Same ol’ "change"?

>I gotta say, I’m very disappointed so far by Obama’s transition team. “Change”? What change?

It’s nothing but the same old crowd — this team for “change.”

Take Hillary Clinton, for example. It seems pretty obvious he wants to tap her for Secretary of State. But this is a perplexing choice for many reasons. Naturally, you wouldn’t want her in charge of health care, because the bad taste from her first attempts at that — way back in ’92 as the first lady — still lingers. But Secretary of State? Foreign affairs is the area where he most disagreed with her during the campaign! I understand the desire to emulate Lincoln with a “team of rivals,” but does he have to pick people for posts where they are diametrically opposed to his views? You’re just making it even harder on yourself, Obama — as if it weren’t going to be difficult enough!

Then there’s his main economic advisers, Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, both of whom are waist deep in the mortgage debacle. Both have served as CEO of Fannie Mae, with Raines taking over from Johnson. Why choose two of the architects of our financial implosion as your advisers? This makes me really nervous about who he’ll pick for Treasury Secretary. We’re looking for change, remember? That means something different. There are plenty of top economists who have some very good ideas and don’t have their hands dirty. Let’s give some new blood a try!

Then of course, there’s his pick for chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, an old center-right Clintonite, and the persistent talk of retaining Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. If the first few picks go this way, what does it say about all his promises of “change”? I just don’t get it.

Not much is set in stone yet, however. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I certainly hope so.

James Israel
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