Obama Mistake #1

This is a monumentally stupid idea:

Obama has made clear that he wants a bipartisan look and cast to his administration. The transition team has been told to hire Republicans at all levels of government, not just as token cabinet appointments.

How in the WORLD does this actually make the government better, given that the Republicans just spent eight years fucking off and failing to actually get anything done?  Even from an apolitical standpoint, from the standpoint of hiring qualified people, this makes no sense.

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9 Comments on “Obama Mistake #1”

  1. Jen Says:

    Are you saying you would frown upon any republican/independent nominations? Aside from that, it may not make the government better, but if done correctly, with enough checks, it also doesn’t have a negative policy impact and it creates some good will for centrists/republicans who voted for Obama or considered it.

  2. Dennis Says:

    At the cabinet level? One or two. Lower than that? I’d be hesitant. Why? Bush is already planting a fair amount of people in there. There’s no reason to add to that total.

    I hate to sound any more strident than normal, but we’re talking about a political party who views the government as some combination of illegitimate and a trough from which to feed their friends. Find me Republicans who keep their distance from that wing of the party, then my objection will only be based on policy, not on my extra-special litmus test: Actual quality.

  3. Observer Says:

    Well now, that does sound like more than a little partisan bigotry! Are you trying to say that all Republicans are incompetent? Dishonest? Both? Sorry Dennis but that’s just asinine and you know it. Lets just take Colin Pwell for one example; only an idiot would imply that he is either and would be anything but an asset to any administration . And there are many more. This extreme partisan labeling of people as evil because you don’t agree with their political philosophy is exactly the attitude we need to get away from. Many of us happen to feel the same way about the Clintons as you do about Bush; but we don’t believe they are typical of all Democrats any more than Bush is of all Republicans. So ease up; read a little history to get a better perspective (for example Republicans were the party who ended slavery in the U.S.) and try to acquire a little more broad-minded attitude that liberals like to pride themselves on (but don’t practice much).

  4. Jen Says:

    I see. I wouldn’t like to see them in any position where they have control over things, but I can appreciate adding them at the cabinet level, as another viewpoint.

  5. Dennis Says:


    I have two qualifications for supporting a person and/or party (leaving aside the inherent limits of electoral politics for the moment):

    1) Do I support their policy proposals/stances on issues/etc?

    2) Are they competent? Professional? Smart?

    As a rule, I barely agree with Dems on policy, and I agree with Republicans even less. As you might imagine, this really limits who I am willing to support, unless I make a completely pragmatic decision (otherwise known as supporting the lesser of two evils). Call it a limit of electoral politics – or call it having a two-party system that’s largely owned by wealthy, corporate interests. Either way, I can’t support a Democratic Party who can’t even, say, go to the mat defending the rights of unions to organize even when it’s organized labor that’s always a part of a Democratic victory, or muster up any sort of competent leadership (until recently) in opposition to Iraq.

    Those above two criteria also mean I harbor a rather intense dislike not only for Republicans who were part of or supported the Bush administration, an administration that not only put forth policies I loathe but was also rather monumentally incompetent, but also a rather serious dislike for other Republicans who support policies I abhor, like banning gay marriage or refusing to deal with global warming.

    Does that mean I despise Colin Powell? No, but I won’t ever support him, either, not after his presentation to the UN Security Council in 2003 that turned out to contain completely fabricated material and his subsequent unwillingness to own up to that. Oh, and then there’s his role in the cover-up at My Lai. He’s since said some good things, but not when it mattered – for example, endorsing Obama is cool, but would it have killed him to do it more than a few days before the election, before it looked like Obama was sure to win? The endorsement is courageous, but the timing was opportunistic.

    So Lincoln worked against slavery. Good for him – no, really, that’s an amazing bit of history I didn’t know about. I’d actually never heard that before. Of course, the fact that you have to bring something 150 years old up as evidence in support of the Republican party is pretty telling, isn’t it?

    Here’s the thing: the conclusions I’ve reached about politics are a direct result of spending the first eight years of my adult life paying attention to politics. This includes history. It’s not a pretty picture.

  6. Dennis Says:

    Jen – I’d just reiterate that competence is a huge qualifier, and I’m not terribly impressed with the Republicans these last several years. The dominant wing of their party is anti-intellectual and anti-government, for f***’s sake. Putting aside their party label, why would anyone want to hire people who don’t support the basic mission of the organization? Just because another party exists is no reason to automatically hire people from that party.

  7. Tracy Says:

    Actually Dennis I would not want your kind in any position of power. To decide that you have the moral high ground on issues is your right but in my government, I want to see many points of view. The problem with the federal and many local governments lately is that they are one-sided. You don’t have to go back 150 years for good republican administrations, none are perfect but many did very good things. Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan in my lifetime did many good things, they also had flaws. As for democrats, I would say Kennedy and Clinton did good works. Both also had many flaws and corruptions. What these five examples show is an ability to inspire the people to achieve greatness. Eisenhower opened the country to industrial and capital growth through mass transit. Kennedy inspired scientific break through and research. Nixon made the US a world leader and expanded contacts worldwide. Reagan rebuilt Americans’ faith in themselves after the malaise of the later 70s. And finally Clinton brought people back into public commitments.

    What? I left out LBJ’s great society? Well yes. This was and still is government at its worst. Well intentioned programs that ended up keeping people in poverty by not showing the value of work and education. Giving away housing led to hell holes of drugs and abuse. The welfare society has increased, not because of government policies but because many people choose government handouts to work. Reforms have been implemented and the projects have been torn down but the damage has been done. Of course, the worst of LBJ was his expansion of the war in Vietnam. And don’t claim civil rights as his great achievement. He was forced into supporting the legislation.

    We get more done in this country when we work together. My worry is that I see Obama digging up Clinton appointees and further dividing us. I would rather see him take a look at experts from whatever party they are in. Party affiliation should have nothing to do with selecting people to help in his administration.

  8. Dennis Says:


    I think you might have absorbed a Republican talking point re: Clinton-era staffers.

    Consider your two statements:

    As for democrats, I would say Kennedy and Clinton did good works…. Clinton brought people back into public commitments.

    My worry is that I see Obama digging up Clinton appointees and further dividing us.

    Either Clinton himself was OK, and his appointees are all crap, or those two statements are contradictory.

    The other thing about that talking point is that Clinton was the only Democratic President in the last 28 years. If Obama wants Dem staffers with experience, he doesn’t have a choice.

    Conclusion: “Bipartisan,” according to this talking point, means Democrats with no White House experience and Republicans. Speaking as an observer, what kind of Dem in their right mind would want that?

    Also, this:

    We get more done in this country when we work together.

    Was that in effect for the Bush Administration? Because outside of some terrible ideas – Iraq, NCLB – I didn’t see Republicans clamoring for bipartisanship. In fact, the opposite was true: Bush adviser Karl Rove talked about building a permanent majority and completely cutting Democrats out of the government and out of power altogether. Remember the nuclear option?

    What I’m trying to say is that the bipartisanship call only comes out when the Democrats are in power, which sort of makes it another meaningless talking point. Obama appears to genuinely want bipartisanship, which is damned lucky for Republicans.

  9. Tracy Says:

    I am a democrat not a republican despite your opinions. Did I say that Bush did a good job as president? No. The bi partisanship occurs during either party’s first years. You forget that Bush worked with Sen. Kennedy early in his first year. You are picking only what you want to see due to your inexperience I suppose. Many moderate republicans and democrats have worked together. Obama started by selecting Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, an attack dog of the Clintons. He is considering Sen. Clinton as his secretary of state. Probably a good choice actually. But your statement is contradictory. You say if Obama wants democrats he must pick from Clinton staffers. That would instantly mean he does not want bi-partisanship. He is selecting only from democrats. You obviously do not know much about Bush administration policies focusing only on the Iraq war. NCLB was a bi-partisan bill. Its main problem, like most federal policies is that it is not funded. Republicans and democrats have called for bipartisanship, usually only when they begin an administration or when they are not in power. When either party is in control, democrats until the 1980s and the republicans since the mid 90s bipartisanship is not talked about. In my view, bi-partisanship is not a talking point. It is what I want. I think you need to learn more and quit viewing things through the lens of your hatred for the current administration. I am willing to give Obama a chance to get his team in place and try some things. I voted for him, but the is not relevant, I would have given McCain the same opportunity. I don’t automatically assume the republican party is evil. I know too many people who are republican and I actually like some of their policies. It is just unfortunate in my opinion, as you point out, that Obama seems to be looking at only one side of the aisle when it comes to his team.

    If you think cutting the other party out of power is a republican issue, you are sadly misinformed about the history of government politics in the U.S. The packing of the court by Roosevelt, LBJs southern strategy, etc As I said when in control BOTH parties abuse the power for their own benefit.

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