out that are most likely going to cause a Constitutional crises. I guess Bush already figures he is going down as the worst ever, so why not leave a legacy of nastiness that we the people will not soon forget and in some cases forgive.

  4. Ardie

    I look at change differently. I look at the change that President-elect Obama proposes as getting rid of free markets (a euphemism for economic lawlessness) and free-trade, i.e., offshoring and labor arbitraging. This will be a very important change because without the elimination of the prevailing Republican economic theory we are going slide into a a horrible depression much like in 1929-33 to 1937-38. In order to bring about this kind of change Obama needs people who know how to work Congress and can stop Republican resistance.

  5. GovtFlu

    “fresh, incompetent faces in key positions so nothing would get done”

    Seriously, what is that but supposition and future telling?

    You mean to tell me there is not a single DC outsider with fresh ideas, a non stale party hack, in the entire United States that could perform these functions? that ONLY corporate owned party loyalist / DC insiders are truly qualified? Aren’t these the same douche nozzle political lackeys that have been involved in BOTH parties being responsible for this country circling the drain?

    This dude promised change, bowing to the party by rewarding predictable, stale partisan loyalist re-treads is exactly what McCain would be doing. Then again both parties are chronic failures unworthy of public trust.

    Congress / Jefe Bushs approval ratings are an indication that a lot of people expected this guy to flush the DC toilet, not try to polish old DC insider turds into some sparkling “change”.

  6. Baal

    I agree with Bart…

    “This shit pisses me off.

    Obama has four choices. He can hire
    Experienced Democrats from Clinton’s 90s,
    Experienced Democrats from Carter’s 70s,
    Experienced Democrats from the LBJ 60s,
    Inexperienced Democrats who mean well.

    This is pure Clinton hatred – nothing else.
    Don’t like Obama’s choices?

  7. spartacus

    Perhaps you were hoping he’d install fresh, incompetent faces in key positions so nothing would get done and the agenda he set for himself and this nation would indeed be doomed to failure.

    It seems he’s much too smart to let that happen, which, I suppose, must disappoint you, or you wouldn’t be bellyaching about his choices now.

    Since these people will be carrying out President Obama’s agenda, and he needs Washington savvy people to get that done, not new, clueless ones, then I’d say he’s well on his way to producing the change we voted for.

    Obviously he learned a lesson of what NOT TO DO from Jimmy Carter’s administration by hiring people who know the ropes well enough to push things through, and he’s hiring some of the brightest and the best, which is what I’d expect from Barack Obama.

    You would think that people would have realized by now that this President is smart enough to get things done. and is not the wet behind the ears individual they tried to paint him as.

    I suppose his detractors were too used to Cheney’s puppet.

  8. Malibu

    Why am I worried about President Elect Obama making the biggest mistake of his life bringing in the Clintons?

    It seems to be that they represent everything Obama is not. Hell, he has his crown, why does he need the Clintons?

    Malcolm, in wonderment

  9. knockknock

    Remember the “good” old days when we didn’t give a d**n who got what?

    Obama has revived the people’s interest in government, even if the downside is, at this point, mostly supposition.

    We don’t yet know who’ll get what until Obama announces the news.

    Like judithk6 says, “chill!”

    On the other hand, controversy is good for a publication so keep it up. 🙂

  10. judithk6

    It seems to me that President-Elect Obama is picking the best and the brightest. The best way to judge those people is on past experience.

    It’s not as if he can just crochet a cabinet from fantasy yarn. I think he’s choosing the smartest and most competent among ’em. Isn’t that what Kennedy did?


    just my 2¢

  11. toggle

    I have a buddy who is a Patriots fan but who, for reasons I cannot figure out, despises Bill Belichick. Every call, every play, every risk is a monumental mental error that will eventually lead the Patriots to certain doom . . . unless it works, and then it was dumb, blind luck, with a lot of “psh” sounds and eye rolling.

    The Patriots had an undefeated season, but lost the Super Bowl, so the season was worthless, Belichick is worthless, the guy should be fired, yadda yadda yadda.

    Even if the Patriots had won last season, there would have been something Belichick could have done better, that sweatshirt-wearing bastard.

    Obama seems to be facing that same kind of irrational railing. I’ve heard people saying they’re disappointed. Disappointed in what? He hasn’t done anything yet besides hold a few press conferences and pick some cabinet members.

    The man promised us change, and so far, I see him making changes. The cabinet members he has picked are by and large Clinton-era veterans, ok, he’s a Democrat. The Clinton administration was generally viewed by Democrats as a successful administration. So what were we expecting? Mitt Romney? Ralph Nader? Bill Ayers? Sarah Palin?

    I mean, come on, let the guy play a few games before we bring out the torches.