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    The man can do no wrong

    by Sunny on 4th December, 2008 at 10:16 am    


    A new national poll suggests that Americans think President-elect Barack Obama’s getting it right when it comes to his Cabinet picks, especially Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates. A poll shows 71 percent of Americans approve of Barack Obama picking Hillary Clinton for secretary of state.

    Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey approve of Obama’s Cabinet choices, with 22 percent disapproving. That’s 16 points higher than those in favor of then President-elect Bush’s Cabinet picks eight years ago.

    The poll indicates that 71 percent approve of Obama picking Sen. Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. Democrats overwhelmingly approve of the choice, with two-thirds of independents agreeing and Republicans evenly split on the pick.

    A few points here. I approve of the cabinet too. Hillary is excellent, as are most of the others. Gates is no doubt the most controversial, but I have a theory about this too and I have to admit Obama’s style makes me think twice about my own political ideas.

    If you wanted to push wide-ranging and potentially controversial proposals through, then you need your opponents (Republicans) on side. These picks not only means Obama is pulling in more Republican support for when he unveils his agenda, but also that the big hitters who were initially involved with the mess (in Iraq - Gates) are used to sort out the mess. A new person would be tightly linked to Obama and if it messed up then Obama would be blamed. But Gates now has a more non-partisan aura around him - so if Iraq deteriorates then Americans are less likely to blame Obama. It’s bloody good politics, I have to admit, and it demonstrates that being non-partisan and willing to embrace ‘enemies’ also has strategic benefits.

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    16 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. MSK* — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:56 am  

      Dear Sunny,

      I’m still not clear on Hillary Clinton as SecState. Why do you think that she is an “excellent” choice?



    2. Leon — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:00 am  

      it demonstrates that being non-partisan and willing to embrace ‘enemies’ also has strategic benefits.

      Lol yeah but kinda obvious though aint it?!

    3. Rumbold — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:03 am  


      Why do I get the feeling that if Obama had failed to appoint Clinton and Republicans to the cabinet you would have lauded this as a clear example of the President-elect’s willingness to sweep away the old order and enact his mandate of change in a masterful way?

      Apart from Clinton, these do seem like good appointments.

    4. Sid — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:28 am  


      Don’t you get it? Because the man’s shit don’t stink. He can do NO wrong!

    5. Rumbold — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:41 am  


    6. fugstar — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:45 am  

      still drunk on post election participation?

      Clinton always struck me a clearly quite evil.

    7. Tom — on 4th December, 2008 at 12:15 pm  

      Don’t know about Sunny, but I’d certainly have been less pleased if Gates hadn’t stayed on - he’s a long way from a Bush/neocon hack and is about the only member of the Bush team with any credit. In fact, looking at it, he’s only in the job because the Democrats won the 2006 elections and forced Bush to ditch Rumsfeld. He’ll be quite happy to sit in his chair for a bit following orders to end the Iraq debacle as soon as logistically possible - it’ll make his job dealing with the Army easier not having to triangulate between the wingnuts and the military.

      Clinton less obviously applaudable, but it ties together an awkward appointment with an awkward opponent who’ll now spend much of her time abroad, so it’s an understandable bit of pragmatism. She’s not evil, just a particular type of US elite liberal.

    8. Leon — on 4th December, 2008 at 1:46 pm  

      Heh yeah you can almost see Obama saying to his advisor:

      Obama: “Guys, how are we going to deal with Clinton”

      Adviser: “Well Sir, Sec of State spends a great deal of time out of the country…”

      Obama: “WTF? Get her a plane ticket now, she’s my new Sec of State!!”


    9. Sunny — on 4th December, 2008 at 3:08 pm  

      Look, Clinton is a very intelligent woman and she is very popular among the base. She had to be given a good role and SoC is a good one.

      I wasn’t against this, I was just waiting to see whether she would embrace him after defeat and she did.

      Rumbold - heh. Change? Obama is change. I don’t expect the administration to be highly different - after all you want to surround yourself with competent people who have experience of Washington. As long as Plouffe and Jarrett are around, I’m happy.

    10. MSK* — on 4th December, 2008 at 3:54 pm  

      So, Sunny,

      The choice of SecState is now to be based on whether or not that person is liked among Americans?

      That’s an odd logic …

      I always thought SecState needs to be effective in foreign affairs.

      Just my two pennies.


    11. justforfun — on 4th December, 2008 at 5:14 pm  

      Look, Clinton is a very intelligent woman and she is very popular among the base

      wow - who ever said Al Qaeda were not liberals and broadminded.


    12. s — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:09 pm  

      I have to admit Obama’s style makes me think twice about my own political ideas Sunny. This just proves that liberal dont have any Policy of there own.

    13. MaidMarian — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:24 pm  

      MSK (10) - ‘The choice of SecState is now to be based on whether or not that person is liked among Americans?’

      Not just now! That post is regarded as one of the most important that a President Elect can make and such appointments are profound political statements. Whether they should be or not is another question - Obama has to take it as he finds it.

      In a presidential system, having any cabinet secretary become a source of criticism for the president is seen as a bad thing. This is even more so with a very high profile cabinet post. There is nothing at all wrong per se with making an appointment with one eye on the politics.

      Whether Clinton is a success or otherwise, time will tell - though I get a faint sense you may have made your mind up already?

    14. MSK* — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:39 pm  

      Dear MM,

      I didn’t/don’t get the choice and I’m rather pessimistic when it comes to Clinton in the MidEast & South Asia, yes.

      But hey, we’ve all seen pigs fly (or, for those among us who are Muslims, seen sheep fly) … so we’ll see.

      Btw, my comment was sarcastic. I know how positions in a U.S. gov’t are filled. But if you look at the past choices … then you see that SecState is not a position where you put someone ’cause you want them in your gov’t. SecState is one of the few positions where, usually, you put someone who will be good in the job, in this case on the international terrain.

      And if Obama and his team think that, out of the many people that were available, Hillary Clinton is the best, then I hope they have some secret plan that nobody knows about just yet.

      ‘Cause from where I’m standing (MidEast & Europe), she’s got a very bad rep. And that matters.


    15. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:19 pm  

      Obama: Islamic Speech in First 100 Days


      Something like this wouldn’t have happened under Bush or Hilary.

      It is a wise move. Reach out from the start.

      With another enlightened article calling on Obama not to do a Bush:


      Again Hilary wouldn’t have endeared such a call and neither would have McCain. Lets see if he is up to this.

    16. AsifB — on 10th December, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

      Fugstar- Hilary has “experience” of coming under sniper fire, which come February means the new President has an excuse to send her to Afghanistan.Excellent choice no?

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