What’s Left – Trapped in the Cabinet

Editors’ Note: Because of the broadened interest in “What’s Left” and “Being Right,” The Maroon-News has decided to open up authorship of the political columns to new writers, though the original writers will still participate. For this issue, the last issue of the semester, the editors-in-chief present opposing viewpoints on President-elect Obama’s recent cabinet appointments. The editors-in-chief wrote together to jump start the new format, which we hope will allow for a greater diversity of viewpoints.

As the red, white and blue buntings fold into bins in the attic and the political tees go on clearance, the next fabulous spectacle for us citizen/sports fans is the cabinet nomination round.

The cabinet is our national chance to put the specialists in power-you don’t have to be an expert in anything except politicking in order to become president, and even then, you might just get lucky. The president doesn’t need to know anything about education, economics, war, peace or intelligence-the cabinet, however, does.

Judging by the criteria of the experts getting the positions where they have expertise, Obama’s cabinet nominations thus far mostly inspire confidence. There are, however, a few that are cause for mild alarm.

First, the good guys: Timothy Geithner, the nominee for United States Secretary of the Treasury, has had extensive experience in both foreign relations and financial management, having spent a decade in the International Affairs division of the Treasury Department and still mopre time abroad and as president of New York’s federal reserve. Eric Holder was formerly the deputy attorney general. He is now nominated for the position of attorney general. I am smiling. Current Defense Secretary Robery Gates has been nominated to reprise his position under Obama. Ok-he obviously fits the “expertise” criteria, and what’s more, he has only been in office since the end of 2006, so he can’t be held responsible for the military bumbles of the first Bush term. Retired Marine General James Logan Jones, Jr., the nominee for National Security Advisor, not only has expertise in keeping our nation secure through his 40 years as a Marine, but has served as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe-good news for those of us who believe in the new liberal world order! The nominee for National Economic Council Director is Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury Secretary, and Obama’s pick for Office of Management and Budget Director is Peter Orszag, who is currently the Director of the Congressional Budget Office. Huzzahs all around.

However, I hereby personally scowl at any senator who approves the following nominations: First, let’s look at New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee with a stellar record in foreign relations, energy, and ethics (he withdrew from corporate boards of energy corporations and sold his stock in those corporations once he began running for public office). He sounds like a terrific guy to have as your Vice President or Secretary of State, but Richardson is nominated for the position of Secretary of Commerce. The economy being what it is, I am very disappointed that Obama chose someone questionable for this position. Next up is Obama’s nominee for Homeland Security, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, recently named one of the five best governors in America by TIME Magazine. Before, she was attorney general of Arizona, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, and a defense attorney in the Anita Hill case. Nothing in Napolitano’s record, though, qualifies her as an expert in homeland security. Finally, everybody’s favorite, Hillary. I don’t know what to say about Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State. Her “icy” public image aside, she was a United States Senator during an extremely turbulent time for foreign policy, which may give her an edge-but frankly, that doesn’t give this children’s rights lawyer the clout to interface with foreign leaders, in my book.

I hope that the next month or so will show us a few more Holders and Joneses, and not as many Richardsons or Clintons. The best course for Obama, a dynamic and charismatic leader with painfully little experience, is to choose the contender with the most experience and expertise in all cases.

Except that Dan Reicher. I don’t care if you were assistant energy secretary in charge of efficiency, renewable energy, polar bears and all the other bells and whistles-now, you are the director of climate change and energy initiatives at Google. And Google has its sinisterly user-friendly e-fingers in enough pies as it is.