Monday, December 1, 2008

Some Change Barack

Not that I expected that much from him, but Barack Obama's cabinet selections have been a disappointment to say the least. Today he officially nominated Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. A bit of a U turn from all those horribly mean things Clinton and Obama said about each other during their bitter primary campaign. I am not exactly what you would call a fan of Hillary Clinton. I've always found her, like her husband, to be the ambitious, cuthroat, lying politican type. Although she did dodge all those make believe bullets in Serbia back in the early 90's, so that's a plus.

My bigger problem is how blatantly status quo Obama's selections have been with Hillary Clinton simply being the biggest name on the list. He also picked many others who were long time Clinton people including John Podesta as Transition Chief and Rep. Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff among others. Some have described this as a "a team of rivals" in reference to Abraham Lincoln, who basically put everyone he beat in the election into cabinet posts. That's one way of looking at it, but I don't see it that way. I think these selections, all basically Clinton people (with the notable exception of Robert Gates, who will probably remain at Secretary of Defense, again big change) just creates the second presidency of Bill Clinton.

If that was what this whole election was about, fine, he should have said so. Hillary Clinton at least for once took a leave from her normal dishonesty and basically admitted that was her intention. But this coming from the guy who talked so much about "hope" and "change" and a "new politics" just seems awful disingenuous. I guess that's nothing new from a politician. Change all the way back to 1999!

That being said, it's not all bad. Bill Clinton certainly had many faults, like launching some 25 odd, mostly inept military interventions, but those were at least short, small wars with few casualties unlike the debacles George W Bush got us into in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the end, while I'm no fan of Bill Clinton, he's leaps and bounds ahead of Bush. Ironically, our economy actually got freer under Clinton and then less free under Bush, which will probably surprise the many mindless talking head drones who assume rhetoric equals action. According to the Fraser Institute's yearly report on economic freedom, the US was a 7.8 (out of 10) in 1990, two years before Clinton took office. When he left, the US stood at 8.6, and now, after 8 years of Bush it has fallen to an 8.0.

I guess all this elucidates the simple point that politicians are, with very few exceptions, dirty liars. The supposedly egalitarian democrats increased economic freedom, the supposedly free market republicans decreased economic freedom and Barack Obama isn't about change or a new sort of politics. He's simply trying to have the third and then fourth terms of Bill Clinton's presidency. But hey let’s look on the bright side, given our recent history, that's certainly not the worst thing that could happen.

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