Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who Would You Put in Obama's Cabinet?

The day after the election, I'm feeling more sober than euphoric. Although it's now definite that Christine Gregoire prevailed over the horrible Dino Rossi and both Colorado and South Dakota's anti-abortion measures were defeated, gay rights took a trouncing-- in California, though the results aren't absolutely final yet, it looks as though voters took away the right for gays to marry; & bans were also imposed in Florida and Arizona.

A sentence from Obama's speech illuminates what I was feeling last night:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

For a long time we've had every reason to question that, in the nightmare of the last eight years especially. But thinking about all those people in California who voted to impose on a ban on gay marriages in defiance of the state's Supreme Court ruling permitting it, I find myself zeroing in on something else Obama said last night:

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -- I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you -- we as a people will get there.

What "there" is, obviously, varies enormously from person to person-- even among those who voted for Obama. One thing he's done, though, is purposely left the question open about just where we might go. Not just for tactical political reasons, but to encourage widespread democratic participation in the process of important decision-making. The thing about hope, see, is that it's useless if it's vague or passive (waiting silently, for good things to fall into one's lap). Wishful thinking isn't synonymous with hopefulness.

Reading accounts of who might be on Obama's transition team and who in his Cabinet, I want to yell when certain names come up: No! Not him! He won't take us where we need to go!

What do you think? Who would you appoint to the top government positions if you were Obama? Let's play What If... I'd love to hear your suggestions.


Josh said...

If he gets Rahm Emmanuel out of the House and keeps him on a short leash, I can deal with that appointment.

But whom would I appoint?

HHS: Hillary Clinton

Energy: Al Gore

State: Jimmy Carter

Education: Bill Ayers

Interior: Wendell Berry

Treasury: Roubini

Press Secretary: Hitchens

Timmi Duchamp said...

Bill Ayers-- that's lovely. Wendell Berry? Hmmm. Wouldn't that be a trip. But Mr. Hitchens!... That's mighty mischievous of you. He'd be amused for awhile, but would soon tire of the game, I bet. & then imagine where that might lead.

I notice, though, that you've left out a crucial appointment. Who would you pick for Attorney General?

Josh said...

The Anti-Aschroft: a lawyer-legislator who's passionately in favor of the Constitution. Like Phil Ochs, "I believe in God and Senator Dodd."

Nancy Jane Moore said...

State: Bill Richardson

Treasury: Paul Krugman or James Galbraith

AG: Elizabeth Cabraser (prominent California class action and plaintiffs' lawyer with a low-key style that compliments Obama)

I'm meditating on defense, but my mind is still blank.

Gore at Energy is entertaining, but better to give Gore a task force with teeth to attack global warming. I don't think Gore should be reined in by the constraints of the cabinet these days.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

More AG thoughts:

Judge Diane Wood from the 7th Circuit.

Judge Lee Rosenthal from the Southern District of Texas.

Judge Ricardo Urbina of the federal district court in DC (he's the one who ruled for the Uighurs held at Guantanamo).

All three of these judges are smart people who write excellent, well-thought-out decisions.

Oh, and Prof. John Coffee of Columbia to head the SEC.

Progressive From Oregon said...

My choices:
AG: Joe Papantonio or Eliot Spitzer
Interior: RFK, Jr
State: Deval Patrick
Treasury: David Walker or Debbie Stabenow
Energy: Al Gore
HHS: Dennis Kucinich
Homeland Sec: Bill Richardson
Agriculture: Earl Blumenhauer
Defense: Bob Casey
Dir FBI: Sheldon Whitehouse
DEA: Mike Gravel

While these are no where near what Obama will eventually choose. I'd be willing to argue with him about my choices.

Josh said...

Timmi: Looks like the Press Secretary's already chosen, and Hitch'll have to stick to the liquor cabinet.

ProgOR: They're saying he may indeed give Bobby Kennedy a position. Dunno how I feel about that.

How about for Commerce: Cathy DeAngeles, who's doing so much to fight Big Pharma.

Progressive From Oregon said...

@ josh:

What about RFK, Jr bothers you?

Obama needs some people around him who will talk about and take on the neo-cons. I was quite surprised a day or so before the election to hear Obama actually refer to the neo-cons indirectly. He spoke of a negative influence on the Repub party or some other euphemism for infestation, but it was gratifying to here him tell the Repubs they need to fix the party by getting the neo-cons out.

Forgot about Commerce... don't know Cathy DeAngeles, but if she's chewing on the Rx industry, then I'm for that. I'll chk her out.

Josh said...

PZ links to a demolition of Bobby Kennedy. Antivaccinationists like RFKJ have prompted parents to leave their kids totally unvaccinated and/or to seek out deadly "treatments" for autism. It's great that Kennedy has called attention to the vote-suppression issue, but his other convictions and his undiplomatic demeanor are ill-suited to such a position.

Cathy DeAngeles, as editor of JAMA, formed a coalition of medical journals who will not present Big Pharma-sponsored research as disinterested science --an issue that Russell Maulitz and the people at FIRM are also pursuing. Several pharmaceutical companies have gotten together to sue her, and a truck has tried to run her off the road in Chicago, but she's stood by her principles. Maybe Surgeon General is a more appropriate position.