Monday, December 01, 2008

Clinton named as Obama's secretary of state.

It's official. Clinton will today be confirmed as Secretary of State.

President-elect Barack Obama will confirm Hillary Rodham Clinton as his nominee for secretary of state today, at a joint appearance in Chicago finalising the incoming national security team. The announcement will end weeks of speculation and behind-the-scenes negotiation, but in turn opens the latest chapter in the Clinton drama.

For Obama, after spending most of the post-election period focusing on the economy, it also enables him to move attention to his foreign policy team.

Alongside the Clinton nomination, her acceptance of which was first reported by the Guardian on November 18, Obama is also expected to confirm his decision to continue with Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, and to appoint retired US marine general James Jones as his national security adviser.

I've discussed before why I think he has gone down this road, apart from the obvious need to encourage party unity.

There has been much talk on the blogosphere about the fact that Obama is not appointing a team which appears to signify change. I think that's missing the point. The change will come from the policies which Obama seeks to put in place, not from the people that he asks to implement it.

And, as Obama recently stated, it would be very strange if - in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression - he started to appoint people with very little experience to run Washington.

So, the people he is putting in place are people who understand how Washington works, and they will be asked to use that experience to realise Obama's policies.

I personally think he is gathering together a collection of powerful figures, showing that he is not going to be overawed by any of them. I would have been disappointed had he surrounded himself with political pygmies.

They say that he is fashioning himself after Lincoln, putting together a team of the best brains available to tackle what is one of the US's worst periods in history. I think that is to be welcomed.

Already it feels as if an adult is going to be in charge of the White House. An adult who is not frightened of other adults expressing their opinions.

After the Bush era, where dissenters were pushed from their posts, we have change starting right there.

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1 comment:

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