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[update] Hey gang!  First off, I don't literally know Barack Obama.  The point of the title is that it's sort of a continuation of one I wrote some months back.  That diary was about Obama's overall approach.  When I say "and I do" I simply mean that what he's doing now is entirely consistent with what I saw in him before Iowa.  Also, if I've offended some of you with invective I'm sorry, but only a bit.  We do ourselves little credit if we reflexively freak out when President-Elect Obama does something we don't like at first blush.  He'll make mistakes.  He'll up.  But for something as massive as this choice he HAS to have his reasons.  It's worthwhile to take the time to hash them out.  Oh, and thanks for the Rec List!  I'm no "yes-man" by any means.  I was furious about FISA, for example.  But I'm getting exactly what I expected from President-Elect Obama.  And yes, I want Wes Clark to replace Gates in 2010 when he can legally do so.

I wrote a piece during the primaries explaining how so many here among the netroots misunderstood Obama.  Well, I see I have to revisit things a bit.  I want to preface this by saying that venues such as this are fantastic places to vent.  I'm not trying to muzzle anybody here.  Say what you want.  Just understand that some of you are making us look like a pack of ineffectual idiots.

Okay, let's start with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Anybody here like Star Trek?  Remember that saying "Only Nixon could go to China"?  It made sense when Spock said it.  It makes sense now.  By allowing the Bush people to negotiate an end to the Iraq War and allowing Secretary Gates to oversee the first phase of our withdrawal out of Iraq, well, Obama has found a masterstroke.  He gets what he wants but he gets a LOT of political cover.  Please remember that for decades we Democrats have fought the specter of having "lost" the Vietnam War.  The optics are much better with Gates.

Forget the optics for a second.  Gates is a realist.  He's smart as hell and he's no ideologue.  Some of the comments I've seen today blow my mind.  He is not, I repeat NOT, one of the guys who got us into this mess.  He's an old-school foreign policy wonk like Scowcroft.  The realists don't see the world like the neo-cons do.  Gates may not always do things I approve of but he for damned sure has his head screwed on straight.  He's done an amazing job given the catastrophe he took over from Rumsfeld.  He's moderated President Bush some (especially regarding Iran) and he's done a lot to clean up the top brass at the Air Force.

Bottom line?  He's doing great work.  If he's onboard with the withdrawal there's literally NO good policy reason or competency reason to yank him.  All you've got is the politics.  Guys, seriously, THAT is how we wanna use what political capital we have?  Bitching about how he's not a Democrat?


I've got a lot of friends and family in the service, some enlisted and some officers.  I don't know of a single one that doesn't want Gates to stay on awhile.  Most of these people are Democrats, by the way.  They trust Gates.  He's a thinker, and he listens.  He's pragmatic and he prepares.  These are great qualities in a leader.

None of this means you have to love Bob Gates.  I'd be surprised if you did.  But please stop acting like leaving the only guy in human history to get President Bush to act LESS INSANE is selling out the Obama Premise.  It isn't.  By keeping Bob Gates on a little while Barack Obama is doing something absolutely ing amazing in politics:

He is keeping his word to us by keeping Gates.  This is what "new politics" looks like.  This, literally THIS choice, is why I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton and the others.  I did not want, and do not want, a President who spends four years trying to break Republican backs.  The work is too hard and too important for that.  Getting out of Iraq will be incredibly complicated, costly, and slower than we'd like.  That's just the logistics, folks.  We've got a ton of men and materiel there.

Barack Obama is picking people he trusts with incredibly important tasks.  You don't like all of these people.  You don't agree with all of these people.  It can be irksome.  But reflect on his choices so far, dammit.  He's picking people who can produce results!  He's allowing for some pretty big egos and some pretty diverse viewpoints because these are the people he's concluded can bring about the policy changes we need.

If you want to spend your days and nights during transition bitching about how Obama is selling us out you're welcome to do so.  It sounds an awful lot like some of the shit I read during the primary wars.  If you wanted a Democrat who'd treat the Republicans like the Republicans just treated us, well, you voted for the wrong candidate.

Dissent.  Complain.  Blog.  Shout to the heavens.  Be heard, if you can.  But try to remember that running a one-party executive that ignores the concerns of the minority party was completely and utterly ing retarded when the Republicans did it.  I want President Obama to succeed in actually governing.  I honestly would prefer he accomplish some great things in four years and LOSE than tread water, pass the buck, and get re-elected.  He's picking producers.  They'll do what they're told.  We don't have to, of course, but if we had any brains at all we'd wait until he's sworn in to concern troll 24/7.

He hasn't sold us out.  He's ignoring a lot of what we want because we're his left flank.  We have to remember what matters most.  At this point that's two things - stabilizing the economy and getting us out of Iraq.  He's picking a very solid team to do just that.

Originally posted to Reaper0Bot0 on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:14 PM PST.

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    For remembering that we'll get the big ticket stuff.  We don't help him, or our causes, by freaking out over the chickenshit.

  •  disagree (19+ / 0-)

    it's silly to say that obama choosing gates distinguishes him from other democrats or from hillary.

    bill clinton appointed republicans as well to his cabinet... i don't think it was a better idea when he did it. and democrats spent much of the past eight years voting for bush's policies. that the patriot act, iraq war, fisa or roberts confirmation were bipartisan majorities did not make them any more atrocious votes.

    •  Remember that when they fillibuster (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, nirbama, FistJab

      some fairly lefty judges.  It'll happen.  If our guys and gals could hold up their worst we can't really freak out when they do the same to us.

      Yeah, I know it'll suck when it happens, but let's not just magically forget what it was like in the minority.

      •  Fair point (0+ / 0-)

        I think most Obama judges will probably get through, but yeah, I imagine some will be filibustered. I expect all SCOTUS justices to be confirmed though.

      •  "They" will fight Obama (10+ / 0-)

        every step of the way.  It won't just come down to brass-knuckles on SC picks; it'll be screwing with every piece of legislation, every confirmation choice.  McConnell and Boehner are going to fight to the death, rather than let the Dems win the populist day.

        I think the battle with Congress will be a true test of his mettle.  Harry Reid has been an absolutely spineless wonder.  There are a few in Congress who consistenly act like there even is a "left" side of the aisle, but by and large, Congressional Dems act like they've been bought and paid for by "special interests."  

        As much as I believe that Obama will act wisely, and with the longer-term goal as his focus, I worry about Congress: not only about the Rs who face a generation or two in the wilderness if Obama serves in a manner that turns the electorate left, but also of the Dems in Congress who serve the powerful.  I really think they pushed the minimum wage only because the magnitude of the looming economic crisis was abundantly clear nearly two years ago, and this was a way to "distinguish" themselves from Rs on the matter.

        I used to give Reid credit for being a strategic thinker, but I think he saves his strategic thinking for fundraising to keep Democratic numbers.  Has nothing to do with policy-making.

        Small varmints, if you will.

        by 2lucky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:56:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure "they'll" fight him, but remember (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          revgerry, hyper, Otteray Scribe

          what we learned during the primaries: Obama is a master of political akido.

          "They" will find themselves hoist on their own petard, and they won't even know how it happened.

          May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care.

          by Fonsia on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:13:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  "They" - the Republican folks ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew, hyper

          From the Northeast part of the country will openly fight Obama?

          They do that and everything north of West Virginia will be bluer than blue....

          15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

          by BobTrips on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:31:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The battles in Congress will be far easier. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fiona West, nirbama

          Up until now, we had 49 Democrats, 2 independents (one reliably with us, one Joe Lieberman...) against 49 Republicans to try to get things done.  To break a filibuster, not only did we have to make sure all our own cats were herded into doing a party-line vote, we had to convince at least 9 Republicans to cross party lines in order to get anything done at all.  Not much got done, did it.

          Starting when the new Congress gets sworn in next January, we'll have 56-58 Democrats, maybe more, plus the two independents, against 40-42 Republicans.  Maybe we'll get lucky and Franken and Martin will win their races and we'll be able to muster 60 votes - enough to break filibusters assuming all our cats are properly herded.

          Even so, we'll only have to get 2-3 Republicans to cross party lines in order to break a filibuster.  They don't even have to vote for the bill - they can save face by voting for cloture, but voting against the bill.  We can bring two or three around.  We can stir up the infighting among the Republicans - keep them from marching in lock-step.  We can continuously remind them that being obstructionist makes them look like assholes and results in them being thrown out of office.  We can even entice them by offering them tasty earmarks.  In any case, if we can get all but one or two Democrats (or independents) to vote our way and get four or five Republicans to cross over, we just broke a filibuster.

          It will be a lot easier.  Though I'm not sure Reid has enough in the way of gonads to take advantage of such opportunities...

          Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

          by meldroc on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:35:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The matter to me is that that (4+ / 0-)

            the Dems still think they're representing the "center-right", maybe cause that's who keeps electing them.  

            Obama is not inheriting a Congress who favors me, Ms. Middle-class and failing, they favor Qwest, and Exxon and Verizon and Countrywide and Chase Visa.  

            They prove it over and over, again.  

            I'm not convinced Obama can do much, without costing me and my unknown future generations their futures.  Things are very, very, very bad.  I don't expect Harry Reid to be my friend, all of a sudden.  

            Small varmints, if you will.

            by 2lucky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:52:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Someone will have to carry Reid's weight. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Reid's too much of a jellyfish to be able to accomplish anything.

              I suspect that Obama himself, and possibly Biden as well, will be the ones making phone call to their former colleagues, making deals, pushing various pieces of legislation, and so on to drive things through.  Reid's gonna do little but watch as Obama does his job for him.

              Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

              by meldroc on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:26:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jacob Bartle

          McConnell and Boehner are going to fight to the death, rather than let the Dems win

          Well, I have to admit, it would be nice to see someone fight in Congress. That really would be a change.

          •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

            Gingrich and DeLay sure were fighters... Boehner & McLobbyist are amateurs in comparison but I'm sure they'll do their best to act like giant a-holes fighting everything & that it's their moral duty 24/7.

            Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

            by doinaheckuvanutjob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:46:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We so need (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          A New Majority Leader!!!!

          How about Russ Feingold??

          I'm so sick and tired of Reid.

    •  It should be noted that quite a number of ... (6+ / 0-)

      ...Kossacks who have objected to various appointments, especially regarding the SecDef post, have made it quite clear that we do not oppose Republicans being appointed to Cabinet posts. I can think of several possiblities: EPA, Commerce, Veterans Affairs, even Energy. But the SecDef is arguably THE most important post.

      We won. But we're not done. -- karateexplosions

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:58:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes (18+ / 0-)

    let us reach out and embrace Iran-Contra conspirators.  What role do you see for Ollie North in the Obama administration?  After all, it would be hypocritically partisan and extreme leftist purism to deny that patriotic hero a role reunited with his former benefactor Robert gates.

    This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:29:39 PM PST

  •  Thank you! (24+ / 0-)

    I've made the comment at least once before: One of the all time biggest beefs I've had with bush is the way he's seemed to be the President of the Republicans only.

    I am very glad to see Obama trying to work with, and for, people in all corners.

    •  And he said on Nov 4th, and this morning, (10+ / 0-)

      that he's also the president of those who voted for McCain.

      Unity has been his major theme, starting with his 2004 convention speech.

      I think he means it. I also think it's exactly was the country needs, after decades of deliberate divisiveness.

      May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care.

      by Fonsia on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:15:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plus... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ouhite draws, Fonsia, mellowwild, FistJab

        By trying to solve some of the issues that concern the right you take issues away from the right during the next election.

        Good national security, efficient government, and taxes as low as possible for most folks.

        That sounds to me like the basis for a Democratic landslide.  Can't win a national election on abortion alone....

        15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

        by BobTrips on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:35:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If it works. I don't think it will, but I don't (0+ / 0-)

          think it'll be a failure either. I just don't buy this team of rivals, or a new bipartisan foreign policy consensus that includes Neocons. I think Obama will find out quickly the result is a giant headache where he has to send Col. Jones, Valerie Jerrett and Tim Geithner etc. all over the place to placate all the factions. But we'll see.

          I think we'll see some healthy face saving attrition within a year, if not, it'll be a rocky landing. The strategy may work, but I doubt the current execution will in the long run. Perhaps in the short run it will buy him some very valuable political capitol to get things through Congress and build his national popularity higher.

          Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

          by doinaheckuvanutjob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:07:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think we're all going to find out that Obama (0+ / 0-)

            is a lot tougher and stronger and smarter than most of us realize.

            He's also got some heavyweight people on his side who know how to work the House and the Senate: Rahm Emmanuel, Joe Biden, and Tom Daschle, for example.

            And frankly, except for Hillary, I don't see too many "rivals" in the team so far. Obama is going for competence and expertise. I even suspect that Hillary is going to turn out to be more loyal than anyone currently gives her credit for.

            Which doesn't mean he won't run into some rough patches, or won't make some mistakes. Of course he will, just as he did in the primary and general elections.

            I notice that he won though, and by a substantial margin.

            May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care.

            by Fonsia on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:31:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What do you mean by "rival"? (0+ / 0-)

              People who also would have liked to be president?

              More than just Hillary on that list.  I remember Biden, Richardson, and some others who publicly announced that they were interested.

              I hope you don't mean rival = enemy.  Someone who would intentionally try to torpedo Obama's effort just make him a failure.

              15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

              by BobTrips on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:39:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Foreign policy structure is different from (0+ / 0-)

              economic. What I see is his econ team, while it has different players and philosophies, they seem to complement each other, and many have already worked together. I suspect that will go smoothly. That isn't the case with the structure of the foreign policy team emerging, with Neocons at defense, Hillary's entourage at State, and Obama's people at the other positions, I'm skeptical that will go smoothly. In fact I think it won't. But I could be wrong.

              But I very much agree with you that he's shown he is tougher, stronger, smarter than most of us, including myself realize.

              Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

              by doinaheckuvanutjob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:03:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  No more DLC. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i like bbq

          "Good national security, efficient government, and taxes as low as possible for most folks." sound like an excellent way to get elected for a Republican.  Or maybe a DLC third way triangulater?

          A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

          by thethinveil on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:41:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Does this mean you'll cheer if a non-neoliberal . (14+ / 0-)

      ...gets appointed to the National Economic Council or an anti-imperialist to the National Security Council? Because those people would be in my corner, and I'm not yet seeing any of them.

      We won. But we're not done. -- karateexplosions

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:50:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  getting out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, LeftyAce

    We can get out of Iraq a lot quicker if we leave Blackwater and KBR personnel over there.

  •  I'm not sure how this is going to turn out (11+ / 0-)

    But, I'm willing to cut some slack right now.

  •  Apparently so: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    srkp23, jimreyn, pico, Otteray Scribe, FistJab

    I want to preface this by saying that venues such as this are fantastic places to vent.

  •  Well said. Tipped and rec'd. n/t (4+ / 0-)

    No one in the country has swagga like us.

    by fou on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:35:39 PM PST

  •  New rules: no more ideological hires (11+ / 0-)

    Preoccupation with red and blue politics, and not actual qualifications is got us into this mess.  
    It's time to turn our government over to grown ups who know what to do.

    Brownie, Rummy, Monica, Paul, Alberto, and Harriet were all bumblers picked for their skills to solve Bush's political problems, and not for their abilities to make contributions to governing well.

    Our government is conducting a war on drugs, is it? Let them go after petroleum. Talk about a destructive high!- Kurt Vonnegut

    by crystal eyes on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:36:35 PM PST

    •  Actually, that's not exactly right regarding Rumm (4+ / 0-)

      Rumsfeld is a skilled administrator who's superb at cutting costs and creating a leaner, faster, more responsive military (or indeed any kind of organization).  There are some positives to the changes he pushed through at the Pentagon.  Sadly, while the kind of army he wanted is great at cheaper, faster, and lighter operations it absolutely SUCKS for prolonged obligations.

      He took a good thing way, way, way too far.  And even had he not, those few positives never would have outweighed his inability to run a fucking massive occupation.

      •  Rummy couldn't listen (6+ / 0-)

        He was too busy sending memos to his subordinates making them see things his way.  He fit the Bushworld mold of being a bully and a reckless dreamer.  Rummy's formidable administrative skills only made him all the more dangerous.

        Our government is conducting a war on drugs, is it? Let them go after petroleum. Talk about a destructive high!- Kurt Vonnegut

        by crystal eyes on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:47:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe, FistJab

        He had a goal, made a lot of progress to reach that goal, and did so with a minimum of disruption to the status quo. All marks of a ruthlessly effective administrator.

        Too bad his goal was so horribly misguided.

        •  why waste (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zett, lotlizard, i like bbq

          our breathe defending Obama on this and why don't we start advocating for our side.  Why are we playing dead when we could advocate for progressives? I JUST DON'T REPEAT DO NOT GET WHY WE ARE DEFENDING GATES AND HIS RUMSFELD APPOINTED STAFF. THAT IS THE REPUBLICANS JOB!

          (sorry for the caps but why are we rallying around conservatives  and not progressives.  You can't win anything in negotiation without actually arguing in good faith putting aside the cynicism of no democrat will ever be secretary of defense and nobody outside of wall street will ever sec of treasury.  There is now so little hope in his selections I don't see anybody here proposing progressive alternatives for his cabinet. Total cynicism towards the idea we  could have ever have one of our own or more than a couple tokens.

          Then 'everything has been correct in the past was good so I am not going to question him,' comments go against even Obama on the need for a vocal constituency that would in turn make a good president. So much for bottom-up-politics huh.

          A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

          by thethinveil on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:59:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  ha ha, oh, oh... support most of your other (5+ / 0-)

        comments Reaper.....but Rummy?  His negatives sooo outweighed his positives.

        Loyalty above service and benefit to country
        etc, etc.

      •  Skilled administrators... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Otteray Scribe

        can be positive and negative.  There were many skilled administrators in the Axis Powers before and during WWII.  But there were also many skilled administrators in the allied powers.  Rumsfeld is no Nazi or Fascist.  He's not evil.  He did what he thought was best.  But he was horribly wrong.  And he refused to consider opposing views.  He was, in the end, incompetent.

        We have a hard time accepting the idea that there can be a person who is competent at his or her job and yet incompetent at formulating and directing policy.  It's a perpetual problem of promoting people to a post that is one step above their abilities.  I wish there was an easy solution to it.

        The Rule of Law begets democracy. Democracy does not necessarily beget the rule of law. This is a maxim which we too often overlook.

        by Mike McL on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:02:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not evil? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i like bbq

          Not sure that I see much difference between Dick Cheney and a typical Nazi or Fascist or Soviet Communist.  And I don't think that Donald Rumsfeld is much different than Cheney, since he's Cheney's hero in many ways if you read about their collegial decades long friendship.

          I agree Rummy is overwhelmingly incompetent.  But he also helped perpetrate a morally reprehensible act-- the invasion and occupation of Iraq-- and tried to instigate more aggression against Iran.  

          Hard to say he IS evil, but equally different to say that he ISN'T.  

          Eckhart Tolle rules. GO OBAMA!

          by ramsfan on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:23:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  ALL hires are ideological. So far ... (12+ / 0-)

      ...we've seen mostly center-right and center hires, with an occasional center-left hire. Are those of us in the left-progressive camp supposed to believe that none of our kind is competent? Pragmatic? Capable of "getting the job done"?

      We won. But we're not done. -- karateexplosions

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:48:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does Melody Barnes not count? (0+ / 0-)

        She is a hardcore progressive.

        •  I like Melody. And I was glad to ... (5+ / 0-)

          ...see her appointed. But we've got have more than an exception who proves the rule. When we get nos. 2 and 3 and 4, I'll cease my caterwauling.

          We won. But we're not done. -- karateexplosions

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:34:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think she's the only progressive. (5+ / 0-)

            David Axelrod should certainly count. Philip Schiliro, Patrick Gaspard, Valerie Jarrett and Ellen Moran all seem progressive to me as well.

            While there are some non-progressives appointments like Mona Stuphen, Rahm and Summers, I'd argue there are a lot more of the appointments that there isn't enough public information about to classify them as progressive/non-progressive such as:

            Peter Orszag
            Rob Nabors
            Robert Gibbs
            Greg Craig
            Ron Klain
            Jim Messina
            Pete Rouse
            Dan Pfeiffer
            Jackie Norris
            Melissa Winter
            Lisa Brown
            Heather Higginbottom
            Alyssa Mastromonaco
            Desiree Rogers
            Chris Lu

            •  I didn't say progressive. That label ... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zett, lotlizard, Naranjadia, SherriG

              ...seems to cover everything from democratic socialists to some libertarians these days, a rather broad array. I specifically said "left-progressives." I didn't say ALL his appointments, or most, should be in that category. I'm an idealist but I am not stupid. I'd just like to see a few folks who will be in positions of real clout and influence who have views somewhat similar to mine occasionally getting the new President's ear. I haven't raised opposition to most of Obama's picks, in fact, I'm quite pleased with Daschle and I have high hopes for Napolitano.

              The issue is balance. If we're going to have appointees "across the spectrum," let them truly be that, not this truncated spectrum we have seen most of the appointments come from so far.

              We won. But we're not done. -- karateexplosions

              by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:53:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Sure she counts. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zett, greeseyparrot

          So, let's see, that 1 to how many?  Maybe others will be added, but right now, it feels like tokenism to me.

  •  People were pissing about Lieberman too. (18+ / 0-)

    IMHO, the decision to keep Lieberman was another masterstroke.  It was also a no-brainer.  Obama has real problems to solve, and he's got to nurture and consolidate his power.  It would have been beyond childish for him to pick a fight with Lieberman.  And besides, Lieberman's a b*tch.  He kissed Bush's face and ass because Bush was powerful.  Obama sees Lieberman for who and what he is, and now Lieberman wears Obama's collar.

    No one in the country has swagga like us.

    by fou on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:41:04 PM PST

    •  I'm less sanguine about Lieberman (5+ / 0-)

      But I see the sense of it.  I'd really rather have the good Senator flung by a trebuchet to Mexico, but.....yeah, why waste a good vote?

      •  Exactly. (6+ / 0-)

        I, too, would love to see him run out of Dodge.  I can't stand the little weasel, and in a perfect world, he would get his due; but at the same time, he's already gotten it.  Now, he has to submit to an African-American which must kill him.  What's unbelievable to me is that Lieberman is so disempowered that he campaigned for McCain even after McCain was forced encouraged by the RNC to pick Palin, even after his friend passed him over for Governor Lipstick.  Lieberman threw his name, weight and stature behind a guy who didn't have the money or the balls to call his own shots.  That speaks volumes.

        For the life of me I can't understand the reams of whiny verbiage about how Lieberman's going to screw us.  We won.  Lieberman's lucky to have the shirt on his back.

        No one in the country has swagga like us.

        by fou on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:55:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lieberman says cabinet picks are perfect (0+ / 0-)

      so already Lieberman is trying not to be a total dick.

      another brilliant chess move by our guy

    •  Kos should do an internal DK poll on who is (0+ / 0-)

      ranting and who is keeping cool on the appointments.  My bet is that the range of reactions would correlate with age/life experience.

      A few points:

      1. This is a representative democracy.
      1. We supported Barack because we belieived he possessed certain qualities (intelligence, empathy, strategic and historical perspective, steadiness, reason, open-mindedness, et al) that would make him a very good, if not great, leader.
      1. He had NOT YET taken office.
      1. Change takes hard work, tactical choices and time.
      1. There is much that Bush and Republicans broke.
      1. 46% of the electorate voter for the other guy.
      1. Obama appointees serve at the pleasure of the president.

      No quarter. No surrender.

      by hegemony57 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:40:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have no problem with (6+ / 0-)

    our watching Obama and our complaining about him.  Having said that however, let's see the results first.  He isn't even president yet (though I wish he were).  We've trusted him this far, let's cut him some slack.

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:51:31 PM PST

  •  Yup (4+ / 0-)

    It will make it harder to be taken seriously when there is a major issue that we need to fight Obama on if people keep bitching about the small stuff.  Dissent is a good thing, but if you complain too often  you make yourself irrelevant.  

    I would like to see more liberals in his cabinet, but I'll wait for his policy decisions before deciding to get angry.

    •  I don't see a true, hardcore progressive yet n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  Melody Barnes (12+ / 0-)

        Melody was the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she coordinated and helped to integrate all of the Center’s policy work from the policy departments, fellows, and the Center’s network of outside policy experts.

        From December 1995 until March 2003, Barnes served as chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Kennedy’s chief counsel, she shaped civil rights, women’s health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments.

        Barnes’ experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. During her tenure with the Subcommittee, she worked closely with members of Congress and their staffs to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992, which was signed into law.

        Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City and is a member of both the New York State Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, EMILY’s List, and The Maya Angelou Public Charter School. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors in history.

        Obama appointed her as  the  White House Domestic Policy Council director, she was the senior policy adviser for the Obama campaign.

        She is as Progressive as you can get...and will make sure that domestic policy is Progressive policy.

        "I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that dreams are more powerful than facts, That hope always triumphs over experience."

        by terra gazelle on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:00:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  why I support Obama (19+ / 0-)

    He clearly smartest politician and deeply loves America so he does everything he can to help America, including getting out of Iraq and fixing the economy. He sees that Gates is the best choice to deal with Iraq now so let it be him, not some Democrat just for namesake! Same Tim Geithner for the Treasury or Clinton for Secretary. See, the military praises his choice, Wall Street praise his choice, international diplomats praise his choice.

    And some of you critics his choice of Gates because he is not Dem. It is all about getting experienced people to work and get results! Not ideology.

    And that is why we are so lucky to have Obama now. Any other politician will fall to the partisan victim (GWB is a prime example; McCain would be worse.)

    Obama is all about result and that's why I support him.

    •  Well, Obama's and our compassion and empathy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, Naranjadia

      … will have to extend to the Iraqi people if results in Iraq are going to improve. I hope this election was about more than making a few tweaks in the way the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is being administered.

      Of course, it depends on what one means by "results." So the military brass think Gates is good for continuity? Obama's appointments also send a signal to people around the world.

      Throughout the Middle East and Central Asia people are pinning their hopes on Obama to steer American policy in a direction that, not to put too fine a point on it, doesn't involve killing, maiming, and torturing them and their kids and depriving them of food, medicine, clean water, electricity, functioning sewers etc. either right now or at some point down the line.

      See the national finals of Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen's 2008 Song Contest December 14 in Hoorn!

      by lotlizard on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:52:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  tipped and rec'd (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geejay, Fonsia, Otteray Scribe, Kharafina

    well said, keep it up.

    Give me a f'ing banana - Eddie Izzard

    by linc on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:03:18 PM PST

  •  I don't agree with your assessment. (6+ / 0-)

    Gates wants to keep many of his top-level civilian advisors in place - many of whom are neo-cons and hard core Republicans who supported Bush's failed foreign policy positions.

    Trying to look like Lincoln and filling your cabinet with people who you don't like or get along with is not the end game here - producing results is - and I don't see many of Obama's appointees doing a good job(and I certainly hope I am proven wrong on this). Much of what President-Obama has done since getting elected flies in the face of the change he promised everyone (not just us progressives).

    Take a look at history - FDR - the greatest President of the 20th Century, did not stock up his cabinet with old Woodrow Wilson political operatives and Hoover economists. He stood his own ground and made appointments that reflected what he wanted to see for his country. Roosevelt did not feel the need to make nice with Republicans to get his agenda passed.

    This theory of "new politics" approach is not new, nor is it necessarily a good thing - there is no objective standard by which you can judge "new politics" to be good; this "new politics" does not seem like change (of any type) to me.

    President Clinton was more damaging to our country (and perhaps to the Democratic Party) than Carter could ever have dreamed to be. Clinton sold out core Democratic principles and beliefs for the sake of his own personal ambitions and ego - he also sold the prospects for Democratic majorities in Congress down the tubes.

    Lawrence Summers, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, and especially Gates should be nowhere near the White House and Joe Lieberman should be nowhere near the Democratic Caucus in the Senate. Also, Lieberman is not a reliable Democratic vote - I am just waiting for him to vote to sustain a Republican filibuster of a liberal judicial nominee to replace Justice Stevens.

    •  Go away... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      newview88, apip0115

      Well when you grow up maybe you can be president and show all of us how it is done.

      "I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that dreams are more powerful than facts, That hope always triumphs over experience."

      by terra gazelle on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:03:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, (0+ / 0-)

        that was mature, thoughtful, and deeply considered. Thank you so much for your contribution.

        •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

          My patience has hit its peak with all the wingeing. Being undiciplined and crying wolf with every choice that Obama makes only proves what the Repubs say about us. We are kids in pj's in our mother's basement. Well I am 60 years old, in my living room I pay for...and I have seen enough life to know what I am talking about. Believe me my first thought about your post was..Grow Up...I should applogize for my retort, but I am sick of the griping and crying over Obama not doing what each of you want. He said what he was going to do, he is who he portrayed himself to be...but you thought he would be the normal politician and lie. You were hopeing he would be the great black savior and be more Liberal then would get all that you matter that it is not what this country needs.

          I never felt that Bush was my president...he did not care about me or you. And he has proven that he does not care about this country...well Obama does. He is not a socialist and he never claimed to be. He said that he would be everyones president...the 53% that voted for him and the 46 that didn't. he is trying his best to fix this nation...and in doing so make your life better. For the Gods sake give him a break. All you are doing is givng the haters ammo, and plucking my last nerve.

          ...I want change and Obama is the one to give it. Even the news people are calling us whiney.

          "I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that dreams are more powerful than facts, That hope always triumphs over experience."

          by terra gazelle on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:30:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  2 comments, 1 diary. None positive. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You haven't found anything good to say about Barack Obama since July 2008 but we're supposed to take you seriously?

      --- ZROMG! The New GOP found a new leader and animated him from the grave! "Zombie Reagan! Oh My God!"

      by opendna on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:22:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My god, a sensible diary about the Gates thing (10+ / 0-)

    I would say to all those who are screaming about being betrayed and lies about "change", please go back to the 20th century where that monomaniacal and shallow kind of political view belongs. The rest of us have work to do.

    "Ain't no time to wonder why - WHOOPEE! We're all gonna die!"

    by fourthcornerman on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:21:49 PM PST

  •  Another thing Obama does by picking Gates. (20+ / 0-)

    One of the key things to do in negotiations and politics is to leave your opposition an out.  Let him save face.  By all means, win the war, but you may be able to win the war more easily if you give your enemy an out.

    Picking Gates is a way of doing this.  It allows the Republicans a measure of face-saving - an acknowledgement that even after all the clusterfucks that have been on their watch, Obama has a place for them at the table, and an opportunity to get something if they choose to work with us instead of undermining us.

    And as Reaper0Bot0 mentioned, letting the Republican have some responsibility for the Iraq War gives Obama a lot of cover - if it goes pear-shaped, Obama can fire Gates, put a Democrat in the Secretary of Defense position and still save a lot of face by redirecting the shitstorm at the GOP.

    Waster of electrons, unlawful enemy combatant.

    by meldroc on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:22:01 PM PST

    •  dignified climbdown (5+ / 0-)

      is the term you are seeking. Gandhi (also a community organizer.)

      éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é

      by Librarian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:13:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's absolutely (4+ / 0-)

      He's allows the republicans to retain responsibility for Iraq. It's a pretty smart move. I don't have any problem with it and basically am in agreement with the diarist.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:14:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

      You can't have it both ways. Either Obama is abandoning clear change, or he's doing it.

      You can't both 'let him save face' and retain the option to 'fire Gates'.

      Those are contradictory political choices. In fact, firing Gates in 10 months would be far, far worse than not appointing him to his cabinet in the first place. And there is zero reason to believe that conservative media would assign Obama any less blame if something goes wrong.

      Most likely, the opposite will occur. With Gates as SecDef, everything will be Obama's fault, not matter what; nothing will be blamed on Gates or his aides by the GOP blatherers.

      I understand the appeal of bipartisanship and keeping specific people on and so forth, I just think we shouldn't be starry-eyed if we're expecting some sort of present from the GOP in exchange.

      The GOP sees this kind of stuff as a weakness to exploit, not a compromise to reciprocate.

  •  I totally fucking agree. (7+ / 0-)

    Even with all the profanity.  Sometimes you just need the emphasis.

  •  That's what I like to hear (8+ / 0-)

    Some sanity for once. For those of you that think that retaining Gates means an abandonment of the "change" message, one can equally argue that the abandonment of purely partisan politics does represent the "change" we are looking for.

  •  It's a centre-left country (12+ / 0-)

    so how about a centre-left administration?

    For a change.

    What - the Republicans have a monopoly on competence now?

    After the last eight years, are you seriously trying to sell that as a talking point?

    "Be kind" - is that a religion?

    by ThatBritGuy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:51:38 PM PST

  •  Gates will serve only a year probably (0+ / 0-)

    I don't even think withdrawing is clearly the humane thing to do but I'm sold that beginning to withdraw and seeing what happens makes sense.  It makes sense to slow the transition to make sure our military isn't recklessly exposed.  That's essentially what this is- an extra careful transition.  Someone new, maybe Danzig, will likely be running Defense come 2010.

  •  My problem with Gates is the same as with all of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, neroden, rainmanjr, i like bbq

    Bush clowns competence.
    Just an example of his take on the war back in 03 which was as wrong as the rest. It would be nice to get some Cabinet secretaries that were right on something in the past as opposed to Clinton at state wrong on the war. Geithner at treasury wrong on deregulation like the rest of the Rubin disciples in the council of economic advisers. There were people that got these things right and seeing a few of them in these appointments might instill a little more confidence.

  •  Thankyou... (8+ / 0-)

    For your sane reasonable arguments.

    I agree that President-elect Obama (it still is refreshing to type that) knows what and why he is making the selections for his team that he is making. Gates can help with the transition in perilous times, IMO. Waiting to judge actions and results before attacking is the more prudent course.

    Never have I seen a President-elect be so ready before day one to provide the steady hand on the tiller. That is something to be grateful for!

    Remember Obama has said, mistakes may be made, they will be corrected.

  •  A convincing case made:-) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cat Whisperer, rainmanjr

    Especially the point that a Republican draws down the troops, so Democrats are less likely to be blamed for the lost war a decade later.

    •  Yeah, that stopped me. (0+ / 0-)

      We don't want another Nam-ending and Gates could keep that from happening.  I'm gonna put my ego aside and join the "Gates is a fine choice" crowd.  I'm so very proud of O, not just for winning but for being him, and don't want to see him fail.  He needs our full support and I won't give up on him until after a few years, should he have made some disastrous choices.

      "It's time to start all over/make a new beginning." - Tracy Chapman

      by rainmanjr on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:07:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This strikes me as one of those (8+ / 0-)

    "thank your lucky stars for corporate lawyer" kind of diaries.

    Sort of fits the mold, don't you think?

    Not that I entirely disagree with the diary.  I think there are strong pros and cons to each here.  I think it might be smart politics for Obama to do this.  Then again I think it sends a really bad message for him to do this.

    Nevertheless, this diary seems to be straight out of somebody's PR camp.

  •  Furthermore, Obama couldn't have BEEN clearer (14+ / 0-)

    during the primaries and the election that by change he meant an end of the partisan bickering in Washington.  Change meant getting things done, not as red America or blue America but as the United States of America.  He was pretty straightforward about it.  He was never going to be a George W. Bush for our side.  He REALLY IS a uniter.  THIS is what he meant.  If you thought otherwise, you just weren't listening.

  •  Thank you. (10+ / 0-)

    For posting a diary that gives Barack Obama some credit.  I've gotten really tired of hearing a whole lot of whining about a whole lot of nothing over the past few days.  I say we all give Obama some credit.  He's a very intelligent man making a lot of tough decisions and he's not even the President yet.

  •  So far, I'm liking what Obama is doing and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, newview88

    anyway who am I to question his judgment?? I did it a bunch of times during the primary season and he was almost always right. He is staying true to his message in the press conferences that he has had so far to introduce his new team. I remain convinced that he will do everything possible to deliver on his "change" message in the way that he articulated during his campaign of we had listened carefully to him. (His "change" message was more nuanced than many are prepared to acknowledge and it has always included large dollops of inclusiveness and reaching out to the other side.)

  •  Sec. Gates is Change as well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kaj, DemiGoddess

    When was the last time that a Defense Secretary was held over when administrations change and parties change? Does anyone know?

    Secretary McNamara served under LBJ before he was re-elected in 1964. But, I find the deal to keep Secretary Gates (for the time being) to be rather comforting. It also takes a lot of the freeper talking points out of play.

    I have warmed up to the idea of Senator Clinton as Secretary of State, though I must admit I preferred her to be Senate Majority Leader.

    And on repealing the Bu$h tax cuts --- permitting to expire in 2011 does something amazing --- it prevents Republicans from saying that Democrats voted to raise taxes when the 2010 midterms come around. Personally, I believe it's brilliant.

  •  This is disheartening, (13+ / 0-)

    not because I don't think people can make a cogent argument about Gates' competence, but because it represents a major and completely unjustified shift in site opinion over the last weeks.

    And this idea that Gates is not an ideologue?  Sheesh, I don't even know where to start:

    From LithiumCola's Robert Gates' New Rhetoric and The Forever War:

    Gates has become an open advocate for a forever war on the poor of this world who choose non-compliance with structures of power in their local habitations.  As a way of maintaining hegemony in a world of dwindling resources, this may be the only live option.  But to those who do not wish for hegemony, it ought to be anathema.

    From kos' story back in May about this very issue:

    The problem with putting a Republican at secretary of defense (or in the intelligence agencies) is that it reinforces the bullshit notion that only Republicans can be effective stewards of our national defense.

    Whether Gates has been a good Sec of Defense is irrelevant. There are plenty of Democrats who could ably fill that cabinet seat. There is no reason to reinforce a stereotype that has been damaging not just the Democratic Party -- but the nation itself. Iraq, anyone? After the last eight years, Republicans have no basis upon which to claim supremacy on national security issues.

    This is an election for change. If voters want Republicans at the Defense Department, they can vote for John McCain.

    Not to mention all the essays discussing Gates' involvement in Iran Contra, which should disqualify him from the position outright.

    The point I'm making is not that a case for Gates is out of the question (it is for me, but I don't expect to see eye-to-eye with everyone on this) - but that this sudden shift in site opinion not because of anything Gates has done, but solely because of Obama's choice is unnerving to say the least.

    And then the indignant backlash against people who've been consistently blogging against Gates for months?  ... It's just mind-boggling.  

    That doesn't include the diarist (and a small handful of others), who's been consistent in his/her support of Gates - and so I commend that consistency.  But not the ugly condescension of the diary towards people who might deign to disagree.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:22:50 AM PST

    •  Good points all...but I guess I was so (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, geejay

      disheartened by the Rumsfeld years that a competent criminal was/is something to be grateful for.  

      I'm not a Gates booster, but I do recognize that this cat has been positioning himself for this appointment for well over a year, regardless of the spin of "sacrifice" and "how much he wants to go back to Texas A&M" - blah blah blah.  Gates ahs successfully marketed himself to the Washington elite, and more importantly to enlisted personnel.  

      Bottom line: If the regular folks in the military want Gates to oversee their withdrawal - and that is non-negotiable in my book - then Gates can stay.  As soon as there is a whisper of undermining of the Obama agenda...OUT, AND off with his head.  

  •  Gates shouldn't be here in four years, though. (5+ / 0-)

    I'm perfectly happy to keep him on to take all the blame and flak for getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, cancelling 'missile defense', shrinking our bloated military budget, etc.  But once he's burned every ounce of effort he has working for us, it'll be time to appoint a Democrat.  And that will be in rather less than two years.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:30:11 AM PST

  •  Selling Us Out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, greeseyparrot, thethinveil

    Well, I don't feel that way, of course, because I have yet to buy anything Obama is selling. That said, if I were going to feel sold out, it would be based far more on the Democrats he seems to be choosing for his team, not Gates.

    I mean, Gates does represent change...he's a significant change from the kind of people who had been typically appointed to the Bush Administration, and a huge change over Rumsfeld.  The Democrats that Obama is appointing, on the other hand, don't represent any kind of change from the Clinton Administration. Many of them are the Clinton Administration.

    Does anyone remember how pigs-in-sh*t happy many people were when GW "The Family Dunce" Bush selected Dick Cheney and a lot of other people from Daddy's administration to serve in his own?  Because that meant that the inexperienced new president would have tons of experience to draw on? I do.

  •  I totally agree! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patop, Night Train

    Gates seems to be as universally respected in the non-neocon foreign policy establishment (including among people who resigned in disgust during the Bush administration) as Rumsfeld was universally reviled.

    I'll sff one more way in which Obama is doing what he told us he'd do:  He told us that we needed to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless about getting in.  Gates is a careful guy who I think, from reading between the lines of various things he's said, doesn't really think that getting into the Iraq mess was a triumph of American foreign policy.  When he's serving in an administration that WANTS to carefully get out, rather than one that wants to justify its own decision to get in in the first place, I think we may be pleasantly surprised.

  •  Good diary. Strangely, the only pick Obama has (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    made that I am not real thrilled with is Geithner, but I know he's smart and educated and I am sure I will warm up to him.

    I am very curious to see who he picks for CIA and Interior.  

  •  I guess I have an old fashioned view (8+ / 0-)

    That the Cabinet and other advisers to the President are his persoal choices to help him get done what he wants to get done, and he decides who can best help him accomplish these goals. They are his staff that serve at his "pleasure", and while I might tend to like some of them and dislike others, it is ultimately the President and not the staff that bears the full responsibility of what is or is not accomplished in his administration.

    That being the case, I support Obama's decision to pick just about anyone that he trusts and considers competent enough to achieve his goals, and I will judge those decisions based on the results of the administration, rather than second guess everything Obama is trying to do.

    I do not necessarily carry this thinking over to other appointments such as judges and particularly Supreme Court Justices who do not serve at the President's pleasure.

    Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude.

    by InsultComicDog on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:44:28 AM PST

  •  The "optics" are that there are no Democrats... (6+ / 0-)

    ...who know enough about national security to handle being Secretary of Defense. Democrats appoint Republicans as SoD, but Republicans never, ever appoint Democrats as SoD. What kind of "optics" is itwhen you have a Republican SoD 51.5 of the last 60 years?

    The payoff for continuing to make Democrats look weak on national security and military affairs better be pretty fucking huge.

    •  Then you have a choice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherriG, FistJab

      getting the job done well, or worrying about perceptions.

      if he's successful, his choice is what is important, not the background of the person who carried it out.

      That's another optic.

      Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

      by valadon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:12:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is that really the only choice? (5+ / 0-)


        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:48:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  of course not (0+ / 0-)

          i don't think it's wise to be limited to an either or choice...this was just an example.

          Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

          by valadon on Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 02:14:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, perceptions do matter. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They influence elections, for one thing.  

        I like Jimmy Carter, but what he did while he was President deeply influenced the perception of the Democratic Party for years, most of it negatively.  Those perceptions, as much as anything, led to the Republican victories of the last three decades (though it's little noted that Republican dominance has been out of proportion to their actual success at the voting booth).  

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:53:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't argue that-but what if other perceptions (0+ / 0-)

          are important or maybe even more effective than some conventional wisdom?

          Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

          by valadon on Thu Nov 27, 2008 at 02:16:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Obama pretty much owned McCain on national (0+ / 0-)

      security for the most part. Polls constantly showed them pretty even and nobody bought McCain every lasting love of the surge.  Nobody bought that we can't talk to our enemies.  I don't think Obama has shown any type of "democratic weakness" on that issue at all.   He beat the war hero.   I think some people are way too caught up in how things look from a democratic perspective then the reality of the situation.

  •  Good diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemiGoddess, amk for obama

    I was totally against gates. But you made some good points and I am, for now, placated.

  •  Patreus helped us to forget non partisan military (0+ / 0-)

    You mean those Generals aren't elected?

    Sorry about your rights, we hope to have them restored shortly.

    by qi motuoche on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:11:16 AM PST

  •  Gates may not be bad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, leonard145b

    But he has some neocons in his staff. Now those same neocons will continue to use power.

    In politics it may look nice to treat your enemies well, but they will just see it as weakness. The GOP will love this.

    "Hey Joe, could you check his bearings. Again!"

    by allmost liberal european on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:14:39 AM PST

    •  Nope, Obama is replacing a lot of his deputies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Look for the neo-cons to be purged.

      •  Link? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You are the first definite voice I've heard on this.

        •  I ran across this from Politico (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SherriG, rainmanjr, leonard145b

          Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to stay on under President-elect Barack Obama, according to officials in both parties. Obama plans to announce a national-security team early next week that includes Gates at the Pentagon and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as secretary of state, officials said.

          Retired Marine Gen. James Jones, former Marine commandant and commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe, will be named national security adviser, the officials said.


          Gates has been negotiating with Obama emissaries over his deputies — some will be retained, and some new — and how the Pentagon will be run.

          The article doesn't' give specific names though.  Hopefully the hardcore neocons will be shown the door.

          Full article here:

          Gates agrees to stay on under Obama

  •  Art of the Possible, i am on board (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exmearden, vbdietz, evora

    here is a question: let's say Obama comes in after the inauguration, and tries to appoint, say, Dennis Kucinich as head of, i dunno, Labor? what happens?

    much sound and fury, and NO POLICY. why? nothing wrong with Dennis, he's great. but...what could he get done? in the current climate? given who and what he would have to work with?

    i know i hired the right person for this job (Obama) and i trust him (and my own judgement) enough to give the man a chance to DO the damn job, before i start losing my head over every frickin' rumor. i am his boss, and at this point i totally still have his back--let the man show us what he can do, for Pete's sake! Review One comes in 2010.

    if that is not enough, i have two words:

    Melody Barnes

    (and if you don't know what that means, why are you even online bitching about this crap?)

    1. this is multi-level Star Trek fuckin' CHESS. i know just enough about The Hill to be certain that i could not go down there and make shit happen. i think Obama can, and that is why i hired the dude.
    1. it is about what CAN BE DONE (and not about making statements, or seeming to support, or any of that...WE HAVE THINGS TO DO.)

    i'm honestly not worried, but i am paying attention (partly because...and here is a thought: when you "leak" certain names, when you "float" something, the level and nature of the response tells you something about how far IN THE OTHER DIRECTION you can go! oh...duh, wah? yeah. that. get caught up to the reading for today's class, yeah?)

    there was a great photo passing around the other day, and the caption was: Chill. I GOT this.

    continue by all means to send the transition team your input--they can USE it. and, i think they WILL.

    éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é

    by Librarian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:29:32 AM PST

  •  The Pentagon is hostile to Democratic leaders (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davidkc, Sam I Am, DemiGoddess

    Most of the top brass are Republicans and have little respect for Democrats. Remember Bill Clinton's first SecDef, Les Aspin? Somalia and Don't ask Don't Tell put the poor man in a hole and made his poor heart give out. I think what the transition team is trying to do is avoid the mistakes that happened to the last Democratic administration. With two wars and and the economy in the tank they had no choice but to leave Gates there.

    "The struggle of humanity against power, is the struggle of memory against forgetting." -- Milan Kundera

    by LV Pol Girl on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:33:05 AM PST

    •  I'm hoping he considers Leslie Clark (0+ / 0-)

      for something, maybe DoD.  

      Alot of the politicized officer corp has to be cleaned out.

      The worst part is the evangelical fundies having taken over the Air Force Academy.  

      If you wanted to install a dictatorship in the U.S., you'd have to control the officer corp.  

      If Bush wanted to, he could purge the officer corp of it's non-wingnut-fundies over the Thanks Giving day holiday.  

      Four weeks later, after things had simmered down,  over the Christmas week holidays he could call a national emergency, maybe blame it on the economy, whatever.  

      Four weeks later still, he could suspend the inaugeration - say for one mounth. Four weeks later, for another mounth. Four weeks later, for three months.  Three months later, suspend it until the 2012 election. Voila, you have a dictatorship.  

      He'd have iron clad control of the military through the fundies - no one could stop him if he chose to do this.


    •  What I remember (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq

      was that a lot of the senior military dislike of Clinton was personal, not that he was a Democrat.    To start with, he was a draft dodger.   I remember reading that he irritated them by being late for meetings.  They didn't feel he was respectful.

      But, he ultimately did right by them.   The early successes in Afghanistan and Iraq were done with a military which Bush policies had not taken their corrosive effect.    Bush talked a good game, but in the end he used the senior military staff as a scapegoat, blaming them for his poor decisions, but cleverly making it sound like he was being deferential.

      I suspect most of them will be glad its over.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:51:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I guess we should have voted for McCain then n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  You are correct (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemiGoddess, vbdietz, Night Train

    If you wanted a Democrat who'd treat the Republicans like the Republicans just treated us, well, you voted for the wrong candidate.

    Spot on.  I don't want Gates to stay for long, but I can see the reason he is staying now.  I also think every person Obama appoints is going to have something someone doesn't like. Push back is fine and needed and we do need to let them know what we think, but from my perspective people are more interested in seeing the change now and not really listening to what Obama is saying.  I'm not sure he's saying things much differently then he was in the campaign.  

  •  Is Gates warming the seat for Wes? (4+ / 0-)

    I knew Wes hadn't been retired long enough to be Sec. of Defense.  I forget exactly how many years he needs.  I'm hoping that Gates is keeping that seat warm for Wes.

    "What is being noticed is only an indication of what is being done." Albert Einstein 1954

    by tundraman on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:57:16 AM PST

  •  It's no surprise that Obama is keeping Gates. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Kaj, testvet6778, SherriG

    I was hoping he would.  Gates is a good guy and he knows what's going on over there.  Getting out will be tricky, not a good time for someone new to jump in.  Plus, I think Gates would like a chance to redeem himself and show he's a professional, not a Bushie.

    One house, One Spouse, Obama'08

    by GMFORD on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:59:45 AM PST

  •  I don't subscribe to 'believing is seeing,' .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, lotlizard, rainmanjr

    so I will wait to see what actually happens, before I judge the situation.

    Obama promised change; he promised to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, right up to the election, for example.  

    I voted for the Democratic ticket based on what I heard and believed Obama to be truthfully putting forth.  

    I am not willing to let a belief in Obama mask reality after Jan 20.  Let's see what actually happens.  Will the banks and WS get hundreds and billions more but people in the country become homeless in larger numbers, living in the streets?  

    Right now, we have 10,000+ foreclosures a week, we have record numbers of first time unemployment claims, we have record numbers of those applying for food stamps.  "Meanwhile," the banks and Wall Street are given gifts of 4.2 trillion dollars according to latest estimates.   How much is spent to rescue families, the unemployed, the bankrupt, the sick who cannot afford health care?   Not much.

    So, I will wait to see what happens, but with Rubin's Citigroup in charge of bailouts, I don't expect to see real tangible help coming to Main Street, but more billons to his banking friends and WS friends.

    Obama has not hired compassionate people, they are corporate suits.   But, I will wait to see what happens.

    Good luck and be glad if you are not unemployed, without health care, without food.

  •  Thank you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemiGoddess, alexa100, General Hubbub

    That's EXACTLY how I feel.  George Bush believed that personnel was policy and we got both CRAPPY policy and personnel.  Look at Bush now.  Secretary Paulson is acting like the president when it comes to the treasury.  Bush has checked out as president and I would argue was never really a leader from Iraq to Katrina.

    This is different from Reagan who believed that the PRESIDENT is the policy and the personnel just enact that policy but don't set it.  Reagan's cabinet was a bunch of MODERATE Republicans yet Reagan enacted a very CONSERVATIVE policy.  He used those people in his cabinet because they were EFFECTIVE.

    Obama's extremely strong cabinet will ENACT his policy.  They were chosen to GET THINGS DONE.

    Obama's goal is still to get out of Iraq in 16 months and what better way to facilitate is to have the Secretary of Defense remain to enact that.  There will be NO LEARNING CURVE so everything will be ready to go.  Plus Obama needs counterweight to General Patraeus to get out of Iraq since Patraeus doesn't want to.  General Jim Jones who will be Obama's NSA and Bob Gates will be that counterweight.  

    If Gates was NOT on board with the notion of getting out of Iraq, he wouldn't have accepted to stay on for a year or so.  My prediction is that he stays until we are out of Iraq which realistically will take 2 years.  Now don't beat up Obama if it takes 24 months rather than 16 months to get out.  At least we are OUT when a Republican president would have kept us there.

    "Because we won...we have to win." Obama - 6/6/08. WELL WE DID IT!!! 11/4/08

    by Drdemocrat on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:11:09 AM PST

  •  ok..I'm sold on your arguments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, rainmanjr
  •  SALUTE I am one of the veterans that agree on (9+ / 0-)

    Gates staying for the next year at least then move Wes Clark in, we want to see President Obama move this nation in great ways, give the man a chance, I have HOPE  do you?

  •  "cover" (6+ / 0-)

    I am sorry but this absolute nonsense. This once again buys into right wing mythology and implicitly claims Democrats are weak on defense and only Republicans are the grown ups who can handle military issues.

    When 70% of the American people want us out of Iraq, when even more think the war was a horrible mistake, and when in 2 elections in a row the American people give the Democratic Party a massive mandate to change things in our foreign policy and END the war there, we are told now that "only Gates can provide cover" lest we get labeled un-American dirty fucking hippies for delivering the promise that the vast majority of Americans want?

    So Republicans will claim "they stabbed us in the back" and so fucking what? They have already been doing that since 2004 if we haven't noticed, and with miserable results. If anything, you would think Obama would like to take credit for ending this war successfully and doing it quickly and in an orderly and professional manner, not pass the buck to George Bush's secretary of defense for "cover." No cover is needed.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:35:16 AM PST

    •  some good points (0+ / 0-)

      I agree we don't need cover - As Democrats we can manage Defense and we will show them that very soon.

      I think with the country in a tail spin and our economy is prudent to keep Gates there while you focus your energies on "stabalizing" the economy.

      ..PLUS the Iraqi government and people want us OUT! We now have a timetable for withdrawl and I actually love the idea that a Bush appointee has to oversee the beginning of the withdrawl. Poetic justice I think.

      In addition, with Hilary and her full circus, ringmaster and clowns coming to the State Department, you need some sense of continuance. This is a dangerous world and I prefer in the short term for Gates to be there, as Obama builds his Pentagon and Security Team to take over in a year.

  •  Tipped and Recommended for this (6+ / 0-)

    I want President Obama to succeed in actually governing.

    After 8 years of government by photo-op and talking point, I totally agree.

    "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

    by littlesky on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:52:10 AM PST

  •  This (6+ / 0-)

    I honestly would prefer he accomplish some great things in four years and LOSE than tread water, pass the buck, and get re-elected.

    is worth a rec all by itself, I think.

  •  Where's the trust?? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    newview88, japangypsy, kathryn1812

    We have to trust this guy (Obama).  He knows what he is doing.  I think keeping Gates on makes perfect sense and will help tremendously with the military.  I remember reading a piece in the last few weeks describing the very negative reaction from some of the troops to Obama's win.  Keeping Gates, in my humble opinion, says to them that Obama has their backs, that he respects their leaders, that he will be methodical regarding the transition.

    I have spent little time here since the election because it seems like so much of what is written is whining and criticizing Obama.  For cripe's sake, the guy isn't in office yet!  He is NOT going to do everything that every single person here wants him to do but I dare say that he will be the smartest, most pragmatic, productive and compassionate leader we may see in our lifetimes.  

    We have to give him a chance, not a pass, but a chance.  How many times during the primaries have bloggers, pundits and op-ed writers criticized him only to realize in the end that he was right about what he was doing??  This is a HUGE undertaking and he needs our support not armchair quarterbacking.  JMHO.

    Thank you for speaking out!  

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by doghaven on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:59:24 AM PST

  •  Hear, hear, Very Well Put (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, leonard145b, nolakohler

    This is all about success.  Obama will be successful by being clear-headed and pragmatic, not by being an ideologue.  I was no Gates fan.  I always thought he was a Bush stooge (GHW Bush), but he is a realist, as you have shown.  He also left a very good job to take on what can be viewed as a thankless job.  I think this is the right choice.

  •  They will obstruct no matter what... (0+ / 0-)

    So I say full speed ahead on the back breaking plan.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:19:19 AM PST

  •  the real test will be to see what (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, kathryn1812

    the changes in Defense policy are and how Gates carries them out.

    I say give it time before we decide how it will work out.

    Obama's number one focus will need to be on the economy.

    I bet if there were not economic meltdown now Obama would have picked someone else.

    I think it is good move given the economic situation.

  •  One comment re: politics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, rainmanjr, leonard145b

    In your diary you chide people here for injecting politics into their dissatisfaction with keeping Gates on as SoD (i.e., because he's a Republican), yet you yourself argue that Obama's move to keep Gates is a political "masterstroke" (because it gives him lots of political cover because he keeps on a Republican SoD from the Republican Bush administration).  So you, too, are injecting politics and political affiliation into this entire argument.  So, I don't think it's really fair to criticize people who focus on a SoD's political affiliation, since that is part of your argument too.

    With that said, I don't really care if Gates is a Republican.  Any displeasure I have in keeping him on has to do with his past statements that have shown some support for Bush's unilateral, pre-emptive strike philosophy and with some things that have not gone so great under Gates's watch (such as the recent tightening of benefits for wounded veterans).  Still, I see two good reasons for keeping Gates at Defense, at least for now.  One reason is the "poltical cover" argument that you make in your diary.  The second is more practical.  With all the problems going on in the economy right now, Obama really needs to focus all of his attention on the economy when he first takes office, so it makes a lot of sense to have some continuity at Defense.  And unlike most Bush appointees, Gates isn't totally screwing up everything he touches, which is really saying something!

  •  I trusted Obama with my vote. (7+ / 0-)

    I trusted him to use it as wisely as he could.  I trust him about Gates, and his reasons for keeping him.  I'll complain when I feel it's necessary.  This isn't one of those times.  Great diary.

    •  Never Trust Any Politician...Ever (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, lotlizard

      We put in the 'least bad' ones, none of them are particularly good.  The day we stop pressuring them is the day the special interests a.k.a. the corporate interests get their way, with no worry about what the grassroots might thing.

      I am not ready to attack Obama yet.  I still want to bask in the glory of Inauguration Day.  But actions are louder than appointments, and if his Administration becomes too corporate and war-mongering, and if he breaks his promises for change, I, for one, intend to make a lot of noise.

  •  Writing as strictly an unimpassioned observer (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davidkc, lotlizard, Snud, axman, bigchin, High Tide

    (I really don't care what Obama's cabinet looks like as long as he has a good policy), you could have 86ed the first paragraph. Self aggrandizement really gets old. It's a shame because it ruined me for the rest of the diary that probably had some truth to it. When anyone makes themselves smarter than everyone else, they automatically lose credibility with me. Don't try to be a legend in your own mind. Some of us don't shout.

    You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war..... Albert Einstein,

    by tazz on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:47:12 AM PST

  •  Well Stated! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Kaj, kathryn1812

    I think keeping Gates for another year is a very wise thing to do....You don't throw out the baby with the bathwater and this bathwater is pretty deep.

  •  Marginalized in my own country... (7+ / 0-)

    Frankly since the Monica L scandle broke, I have been told in the "liberal media", at the pulpit and in social and work situations that to be a Democrat is to be morally misguided.  

    Since the election of GWB, just a few of the messages I have heard from top White House officials:

    1. If you are a Democrat you are not fit to serve in the Justice Department.
    1. That Joe Wilson must be destroyed because "he is a Democrat."
    1. Democrats will not just hug the trees but the terrorists.

    The message I heard when both Bush and McCain gave speeches was to be afraid be very afraid of those unpatriotic Democrats.  Only the Republican citizens deserve to govern or to vote and even breath American air.

    For the past 8 years I have cried out for a government and a Leader that cared about ME as a Democrat and an American.  And I have felt rage.  Would have welcomed vengance!  Especially during Karl Rove's period of influence.

    However, I now have at least a chance to carry the flaming torch to the castle, to scream for their heads.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the White House, the very mindset that makes me a Democrat has shaped my opinions.

    I believe in inclusion and peaceful existance with my fellow man regardless of his race, disability, culture or yes....political party.

    I will reach across the ailse simply because it is the right thing to do.  I will support the right people for the right jobs.  I will stand by the belief in a United States of America.

    Thank you for this diary, and for believing in that also.

  •  You (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Kaj, DemiGoddess, kathryn1812

    make a lot of sense!

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:52:55 AM PST

  •  Have less problem with Gates than Clinton (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Spud1, davidkc, thethinveil

    As SOS, Clinton sends absolutely wrong message to the world and worse Clintons don't know the meaning of keeping their darn mouths shut nor putting aside their huge egos to work as part of a team.

    Ugh, I absolutely LOATHE the pick of HRC as SOS.

    And ironically this die-hard liberal has far LESS trouble with Gates at Defense.

    Gates, from what I've seen and read, doesn't really want to stay on, so it's not about a power-hungry neocon refusing to give up reins. In fact, sounds like he's so fucking tired he was really looking forward to going back to quiet University life. Doesn't sound like a guy with political aspirations nor an ego as big as Texas.

    After 2 years of hell trying to keep FIX Bush/Cheney's messes, Gates was ready to go but his new president specifically asked him to stay on for 6 months to a year, likely to train the new Sec of DEF of where the bodies are really buried and how to weed out more neocons.

    I took note that Gates has actually agreed with Obama on use/need of soft power and diplomacy far more than his Bush/McCain. If you watched carefully Gates undercut McCain several times on national security and Iran during GE.

    It's Petraeus and Clinton that I fear will screw Obama, those two are power-hungry, ruthless backstabbers with egos so huge they willbe nothing but trouble for Obama at his Machivallian best.

    •  But of course you loathe HRC (0+ / 0-)

      what self respecting kossack doesn't loathe her.

      Good thing Obama's not a kossack.

      "I do think it is kind of sad when everybody who owns a laptop thinks they are Thomas Paine" Redlief take on Helen Thomas, 2008

      by redlief on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:37:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Eh, I loathed Clintons long before finding Kos (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Heck, I've loathed the Clintons since the 90s decade before I ever heard of Barack Obama...

        So no I don't always share his feelings nor his opinions.

        Go figure, I don't need to. His hold NEW POLITICS is about finding common ground and on Gate we did.

        On Clintons we have to agree to disagree.

  •  I think Gates was a good decision, he is fully (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Rumour95

    aware of what is going on right now.  It wouldn't be wise for Obama to remove him right now.

    This way he can feel comfortable the Gates is aware of the situation and Obama can concentrate on the economy.

    I am more concerned over Larry Sumner than I am Gates.

  •  Great diary (3+ / 0-)

    Tipped and rec'd.

    My sig line is where I stand on his decisions.  I'm just a bit of a politics junkie, who am I to question him?

    I trust President-Elect Obama's judgment.

    by BlueInRedCincy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:56:25 AM PST

  •  I am in favor of Gates staying for a year or so (3+ / 0-)
    until he's ready to retire (as he has already noted). & Wes Clark is eligible without waiver. Smooth-er transitions all round.

    Former soldier. Fighting for my country. Every day.

    by SilverWings on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:05:45 AM PST

  •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, artmartin

    I wholeheartedly agree.  The things that need to be changed are being changed.  Gates should see this through.  

    And AFAIC, Obama is smarter than all of us.  We should trust him on this.

  •  Good Try - I still disagree with you (6+ / 0-)

    I dont buy the "cover" argument.  It is very silly and an attempt to find an explanation why Obama is doing things like that.   We all like Barack and we all want him desperately to succeed.  But that does not mean that everything he does is right.  I wrote a diary yesterday in which I strongly disagree with keeping gates.  But there are two points that you made above that deserve a comment.


    Barack Obama is picking people he trusts with incredibly important tasks.

    So, he trusts Gates?  Why not Hagel to move fast to get us out of Iraq.  


    He hasn't sold us out.  

    I dont think anyone believes that.   However, I believe that he is under extreme pressure already by certain interests to maintain the status quo in some areas.   One could argue that there is "some" rationale in keeping Gates, although I disagree strongly.  But there is none in keeping Lieberman and encouraging the senate dems to keep him.  None. Zero.

  •  Damn your logic! It should have been "Only Nixon (0+ / 0-)

    could go to jail." or perhaps "I am not a crook."

    This is just to say Forgive us victory tastes delicious so sweet and so cold

    by Dave the Wave on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:31:10 AM PST

  •  Just one thing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, lotlizard

    If he's onboard with the withdrawal there's literally NO good policy reason or competency reason to yank him.

                There is absolutely no evidence that Gates or any of the other big three - Mullen, Petraeus and Odierno - are on board with Obama's Iraq withdrawal timeline. Petraeus has made his position absolutely clear on this. Mullen was reported as criticizing Obama's plan even after he was elected President.Odierno is against withdrawing one or two brigades per month and wants a much bigger residual force in Iraq even after main withdrawal is complete. Absent any new evidence, I'll continue to think that Gates appointment is a big mistake especially because Obama ran on an Iraqi withdrawal timeline and therefore needs no cover.

                 Secondly, I simply don't trust all the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz people that surround Gates. You know the same people that formulate and execute policies. A President can set up any number of guidelines he wants if his subordinates are undercutting him nothing will ever get done.

  •  sorry, no (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    furi kuri, Shawn in ShowMe, apip0115

    if the primary and presidential election proved anything it's that Obama routinely picks the wrong people to run his organization and makes blunder after blunder on policy. how he got to be president i will never know, but if he doesn't listen to me now he is certain to fail.


    If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

    by indefinitelee on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:52:44 AM PST

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kaj, rainmanjr

    My sentiments exactly.

    I'm no fan of Gates, but he is not a Rumsfeld, not by a long shot.

    The W ... it stands for Wrong.

    by nosleep4u on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:54:00 AM PST

  •  Blah ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigchin, thethinveil

    If you have to write a journal justifying his picks, it means they are not very good picks.  

    Laughing at us that we will not be heard is no way to build a community.

    This is not a good journal.

    Still waiting for real change

    by noofsh on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:54:20 AM PST

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you have to write a journal justifying his picks, it means they are not very good picks.


      So in your view, a "very good pick" would have no less than 100% support, and therefore no need for justification?

      Many here wrote diary after diary justifying the choice of Obama over Clinton, and then Obama over McCain.  By your logic, that means that Obama must not have been a "very good pick".

      Until the economy recovers, I'll settle for cheap laughs

      by Clyde the Cat on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:16:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary. My only concern with Gates is...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not Gates, per say, but the people around Gates.  Hard core Bushies.  I sure would like to see a thorough venting of the air in that place.

  •  I pretty much agree... (0+ / 0-)

    with your sentiments.

    But evidentially you don't know Obama as well as your title would have us believe.

    I seriously doubt he'd use terms like "ineffectual idiots," "you people," etc. to win over skeptics.

    When you manage to annoy people who agree with you how do you think people that don't will react?

  •  The key issue seems to be (0+ / 0-)

    whether it is more efficient to get a progressive agenda passed &/or executed with center-right/center-left people as advisors or not. I am hoping that President-elect Obama plans to make sweeping changes and thinks it's easier doing it w centrist advisors. I do not know.

    I am waiting. Even patiently.

    "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

    by hester on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:04:14 AM PST

  •  Holy shit, a clue... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bwintx, rainmanjr

    A real, honest clue about the importance of competence over ideology in the DoD.  There's hope for the Democrats yet.

    Thanks for having one, and thanks for sharing it in such...brutal fashion.

  •  Well Said!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    perro amarillo, rainmanjr

    I've been saying the same thing..People need to CALM down!  Let's give him a chance to pick his team, develop a strategy, (be sworn in) and execute before we start nit-picking.  

    So far, I think he's doing exactly what he said he would, select the best minds and abilities to work these challenging issues, as well as work across party lines.  Remember, he said he wants to be president of ALL citizens.  Not Red States or Blue States...but the UNITED STATES!

    Great diary!

  •  I trust my new president (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Babsnc, apip0115

    to be as effective as possible. everyone needs to chill out.

    The Meek Will Inherit The Earth

    by donailin on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:11:27 AM PST

  •  to buy this argument (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, joanneleon, bigchin, i like bbq
    you must buy into the basic premises of the US security state, and most of the evil that is done in its name (barring little niceties like the torture of individuals). Some of us here don't, thank God. Some of us see it as evil. Some of us had some hope--perhaps vain--that Obama, at circumspectly, did not either.

    The political argument I buy. And I can be convinced that the point is to move first from square A to square B. But let's not insult one another by implying that we're screwing things up for Obama or being concern trolls when some of us continue to stand up for the truth, and for justice, too. That, to my mind, is what this site and a left flank or for.

  •  Obama's a realist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madame defarge

    Obama has always been a pragmatist which stretches back to his days as a state senator.

  •  I have no problem with the Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    except the parenthetical in the title. If there's an indication in the Diary that the Diarist "knows" Obama, I may have missed it. What's being described here is inductive and deductive reasoning, rather than personal knowledge.  Maybe that's in Part I?

    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:18:26 AM PST

  •  thank you thank you (0+ / 0-)

    these fools don't really understand obama

    all they see is change, which probably mean to them, new face and new democrats without working with repubs.

    when obama been talking about this many time during the early months of this year, He said we have to work with repubs and independents to bring change from the bottom up,

    now thats change I can believe in, and I see where he taking this, from hiring the old heads of the clinton era and the outsiders of Washington. To reshape his thinking cap

  •  SURELY you don't mean to suggest that WE... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fisheye, Rumour95

    ...have any sort of responsibility here.

    I mean, we can pretty much say whatever we want, so that means we should, right?  I thought this was all about sayin' whatever came to mind without all that bothersome careful consideration.  You couldn't possibly be implying that we should excercise some self-restraint from time to time, because this is America, and that would be you tryin' to take away our freedom!  What next?  Will you ask us to register our blogguns?   Or will you just come and TAKE 'EM?

    Why do you hate America?


    The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

    by Leftcandid on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:26:45 AM PST

  •  People think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn in ShowMe

    "change" means change of people. But in reality, change means a different way of looking at things and a different way of doing things. Change means thinking and working outside the box with what you've got.

  •  Pentagon exulted after "losing" Rumsfeld (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The appointed military "keepers" of the Sec of Defense exulted when Rumsfeld was shown the door, and Gates was ushered in (whoever the "decider" was on that one, thanks for realizing what was known forever and a day about that useless, actively harmful to our hardworking/overworked military, Rum-head!) -- and President Obama will get the extra mileage we deserve from that inspired/fortuitous change of direction at the Pentagon.

    The women and men who make our military run, from the enlisted and on over to the military academy types, finally have the top-level leadership to match their every-moment-counts dedication to their assigned mission. Use the heck out of Gates -- he's more than up to the reclamation of leadership assignment in the job he has done admirably well, considering what he was left to begin work with!

    The personal is the political.

    by sawcielackey on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:28:07 AM PST

  •  joining the chorus... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    perro amarillo, apip0115

    I see a lot of support for your diary here.  I agree with your premise.  Obama is actually making quite a few appointments based on competency over policy.  We have to assume that the policy will come from the top down.  If not we have a problem, but until then I am pleased with his choices.

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

    by choco38 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:29:18 AM PST

  •  That's what I'm sayin. (0+ / 0-)

    I am just extremely happy and amazed right now with how well and organized this transition seems to be coming together. Obama is taking this very seriously anyone can see that and I'm impressed. So I'm going to choose not to bitch about everything just yet.

    "It may look dark tonight, but if I hold on to hope, tomorrow will be brighter."

    by apip0115 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:29:41 AM PST

  •  HEY, some of us ARE a pack of ineffectual idiots, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paxpdx, Cat Whisperer, rainmanjr, vbdietz

    just so you know where we stand. Sheesh. I mean really.
    Hold on, (No, I'm down here. Yes, Ma, I will take it out. Honest. And popcorn would be great!) Thanks. Oh, wait (And lots of salt and butter, ma!")

    Obama promised to keep GOP folks close to him, to govern the country, not simply the Democratics, and to reach across the aisle.

    Gates' choice is brilliant on several levels.

    a.  Gates has been doing a credible job, and the way he has outmaneuvered Darth on Iran has been a thing of beauty. I almost wonder if Gates has allowed the increase in Somali piracy if only to signal Cheney that Gates' plan to move one fleet back to the Indian Ocean will be accomplished, instead of sitting like a drunk in his front yard, loading and cleaning his shotguns, mumbling about taking aim at the kids next door.

    b. The MSM has never thought through any move by Obama, which explains their frequent surprise and shock at his moves. They clearly missed the boat on Gates.

    c. The real thing of beauty is what Obama has done to the rabid sTalking mouths of the GOP, the stinking fish heads, like Rush, Trent Lott, Sean, Boehner, and McConnell. BY selecting Gates, their line of attack "Obama is weak on terra!" suddenly disapperates faster than Harry Potter in a fireplace. I can almost hear the grinding of their molars even now.

    d. Most importantly, it provides a steady hand, continuity, and predictability, things that our allies, our enemies and most of all, OUR TROOPS need to see.

    I don't care if someone is conservative, liberal, moderate, or even apolitical. If they have a task to do, and they approach it rationally and do their best, then that is all we can ask of them. Gates is a consummate pro  and keeping him during the transition is brilliant. Even better, it allows Obama to avoid a fight that we really don't need - a confirmation fight with an angry, castrated, recently shrunk, regional party called the GOP. And you can bet that they would have strung the SecDeaf nominee along for months.

    The same applies to Hillary. I don't like her, I never did, not since I met her years ago. But foreign nations dealing with her will much prefer her brains (which are considerable), and her words (which will be Obama's) to Condi, Cheney or any other Bushie.  Just look at the snub at the last foreign meeting. Not one hand shake? In Diplo-speak, Bush just received a global slap of the glove.
    And that recent kerfluffle that Bill festooned on the media? That's just Bill being Bill. And even he realizes that it is no longer about him, but about this country's future. He will behave, or at least try.

    His economic team? How many here understand what a swap is? or a future's short? Or a derivative, and how they were packaged, sold, insured, repackaged, and resold, like the Japanese real estate market of the 1980s?

    Frankly, given the dire nature of our problems, even if Summers is biased, a male chauvinist, AND a card carrying member some species of porcine animal, when your ship is lost at sea, the last person you throw overboard is your navigator. Yes, we have some purity trolls who hate Summers, and often, more by rumor and gossip, than a real knowledge of who he is.

    I now return control of this station to you. You control the horizontal. You control the vertical.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:30:57 AM PST

    •  MSM and Gates (0+ / 0-)

      b. The MSM has never thought through any move by Obama, which explains their frequent surprise and shock at his moves. They clearly missed the boat on Gates.

      I'm not seeing any real surprise from the tv news channels about Gates.  The reaction is more like "Meh".

      Leaving Gates in place has been discussed in the news for months now.  I hate to defend the MSM, but they weren't caught off guard on this one.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:43:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but has there been ANY (0+ / 0-)

        analysis of that choice? Not one bit. Of course, today's MSM is all glitz and surface buzz, not real journalism. There are a few exceptions, like what NYT and WaPo have done with the VA and VA hospitals. Or like how they cover a missing blond besotted bimbette.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:56:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No disagreement there (0+ / 0-)

          on their quality of journalism, analysis, etc.

          I was responding to just one part of your comment -- the issue of Gates being a surprise to the MSM.  

          And, no, I haven't seen much of anything that could be called "analysis" about the Gates retention, but over the last weeks and months I've read articles that put forth a lot of speculation, and many statements from people who know him and such.  There were tons of contradictions.  The ones I read seemed to doubt that Gates wanted to or would agree to stay.  However, last night on KO Wolffe said this was what Gates was trying to arrange for a long time now.  Last night and today they've been saying it's confirmed and official, and then they go on to the next subject, like it had always been well known, with hardly any discussion of the topic.

          BTW, it isn't "official" yet is it?  

          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

          by joanneleon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:07:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  umm.... you said (6+ / 0-)

    But try to remember that running a one-party executive that ignores the concerns of the minority party was completely and utterly fucking retarded when the Republicans did it.
    First of all, everything the Republicans did was "retarded", it was less about ignoring the opposition than about the fact that they were greedy, amoral, scumbag idiots. If Obama wants to keep Gates on, he's earned the right to that decision.
    It may be the right one now in Gates's particular case, but the idea that smart people need to listen to discredited wankers in the spirit of bipartisanship is absurd. By discredited wankers I mean 98% of the Republican party. Talk to the 2%, tolerate the blue dogs, fuck everybody else. There's a narrow window open to pass truly progressive legislation, and there is an existing mandate from the voters.

    •  On that note (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crackpot, zett, bigchin

      But try to remember that running a one-party executive that ignores the concerns of the minority party was completely and utterly fucking retarded when the Republicans did it.

      When it came to pushing his agenda, Bush was actually a very, very succesful president. The Dems rolled over and played dead on command, and the Republicans got what they wanted on demand. It was only because their policies are so daft everything fell apart, and not because they ran a "one-party executive". So I'd be happy to see Obama treat the GOP similarly, since I assume that we all - Obama included - are in favour of actually enacting Democratic policy.

    •  Great, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crackpot, zett, i like bbq

      they were greedy, amoral, scumbag idiots.

      Although I liked this diary, it wasn't because I agreed with it, But because of the comments it brought out.
      And I love this one.

      Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again!

      by axman on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:27:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm happy to hear the concerns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigchin, ronny mermaid

    because there are precious few places where you can hear an unfiltered voice and because I think debate is healthy, and because often I find out something I didn't know before, and because that's one of the most important functions of the progressive blogosphere, IMHO.

    I'm inclined to think that keeping Gates in place temporarily is a good move, but only with many replacements chosen by Obama in the Pentagon, with careful removal of neocon influences, and only with a mission of getting us out of Iraq.

    The caution about Gates isn't because he's not a Democrat.  It's because he was chosen by the BushCheney administration, and anything associated with the BushCheney administration is immediately suspect.  Remember those guys?  The ones still in office?  The ones who are still in the process of  destroying this country?

    It's also because Gates has been in place for four years and we haven't "drawn down" as far as I know.  We're still mucking around in Iran with special ops, as far as I know.  For the record, I don't think this is because of Gates.  I think he has been walking a fine line for the last four years, and has pushed back against the more destructive and negative forces in the admin.  But still, we're not even close to withdrawing yet, are we?  And Afghanistan is a magnitude worse than it was before.  And this happened on Gates' watch.  So I find it difficult to just give the guy a pass and immediately assume he'll be wonderful under a different administration.  I hope so, but we'd be crazy to assume that.

    I'm willing to believe that Gates is different.  He was chosen at a time when Bush was pretty desperate.  We've heard things about how Gates resisted Cheney.  And we know from experts that getting out of Iraq is going to be a magnitude more difficult and more dangerous than previous missions.  So it makes sense not to make big changes midstream.

    But information and concerns should be voiced here as freely as possible.  An informed electorate... and all that.  And don't forget that the outcry about Brennan was justified and effective.  

    So I'm glad to hear your opinion about Gates too, but the problem is that it seems to be seasoned with a big heap of STFU.

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

    by joanneleon on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:37:55 AM PST

  •  I think this diary misses the point. Most people (0+ / 0-)

    have an issue not with Gates, but with the witless neocons that currently pass as his "staff". Unfortunately, Gates has set a condition to Obama that if he stays, his staff stays. Obama needs to play hardball on that one and fire anyone he sees fit, and ask Gates to stay anyway.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:45:04 AM PST

  •  I'm fine with Gates for a while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    georgia gal

    and for all the reasons you mention - this diary captures the case for Gates better than any I've read. Bravo.

    It'll take some time to move Barack more to the left, and it's a good thing for Democrats' election chances that this is indeed will be a gradual change.

    We're still excited by the huge gains in the last election, but we have to settle in and do the work now. I trust Barack, and I've got the patience for the gradual change process.

    Bent over a barrel by Republican Casino Capitalism AGAIN !!!

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:46:12 AM PST

  •  And this is where you lost all credibility (5+ / 0-)

    Re: Gates

    Bottom line?  He's doing great work.

    I demand prosecutions for torture.

    by heart of a quince on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:50:16 AM PST

  •  Thanks! Obama is making great choices (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    georgia gal

    and keeping Gates is a very good idea.

    The economy is the focus, so leaving Gates in place takes a huge load off Obama right now.

  •  I think we can stop talking about Gates now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    georgia gal

    It's a stop-gap measure. It's not like he's supposed to stay on for an entire term. That really neutralizes most arguments against him.

    An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz (cskendrick)

    by brainwave on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:00:33 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the common sense diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cat Whisperer, georgia gal

    Everyone needs to just chill and see what Obama says when he rolls out his national security team. You cannot guage what he is going to do until then.

  •  I could have swore Anthony Lake (0+ / 0-)

    Was going to be director of the CIA. Second times a try.

  •  Just wondering what I shd do with this bridge (0+ / 0-)

    I bought just a few days ago from Obama.

    Well? Shall we go? Yes, let's go - a new dawn rises.

    by whenwego on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:04:53 AM PST

  •  Just not true, sorry-- (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, axman, bigchin, anim8sit, washunate

    to buy this argument you must buy into the basic premises of the US security state, and most of the evil that is done in its name (barring little niceties like the torture of individuals). Some of us here don't, thank God. Some of us see it as evil. Some of us had some hope--perhaps vain--that Obama, at least circumspectly, did not either.

    I buy your political argument. And I can be convinced that the point is to move first from square A to square B. But let's not insult one another by implying that we're screwing things up for Obama or being concern trolls when some of us continue to stand up for the truth, or for the ABOLISHMENT of that security state. That, to my mind, is what this site and a left flank are for. NO ONE who ran the CIA and the NSA is a friend of mine, or anyone I will support anytime soon.

  •  The problem with Gates... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    axman, i like bbq, ronny mermaid

    is all the folks you keep with him...staff people who are neo-cons and architects of the Iraq war.  Gates has already said he wants to keep his staff in place.  Plus, I am not so sold on Gates as an all around great guy....he has been making concerning noises about the war on terror recently.  

    At the end of the day I agree this is an issue of whether Gates implements the policies that Obama wants. I also see no real "cover" for keeping Gates that is compelling.  I think it is equally overstated to say how meaningful and shrewd this move is, compared to people who dislike this appointment.  Obama could have easily picked someone of a republican bent who did not have the baggage of the administration.  He did not, and we will see, but I do not think that makes the choice pure magic...just a choice for short term continuity while he focuses on the economy.  

    If you want to truly understand something, try to change it. - Kurt Lewin

    by anim8sit on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:09:28 AM PST

    •  There is/was no time for a learning curve, which (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      georgia gal

      will come with a new Sec of Def, regardless of who is picked. Truth is Gates is building his retirement home out in Seattle right now and is looking forward to leaving Defense.

      However Obama needs someone who's been in there (w/ no learning curve) to execute his strategy to gradually draw down the troops in Iraq, after-all that is the direction the Bush Admin. has been moving in for the last 4-5 months. Who else would be best qualified to do it then?

      All the while Obama probably has Gates replacement in mind already, someone who will probably take his time to work with Gates.  I think this was a good move, I don't care about the politics of this right now. I care about getting things done.

      This is not a game.

      • is not a game... (0+ / 0-)

        and my response is not about politics, it's about whether Gates is a brilliant move as you assert.  I do not think so, I think there are lots of qualified people who can take over who know what is going on.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but arguing that any criticism is useless trolling is as over the top as what you are criticizing.  Further, telling me that it is not a "game" is just as insulting, implying some superior knowledge that supports your position that is not present.  

        If you want to truly understand something, try to change it. - Kurt Lewin

        by anim8sit on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:26:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  THANK YOU! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The people ragging on Obama are often (if not usually) the same ones who think Bill Clinton should be tried as a war criminal in The Hague.  Seriously.  That should tell you something.

    When Obama's economic team rejects Rubin's deficit-hawkery in favor of heavy stimulus and deficit spending, and rejects his deregulating ideology in favor of re-regulating, isn't that a good thing?

    Oh, yes: Brad DeLong rips apart John Judis, and heavily praises Christina Romer (and the rest of Obama's econ team, just as Roubini has done).

    The praise of Romer:

    The evisceration of Judis:

    John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

    by Phoenix Woman on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:09:51 AM PST

  •  Fair enough.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am hopeful, even though I am not hearing the things I think Americans need to hear. Like "we can't spend our way to economic stability" "no more purchases unless you have 20 percent down" "we need to defund the military" "Americans have to learn they live beyond our means and that is the reason for the current crisis""we are no longer and nor do we want to be the leaders of the free world".

    I have thought all of this since 1980. And the longer our leader refuse to disclose the truth, the worst things will get.

    "War is the health of the state." Rudolf Bourne "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."Samuel Johnson

    by american pastoral on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:14:44 AM PST

    •  What Americans need to hear is: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      american pastoral, i like bbq

      "After nearly three decades of wage stagnation in the face of cut benefits and rising prices, we're gonna give you a raise, one that actually keeps up with the cost of living."

      Because that's the reason why Americans don't save and buy everything on credit: three decades of wage stagnation, outsourcing, benefit cuts, and a few other related factors was what created the ballooning consumer credit demand which the financial industry needed to cover up their frauds and schemes. Americans live beyond their means because their means have been systematically stripped from them by three decades of supply-side, trickle-down, reverse robin hood theftonomics.

  •  hogwash (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matthew Detroit, zett, Silverbird, axman

    If only people who 'knew' Obama voted for him, he'd get a few hundred votes.

    People vote based on what they think and hope a candidate will do once in office, somebody they like and trust to listen to their concerns.

    Secretary Gates is so far from change we can believe in that defending that choice makes a mockery of our intelligence.  Obama can do whatever he wants. He's going to be the next president.

    That doesn't mean whatever he does is good, above reproach, beyond dissent and criticism.

    Just understand that some of you are making us look like a pack of ineffectual idiots.

    I guess it takes one to know one?

    Please remember that for decades we Democrats have fought the specter of having "lost" the Vietnam War.

    I can't speak to this. My generation has no memory of Vietnam. Literally; American public education ends around World War II. We don't even study the past half century.

    But more to the point, to paraphrase the diary, so what? War is wrong. It's bad policy. It's bad politics. Oh and by the way, Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest have nothing to do with Vietnam. If this Democratic party that's spent all this time overcoming Vietnam had actually learned anything, it would understand that peace is popular. And the last two election cycles, voters didn't vote Serious, Responsible centrist Republicans. They voted in Democrats to end war and corruption and torture and human rights abuses and its associated problems.

    This notion that what was voted on the past two election cycles is merely something better than Bush is comical except that it's so gosh darn mistaken.

    If you want to spend your days and nights during transition bitching about how Obama is selling us out you're welcome to do so.

    This isn't about selling us out. This is about demanding that our president-elect that we just elected listen to We the People, not the establishment in Washington he was sent to change.

    He's ignoring a lot of what we want because we're his left flank.

    Ah, and one of my favorite lines of gibberish spewn all over by the appeasers. Only leftists oppose stupid wars. How silly of me. And even sillier, how silly to think that a politicians should listen to the constituents that put him in office.

    •  Jesus. (5+ / 0-)

      Do you know what Obama meant by "change"?

      It doesn't literally have to mean physically changing who's in charge (that's the mistake Bush made) for the sake of just having a new face. It means changing how things are done, and Obama is the driver of all that. Obama IS the change. We gotta give him time, he hasn't even been inaugurated yet.

      Who cares who is at Defense as long as they carry out Obama's policies? There is absolutely no fucking time for a learning curve, which is what will happen if we bring in someone new (no matter how experienced he/she is). Rather give Gates the time to gradually draw down from Iraq (which is where the Bush Admin has been moving the last 4 months) because guess what, Obama has been influencing the Bush foreign policy ever since he visited Iraq and Afghanistan this summer.

      Why not let the guys who have already been shadow effectuating your Iraqi withdrawal policy, go ahead and finish it off, while the replacement (Clark, Hagel etc) works with Gates over the next year.

      Competency over ideology people.


      •  Actually, no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You raise a really interesting question. You may not have realized, but I think you capture the essence of the problem.

        Do you know what Obama meant by "change"?

        No, I don't. I supported Obama in the knowledge he was better than McCain and the hope he would do good stuff in office.

        I really have no clue exactly what Obama means, and I would argue that anybody outside of his closest advisors who claim to know are deluding themselves. Our President-Elect is both exciting and unnerving precisely because he could do basically whatever he wants with his presidency.

        Obama IS the change.

        Here's my philosophical disagreement. I would counter no, what happens is the change. Obama saying the FISA compromise is a good compromise doesn't make it a good compromise. Obama saying we need to send more troops to Afghanistan doesn't mean we should send more troops to Afghanistan. Obama opposing single payer doesn't mean single payer is a bad idea.

        I understand the arguments you're making, but I stand by my statement that this diary is hogwash.

        After all, that's what the diarist wants anyway. S/he wants to feel superior that those of us who disagree are just ineffectual fools ranting and raving.

        And to some extent, the diarist is right. How many have been killed in Iraq since 2006? How many dollars have been wasted? How many more will die in Afghanistan? Etc, etc.

        The diarist is right in the sense that our policy will continue as advertised. There will be continuity in the largest government agency in the world.

      •  Right. Obama can BE the president now w/Gates (0+ / 0-)

        and the Treasury guys in place, because now they are OBAMA'S GUYS.

        Clever really.
        How can he be in charge NOW instead of waiting for 1/20/09?  By keeping Gates and Geithner in place and making them HIS GUYS.

    •  Wake up and smell the coffee (0+ / 0-)

      Obama has a huge mess on his hands and an entire country to govern. Diarist was right on the money

      Love is the only answer ... Hate is the root of cancer

      by relayerbob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:35:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  me? wake up? (0+ / 0-)

        It's people like me who have been saying we have a mess for years.

        I find comments like this pretty funny. Seriously?

        We were told when Democrats were in the minority there's nothing we can do to stop stuff. We were told when we won in 2006, we didn't have a big enough lead; the GOP could stop whatever we wanted to do. Now that we've expanded the Congressional advantage and won the White House (again), we're told don't ask questions, don't challenge anything.

        I don't know what your point is. I crack up laughing when I hear comments like that.

        Obama has a huge mess on his hands and an entire country to govern.

        How on Earth does that statement conflict with the request to make policy appointments based upon change, upon doing things differently than the Bush and Clinton and Reagan Administrations?

        •  Because what you are asking for isn't "change" (0+ / 0-)

          It's more of the same partisanship we've seen, only with your spin on it. Bringing in completely inexperienced people would add "chaos" and probably complete disaster to the recipe.

          Who's saying don't challenge and ask questions anyway? No one that I can see. I see alot of people who are supposedly "liberals" acting like spoiled children and trying to silence those who want to give this new Administration a chance to stabilize the situation, however.

          Love is the only answer ... Hate is the root of cancer

          by relayerbob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:59:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would love more partisanship (0+ / 0-)

            Our whole frames of reference are different. One of my core critiques of the Bush Presidency is the almost total collapse of partisanship.

            Aside from Social Security, the exception that proves the rule, the major policy decisions of the Bush years were imminently bipartisan, the cooperative efforts of Republican and Democratic leaders. The Democratic Party virtually ceased being an opposition party.

            I honestly just don't know what you're talking about.  The spoiled children are the corporate criminals. The people demanding Wall Street bailouts. The people saying we need troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The people covering up for torture and other war crimes. The people saying single payer health insurance isn't a good idea. The people who say media consolidation is a good idea. The people whose answer to 'too big to fail' is 'make 'em bigger'.

            I'm not saying this doesn't mean anything to you. I'm saying this doesn't mean anything to me. I'm interested in actual, cost-benefit analysis, not fuzzy statements about spoiled children and stabilizing the situation. I'm interested in the defense of specific claims, not purposefully vague talking points. I'm interested in knowing who, specifically, is going to pay for unpopular programs.

            •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

              Cost benefit analyses will come from those who are seeing all of the numbers, and qualified to run the calculations, not "netroots" who have little or no understanding of what the ultrarich bastards have really done, and that includes me. I don't want some newbies in there taking wild guesses. Similarly with national defense, especially being brought home today when India is in a state of chaos. The people aren't the main issue, it's the leadership and direction that matters. At this point, Obama has zero power for real. I'll judge on his results, not on his appointments.

              As far as who's paying for this, you already know the answer ... we all are, and will be for decades to come. I've already paid with my job, and my health care, thanks. My disabled wife ain't too happy about that.

              But people saying how awful it is that Obama has picked person A or B, and then go on and on, as some have done here, are simply making noise, they are not contributing. And yes, they are throwing verbal tantrums - "I did something for you and you owe me". Bullshit. ALL of the "netroots" combined is likely less than 1 million people, and all of Obama's contributors numbered 3.5 million. He got around 70 million votes, which means only 5% of those he is leading actually did anything for him. He needs to lead the other 95% who voted for him AND the 60+ million that didn't. He doesn't owe me anything other than to fix the country. We all have different opinions on how that should be accomplished, and IMO, he is picking people based on their ability to get it done, not based on whether they fit one ideology or another. And I'm fine with that, as I said, let's see what is accomplished, it's only been three weeks since his election. No one else has ever moved so quickly and efficiently, nor has had so much public acclaim, except for some in the left. To me, this is a great start.

              As far as attacking the Democratic Party for being a puppet, as you essentially have done, in an era where the majority in Congress were GOP, well, I'll let others comment. They didn't make me very happy either, but hopefully Obama can make the government work. You may choose to ignore the obvious partisan battles that took place, but the Dems lost the elections and lost the war.

              Question for you (not snarky), were you among the 10% who opposed Bush immediatelt after 9/11? I hope so, I know I was, and quite vocally at that. If not, and you (or whoever is reading this that was) are among the almost 90% who fell for Bush' BS then, that was the time to act, after that, it was all handed to Bush on a platter by those people. To reach that almost 90%, the vast majority of Democrats agreed with the crap too.

              I've personally written several specific things to Obama's, about energy and environment in a ten page memo (I am an engineering manager, and have some specific knowledge in the area), and also made a separate suggestion that rather than simply bailing out the auto makers, that the Administration immediately repurchase the 640,000 cars it has for about $12B, and buy hybrids. Would save money on fuel, would give workers jobs rather than execs handouts, and woud install confidence in people in the auto makers. Those are just a few of several suggestions as I said. Are they listening? Don't know, but they might, and responses seem to indicae someone is reading that material. But I guarantee that they will only pay a small amount of attention to people who just complain about this particular person or that particular policy, and don't provide something useful. Blogging is not activism or action. So, in conclusion, I see alot of people just being negative here, and it gets more than a little nauseating, they should try positivity, it works alot better.

              Love is the only answer ... Hate is the root of cancer

              by relayerbob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:18:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We mostly agree (0+ / 0-)

                I would just use different words. The difference between complaining and offering a different vision is the difference between whether or not you agree with the vision.

                But people saying how awful it is that Obama has picked person A or B, and then go on and on, as some have done here, are simply making noise, they are not contributing.

                Agreed. I consider this diary part of the noise.

                Question for you (not snarky), were you among the 10% who opposed Bush immediatelt after 9/11?

                I would give you a wishy-washy answer to that. I believe there are times when we should more obviously rally together than others. In the aftermath of 9/11, I would second Le Monde, Nous sommes tous Américains. But I believe you regress to the mean pretty quickly, and the mean for me was certainly in the opposition camp on September 10th. A little deeper answer would be that I've had a pretty steady impression of the Bush/Cheney Administration. I didn't believe they were compassionate conservatives in 2000, and I don't believe they're incompetent idiots now. I think they've always been competent, pro-corporate movement conservatives who have been remarkably successful at getting stuff they want. I just happen to disagree with virtually all of their policies (space exploration, nuclear power, African diseases, and opposition to DHS being about the only things in 8 years I'm not adamantly opposed to).

                One final comment I would make is the very first thing you say. I believe technocrats are important for a functioning society, but I do not believe they should make decisions; that should be a role of implementation, not policymaking.

                Cost benefit analyses will come from those who are seeing all of the numbers, and qualified to run the calculations, not "netroots" who have little or no understanding of what the ultrarich bastards have really done, and that includes me. I don't want some newbies in there taking wild guesses.

                I believe very deeply in the value of large numbers of individuals, whether in a democratic sense or in a capitalist sense. I reject wholeheartedly this notion that there are a few experts on things and the rest of us have little to no understanding. The major policy issues should be debated with publicly available information in ways that any interested party may follow what is going on. Outside a select realm of sensitive information, there's simply nothing that our politicians know 'better' than us. We the People should have open access to the underlying data used to weigh costs and benefits.

  •  Thanks good diary, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I DO want to punish the people that put us in this position. I realize Gates wasn't one of them. But generally speaking The neo-cons and flat earthers have fucked up our world FOR MONEY AND POWER! and I would love to see them afraid to leave our shores for fear of being brought before the Hague.
    Had Pelosi et al listened to US (the progressives) we most likely would not be in this position.
    I don't know about you but I'm tired of too little too fucking late.  

    Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again!

    by axman on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:17:24 AM PST

  •  my how we seem to love these diaries that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    baxxor, Silverbird

    prop up war criminals...that's right, i said it. A fucking WAR CRIMINAL. An illegal war, a continued slaughter of innocents and a destroyed country and to listen to this crap about how ' smart as hell' the bastard is...geez, reality based community indeed...

    Hey, how 'bout we impeach the people who are supposed to do the impeaching and get some other impeachers who are more impeachy?

    by ronny mermaid on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:23:53 AM PST

    •  Absolute fucking nonsense. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You don't even know what the fuck you're talking about.  He is no WAR CRIMINAL and no ideologue or neocon. He's a pragmatist and has been doing a great job.  This shit ain't that black & White.

    •  What a load of crap. (0+ / 0-)

      I have posted many times on the war criminals in the Bush regime. Bush. Cheney. Rumsfeld. Gonzales. Yoo. Addington. Feith. (Richard) Myers.

      Gates is not among them.

      In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

      by Simian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:12:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look to the Man--Trust the Appointments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, georgia gal

    I’m getting increasingly frustrated with the left.  I derived great comfort from you during the past eight years, but now you guys are getting on my nerves more than the righties.

    Remember this: Barack Obama has an over-abundance of self-confidence.  He believes he has great judgment.  After watching the campaign as closely as possible over the past several months, I tend to agree with him.  He’s not yet given me a reason (with the possible exception of his FISA vote) to think otherwise.

    When dealing with a Brennan or a Gates, my guess is that Obama has arrived at these judgments after lots of reflection.  He has been using Brennan as an advisor for months.  You need only ask two questions: 1) Is Barack Obama unequivocally committed to ending policies of torture and extraordinary rendition?  2) Does Obama know and trust Brennan not to pursue these policies?  These are simple and straightforward questions that I believe can be answered in the affirmative.  

    I agree with this diarist.  Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt here.  I am afraid we may have lost a good head in Brennan as a result of our snarkiness.  At this point, I would trust Obama to know who he can trust and who he cannot trust.  He has yet to prove me wrong.

    •  Obama has made a reasoned decision: (0+ / 0-)

      He's decided to favor practical skills over political considerations in his appointments.  I believe he knows what he's doing, but I don't know if it will work.

      I think that he believes that as President, he'll be setting the agenda and it's the cabinet's job carry it out.  I think that he believes that he can get people to do what he wants them to do.

      However, almost all of his executive experience comes from his campaign, which was extremely disciplined, but it was also an affinity group - if you didn't like Barack, you wouldn't be there.  Now that he's the only game in town, it's going to be harder to control people, because a lot of his cabinet picks may have separate agendas.

      That said, if it does work, he's picked a powerful group of people who can get things done.

  •  I mostly agree, but if Obama waffles on cutting (0+ / 0-)

    Bush tax cuts for the rich I'm going to be quite pissed off.

    "The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you." - David Foster Wallace

    by John Shade on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:38:17 AM PST

  •  AMEN!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Eyz, georgia gal

    Amen, Brother!  Great writing. Great points. I am reserving judgement on ANY pick because I TRUST Barack Obama.  He's SMART.  He proved himself a great strategist (or able to recruit great stratagists) in running his amazingly capable campaign.  I will expect he'll govern the same way.

    And yes, I care a whole hell of a lot more about universal heathcare than I do about punnishing republicans.  We have serious problems in this country.  People are dying in Iraq, dying of inadequate health care.  We can't afford the luxury of revenge.  

    We need, ALL of us, regardless of political ideology, to focus on helping our fellow Americans and fellow human beings around the world right now.  And that is what Barack Obama has shown me so far that he is all about. I can get with that, even if he does some things I don't like or don't understand along the way.

  •  Great Diary! (0+ / 0-)

    tipped and rec'd

  •  Thanks reaper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    georgia gal, Loose Fur

    I wasn't around most of yesterday so I didn't see what this responded to but I'm in 100% agreement with you.

    The move with Gates has been signaled for a long time and given the competence with which Gates has executed his responsibilities thus far, I expect that he will continue to do so under President Obama.  

    Obama's moves on rolling out his economic team and presenting their strategies and literally going to work right out of the gate has been tremendous, especially in light of the lack of leadership from the current administration.  

    We did a good thing in electing him.  

  •  Change is a U-turn! (0+ / 0-)

    If you are in a cab after a business lunch heading across town to your next appointment and remember you left your wallet in the restaurant, you tell the taxi driver to make a U-turn.

    On January 20, 2009, Obama will tell the taxi driver Secretary of Defense Gates to make a U-turn on Iraq. Gates will do as he is told (and probably agrees with seeing he is an experienced, intelligent, non-ideologue) and the dismantling of the US occupation of Iraq will begin.

    That's change I can believe in!

  •  Good point about Gates. But I hope the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reports are true that he really wants to go live in Seattle soon.  That would mean that he's training a good Dem to take his place, and then Obama would, in addition to giving Dems cover on Iraq, also give the Dems a decent shot at a SecDef that will hold his own on your list.

    Anyone who thinks that progressives will get everything or be angry is watching MSM too much.

  •  couldn't agree more with the diarist n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilverWings, Simian, Loose Fur
  •  Obama's Losing Iraq With Gates (0+ / 0-)

    Gates will be a footnote when Republicans insist "Obama lost Iraq".

    Just like Rumsfeld, the Republican Defense Secretary who oversaw our Vietnam withdrawal under Republican president Ford (after Republican president Nixon), was a footnote while Republicans insisted "Democrats lost Vietnam". Even when Rumsfeld returned for Vietnam II: Mondo Iraq", his "losing Vietnam" was a footnote, as he insisted "Democrats lost Vietnam".

    Obama just sold us change, especially on Iraq, and just gave us no change. The somersaults to pretend that's not betrayal are revolting. Which, sad to say, is the only revolting Democrats are capable of, when they get to claim victory in election even as it buys them defeat in war.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:00:45 AM PST

    •  Ummm... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Loose Fur

      So will there be some miracle time when Republican don't insist that Obama "lost Iraq".  Nobody will care then and no one really cares what they say about Vietnam either.

      •  That is SO true. (0+ / 0-)

        All the RePugs arguing over the 1960s just turns off voters, except in the Bible Belt.

        The Bible Belt is the new Appalachia, with all of the past & present implications of the term.

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        But what I just explained does destroy the argument in this diary that just replied to, which is that supposedly leaving Gates to wind down the war (if he does, which I don't trust) is a smart move by Obama to leave Obama untainted by accusations that "Obama lost the war", because instead they'd have to say "Gates lost the war".

        That argument is bunk, as I explained.

        I did not claim any other consequences, either.

        But you're wrong that "nobody cares" when Republicans blame Democrats for losing wars. In fact, Republicans care, and it energizes them against people who otherwise represent those Republicans' best interests. So it does matter. Even if keeping Gates does nothing to improve the situation for Democrats.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 08:26:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

      You apparently weren't listening to Obama when he sold you change.  If he had meant "I'll replace every political appointment with Progressive ideologues" he would have said so.

      Go read "Audacity of Hope."  Maybe you'll get a clue.

      In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

      by Simian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:51:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this need highlighting and repeating (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, LNK, londubh, bbagley1

    I'm not trying to muzzle anybody here.  Say what you want.  Just understand that some of you are making us look like a pack of ineffectual idiots.

    "When Obama speaks, Angels orgasm" Jon Stewart, 2008

    by fernan47 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:03:21 AM PST

    •  Back in my day we called "ineffectual idiots" (0+ / 0-)


      I know I'm not making any friends by ridiculing the naysayers, but what else can you call it?  He told us he was going to have Republicans in the cabinet!  He told us he was going to return to competency.

      What, exactly, do those of you who are up in arms over Gates believe that a Democrat would do differently from Gates?

      In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

      by Simian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:03:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed totally. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But we're still a center right nation. President-elect Obama would do well to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    by niteskolar on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:08:55 AM PST

  •  Gates has Obama by the short hairs (0+ / 0-)

    I keep hearing how Obama is so much smarter than us plebes.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  In any case, that doesn't matter.  What does matter is whether Obama is smarter than Gates.

    Obama better trust Gates a whole lot because he is stuck with him for the next year.  Let's say Obama says do X and Gates disagrees.  And let's say that Gates resigns within a year.  How do you think that will look?  It will be a political disaster.  Obama will know this.  Meaning that Gates can basically call the shots to a large extent and Obama can't do anything about it.

    I'm not making any predictions.  Maybe Obama has outlined an exit strategy that Gates is 100% on board with.  But if Obama is keeping Gates on just to provide bipartisan cover for his policies then he may be making a big mistake.

    •  Extremely doubtful. (0+ / 0-)

      Obama is far too clever for that, otherwise Rev. Wright would have finished his presidential ambitions before they really got started. The big O knows what the RePugs are up to, before they themselves know.

    •  What if Gates disagrees? Oh noooooes! (0+ / 0-)

      Your hands are going to get pretty raw if you keep wringing them that hard.

      In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

      by Simian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:59:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  First, I totally agree with the diarist (5+ / 0-)

    I don't see anything in the transition so far that I was not expecting. Those who thought Obama was running as a progressive, whatever they interpret that to mean, were smoking dope.  As poor apoleptic Pat Buchanan keeps sputtering, America will be a Euro Socialist country in a year.  Great, can't wait.

    Second, keeping Gates on is brilliant, obviously unless Gates is willing to go along with Obama's doctrine he would not have been appointed.

    Third, talk of winning or losing Iraq are asinine.  Staying or leaving or a combination of both is what will happen.  Get real. I have torn the rose colored glasses from my own eyes, I thought when I first came here that most people were politically sophisticated. That assumption has been rudely abused.  It's still the most entertaining blog to dip into first thing in the morning though. Keep it up.

    Fourth, all this blather about them making us look bad is crap.  Nothing 'you' say can make 'me' look bad, only I can do that to myself.  I have as much right to my conflicting view as you do and we all express it loudly and sometimes brilliantly, and sometines clumsily and frequently rudely.

    Fifth, when the MSM wants a voice from the netroots   they don't call 'US', they call Marcos, or at least they used to. Nate Silver is now 'The Oracle'.  So times change.

    Don't take yourselves so seriously folks. It's all a game.  Fire away!

  •  Obama is a brilliant strategist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abarrenfuture, Loose Fur

    Heck, he took down the Clinton machine and the Republicans. Now he's making jaw-droppingly smart moves like HRC as Sec. of State - keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It gets her out of the Senate where she could stir up trouble. It gives her a plum job, so Hillary supporters don't feel snubbed. It neutralizes Bill - because if he goes off he undermines his wife. And if Hillary doesn't do as Obama wants, it's not just politics, it's treason.

    So now he wants to keep Gates. Good move. He's a results guy. The military likes him. The Republicans like him - it's tossing them a bone. It keeps Obama's campaign promise of "new politics". Gates is respected, pragmatic and will do as President Obama wants, while offering thoughtful, reasoned views.  And if it all goes belly up, then the Republicans take the blame and Obama appoints someone more left-leaning.

    Obama really is a brilliant strategist. I feel like I'm watching one of the top chess players do their thing and think a hundred moves ahead when I watch him work. Keeping Gates is a smart move.

  •  This diarist speaks for me too. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, bbagley1, abarrenfuture, Loose Fur

    No one person is going to be perfect or everything you want. I was actually listening to Barack Obama when he was laying out his vision of where we need to go and how we need to get there. He has followed his vision so far and that only makes me happy.

    I think that a thoughtful pragmatist is better than any passionate idealogue anytime and I am a passionate idealogue. I am not the person to do what he is doing. The campaign process is just one long interview process. I am proud to know that we finally hired the right person for this fucked up job.

    The meaning of life is to live it.

    by COwoman on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:34:21 AM PST

  •  What a great fucking diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, CrissieP

    When BHO put the skids to the "Let's take Lieberman for a little ride in the country" stuff, I was amazed. BHO showed he is better than they are and he's better than we are (and at first I wanted to be the one sitting  behind Lieberman with the silk string)--and now we're shooting for our 60 with a Democratic Senator who owes BHO instead of a pissed-off Republican Senator who wants vengeance. Smart smart SMART. Eye on the big picture. Too many of us (me included) have acted like Sonny Corleone.

  •  I do know Obama in that... (0+ / 0-)

    I met him twice, got to kick the proverbial tires. He's good, very good, but not perfect and he knows he needs a good team around him.

    If we can maintain our dignified composure, our reputation, and avoid using locker room language that brings down the would help.

    Media Reform Action Link

    by LNK on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:47:02 AM PST

  •  Play Chess with Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, The Creator

    Obama is doing exactly what he said in IOWA. I was surprised how true to form he stayed. He has some conservative roots to him. He is a level and an even thinker. He's not always in a great mood. He's not always right. He is a very good man. You could tell especially during the election that he was playing chess while others were playing checkers.
    He's such a progressive thinker that it's sometimes hard to figure out what the next move is going to be. He's got a plan. It may not work but he's the one I believe, even in the worst of times will cross the board and declare, "Check Mate".

    Let's get on board the Obama band wagon and help him figure out how to battle back against such a disaster of the Bush Administration.

    Obama is saying and doing the same things he was, waaaaay back in Iowa.

    •  He's basically pro-sanity, wherever he thinks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      sanity lies.

      I think the key to Obama is that he's just an urban yuppie soccer dad who wants all of the liberal stuff that people wanted in the 1960s but is very, very practical about wanting his kids not to be stuck in a terrible school because of him having stars in the eyes.

      His eyes glaze over when he hears people complain about The Man, because he knows that, very often, The Man feels as screwed as anybody else, in a more physically comfortable way, but he knows that even any intelligent The Man knows that robber baronism, extreme income inequality and widespread dire poverty are as much the enemies of stable capitalism as extreme protectionism and draconian taxes are.

      He wants everyone to have health care and somehow for it to be possible to actually pay and deliver that health care, not just promise it in a brochure.

      Yay, Obama. Govern, baby, govern.

      In my view, his challenge is really this: not progressiveness versus conservativeness, but how well he and his advisors can translate theoretical, academic thinking into real-world action.

      Obama himself seems to have a fair amount of nuts and bolts real-world experience, but a lot of his top advisors named so far seem to be second-generation members of the thinking class. They and most of their parents have been professors, lawyers, think tank people, congressional staffers or maybe investment bankers. Most of them haven't had enough Main Street types of experience for that experience to show up in their bios.

      I hope that's the result of the vetting process, and that Obama's people now are vetting a second batch of appointees that will include a few progressive people -- not tons, just a few -- who have worked at least a little bit as baristas, store managers, assistant branch managers, restaurant owners, lenders, sales reps, etc.

      •  Change = sanity. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Change = competence.
        Change = post-partisanship.
        Change = pragmatism.
        Change = strategy.  (Not strategery.)

        Change = getting it done.

        In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

        by Simian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:57:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Also - The Clinton lesson: (0+ / 0-)

    In acting too quickly against the military brass, the Clinton administration dug itself into a hole in 1992 that helped poison his whole presidency.  Was he trying to do the right thing?  Yup.  Did he inflame cultural chasms that could probably have been finessed?  Certainly.  

    If Clinton had acted just a little more slowly and cautiously "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would never have been a reality and the gay ban would not have survived his first term.  He should have told the military that an end to the ban was coming down the pike long before he told anyone else.

    Here, we have to look at what our objective is - and I believe it's getting us out of Iraq, and hopefully finding a way to get out of Afghanastan as well.  

    Once Obama's been in office for a little while, he'll have an easier time choosing which battles to pick.

    That said, if in a couple of years we're still in Iraq in large numbers and gays and lesbians are still not allowed in the military, I will be pissed!

  •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

    Especially about Gates being the only person in history to moderate Bush's incompetence.  And the tactical cover for loosing Iraq.

    But I'm still gonaa have to go tribal on this one.  Because the best thing for our nation is not simply dealing with Bush's mess; its dealing with it with Democratic leadership.

    We need a Dem is that position.  There are plenty of excellent choices. So, one year for Gates, and then, so long.

  •  What makes you think Gates is a Republican? (0+ / 0-)
  •  I like Gates. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fire away.

    Omaha is Obama Country.

    by The Creator on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 08:20:40 AM PST

  •  You should have known that Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    wasn't a raging liberal when the GOP accused him of being a raging liberal...because those GOP motherfuckers ALWAYS lie.

    Omaha is Obama Country.

    by The Creator on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 08:24:27 AM PST

  •  To add to your point, here's what I want Obama... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    farmerhunt do:  Assimilate former Republican voters to the Democrats, by good government, by proving the value of liberal politics, by making his government less about partisanship, and more about getting things done right.  If he does that, then the Republicans, to recover, will have to submit, in some shape and form, to Obama's new paradigm.

    It's not us versus them, it is about uniting the country behind our agenda.  If we turn potential opponents into admirers, if not friends, we will find our political fortunes rising.  If we fail, every policy change will be a fight.

    We've kicked their asses.  Now's the time to make sure the Republicans have to go our way to maintain what strength they have left.

  •  Pragmatism rules! And stopping the madness. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I completely agree. The best thing Bill Clinton did was appoint the most highly qualified people and with Gore's efforts, he was able to make this the most efficient government ever. I believe Barack is following suit.

    That said, I don't think this is necessarily going to quiet the rabid Barack-phobics. I hope I'm wrong. I say this contemplating Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and 5 siblings tomorrow. They live in Michele Bachman-land (literally and politically). Haven't been in touch with them the past several months but talking with my one liberal sister last night, I found out they're going off on all the paranoid tangents about Barack's "missing" birth certificate, Muslimism, non-flagpin-wearing ways. Hashing over every 'net conspiracy theory, every day. I'm shocked that they've COMPLETELY gone off the deep end.

    So I'm in a dilemma today: Do I really wanna suffer through dinner with these people or shall I call in sick? Can I respond calmly to their bizarre claims and if so, will it really make a difference? I feel that someone has to show up and be a voice of reason but my sister and I discussed meeting elsewhere for dinner instead. If we're there, alcohol consumption will be involved. Where are the heavy drugs when you need them?

    In the bigger picture, besides creating good government, what can Barack do to stop the madness? I hope that as he keeps stepping in front of the camera really often and talks with us about what he's doing, this will start to settle people down. So far, they're just picking apart every little detail and then making shit up. This could be a loooong 8 years.


    "Better a bleeding heart than none at all."

    by LindaBee on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 08:52:56 AM PST

  •  Amen! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skertso, Simian

    Dissent.  Complain.  Blog.  Shout to the heavens.  Be heard, if you can.  But try to remember that running a one-party executive that ignores the concerns of the minority party was completely and utterly fucking retarded when the Republicans did it.  I want President Obama to succeed in actually governing.  I honestly would prefer he accomplish some great things in four years and LOSE than tread water, pass the buck, and get re-elected.  He's picking producers.  They'll do what they're told.  We don't have to, of course, but if we had any brains at all we'd wait until he's sworn in to concern troll 24/7.

    Bears repeating. A million times.

    And this, too:

    I did not want, and do not want, a President who spends four years trying to break Republican backs.

    Didn't have the courage to say it when all the talk about "crushing Republicans" was flying around here (for fear of roasting, falming, etc), but I agree. The nasty rhetoric of division and us against them is going to have to STOP if we ever want to "grow up" as a nation and actually figure out what "smart government" means.

    I don't want to "crush" anyone, or break anyone's back: I want a government that functions effectively, and Barack Obama is the first politician I've seen in my lifetime who seems to understand what that means.

    I don't expect him to make that happen overnight, but I do trust him to know better than I do what the "plan" is.  

  •  What do you mean by wanting Wes Clark to "replace (0+ / 0-)

    him in 2010?

    It's a beautiful day!

    by JoanMar on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:08:05 AM PST

  •  Recommended and tipped (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well said. I like having an adult getting ready to get into the White House, and I don't care that not all of Obama's picks are as liberal as I am.

    Gates is smart choice and he won't be there for all four years. Yes, we need to stay on him, but we hired this guy to do a job, I trust him to do it.

  •  left flank (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it's the job of the left flank to raise hell. if we don't get our way every time, so be it. but we need to do our job so Obama can do his.  

  •  Gates (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skertso, Catte Nappe

    Gates is a transition appointment. The word is that he'll stay for a couple of years.
    He was Bush's pick when the mess in iraq finally made him ditch his original Secretary of Defense.
    It's not a bad choice. (It's also a sign that Obama has switched his primary concern from Iraq to the economy. There, if not new faces, he's bringing in people who have no attachment to the Bush league.)

    "I'm not opposed to all wars; I'm opposed to dumb wars." -- Obama in 2002

    by Frank Palmer on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:18:44 AM PST

  •  abso-ing-lutely :-) n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Justice Stevens is 88 years old. Justice Stevens is 88 years old. Justice Stevens is 88 years old.

    by sunspark says on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:20:15 AM PST

  •  Great diary! I was thinking this morning that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I cannot recall (and I clearly remember all the way back to FDR's third term) ever, such a combination of outright intelligence, cool savvy, humor, and above all, courage in the face of the virulent, background hatred both he and Michelle have to be aware of 24/7, occupying the White House.  And, he's at least one-up on JFK (to me, at least), in this one important respect.  The crucible of JFK's character attributes was of the aristocracy, as were FDR's.  And they were both dis-loyal to their wives.  Obama's is far closer to the streets and the history of oppression.  And although he is wealthy now, he clearly speaks and acts from the point of view of common people.  And, he appears to be a faithful husband.  With a president like that, this is no time to yield to that congenital compulsion of the left to circle the wagons inward.  This is one of the nastiest shit-sandwiches ever passed on to a new president.  I feel really good about this guy.

  •  Absofuckinlutely spot on. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

    by Simian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:44:27 AM PST

  •  Sick to death (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, FloraAnne

    of hearing the kvetching, personally.  I always understood Obama's value proposition - and these selections are completely consistent with that proposition.  "Change" is subjective.  To me, this is change on a HUGE order, and that goes for all of his selections so far.

    One of the things that allowed Barack Obama to embark on and succeed in his candidacy for President was and is his ability to be spot-on consistent.  And these selections ARE consistent with everything he said about governing and the tone with which he governs.

  •  There is only one fucker to blame for Iraq (0+ / 0-)

    Exactly one.

    Because only one fucker could give the order to invade.

    And he's the same fucker who is leaving his mess for somebody else to clean up.

    Goddamn the fucker.

    2004 was a mandate for torture and murder. 2008 is a mandate for hope and change.

    by eroded47095 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:01:35 AM PST

  •  Agree. Let GOP break their own backs. They are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    actually more competent at hurting themselves.  Anytime we try to hurt them it just comes off as petty and pointless. The stuff that comes out of the GOP's mouth never ceases to amaze me.  Why should we expend any effort at hurting them, when good governance will achieve that so much better.  I don't agree 100% with keeping Gates on, but I recognize the utility of continuity for at least the first year.  Ultimately, if Gates won't follow the orders of his commander in chief he will deserve to be fired.  I agree that he appears to be more a of a pragmatist so I'm willing to defer judgment on this choice until I see what happens.

    It definitely makes GOP snipping seem petty by contrast.  Nice change of pace.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:15:33 AM PST

  •  I KNOW!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Why is there such a fuss about something he told us he was going to do?!

    He said that he loved the cabinet of rivals idea, why are we suddenly surprised that he's decided to keep a few rivals on or bring a few rivals on-board?

    When it was a VP pick, he said he wanted someone who would tell him when he disagreed and we were all surprised by Biden anyway.

    Then the huge flap about Clinton possibly using the Cabinet position as a platform to the White House and Obama's ability to keep her in line, as if he weren't the President and couldn't let any of his Cabinet members go whenever he wanted.

    We can question him all we want, but if the man says something and then does it, can we at least stop acting surprised?

    carpe diem,
    jeremy n mendonsa

    by jmendonsa on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:28:13 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary, thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Love is the only answer ... Hate is the root of cancer

    by relayerbob on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 10:36:55 AM PST

  •  How dare you make sense! (0+ / 0-)

    As Rachel would say, thanks for "Talking me down"!

  •  Yeah! Shut up, whining leftist defeatocrats! (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds like we're getting our very own version of the 'no dissent allowed' crowd.  

    Support Gates, or you aren't supporting the troops.. based on a number of 'friends' in the military who 'all' want him to remain.  Remaining in Iraq until the ephemeral undefined 'victory' is achieved is considered 'great work'.  Democrats.. and by extension, the anti-war crowd.. 'lost' the Vietnam War.  The only correct view is the one the diarist has.. disagreement is 'bitching', 'whining', and 'moaning'.  

    I always thought the Republican political movement looked fun.. (from the outside).. now we get to see it up close and personal!  Yay!  


    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin, Feb 17, 1755.

    by Wayward Son on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:11:37 AM PST

  •  Don't (Mis)underestimate Obama's Long Term Vision (0+ / 0-)

    This is a brilliant observation:

    Remember that saying "Only Nixon could go to China"?  It made sense when Spock said it.  It makes sense now.  By allowing the Bush people to negotiate an end to the Iraq War and allowing Secretary Gates to oversee the first phase of our withdrawal out of Iraq, well, Obama has found a masterstroke.  He gets what he wants but he gets a LOT of political cover.  Please remember that for decades we Democrats have fought the specter of having "lost" the Vietnam War.  The optics are much better with Gates.

    This had not occured to me, but it's exactly right. Obama may well emerge as one of the most formidable politicans of recent history. Obama is thinking five moves ahead of the opposition. Remember how after the conventions we were all worried Obama was not aggressive enough in responding to Republican attacks? The Obama campaign's "rope a dope" tactics, and his committment to campaign themes rooted his vision of American inclusiveness, blew that away.

    So far, with Obama, "what you see is what you get." At today's press conference he said his job "is to provide a vision where we are going and to make sure that my team is implementing it." Obama has a vision, but he's also committed to realizing it as much as possible in the world we actually live in. This may require working with Vockler and Gates, two gentlemen I have plenty of issues with. I'm particular uncomfortable with Vockler, who launched the counter-revolution of capital against the rest of us by jacking up interest rates in '79. But I'm willing to trust Obama's skill and judgment. Maybe Obama is making Vockler "take ownership" of the end of the counter-revolution he helped launch?

  •  Overton Window: our job is to yank it left (0+ / 0-)

    During an Obama administration our job is to move the Overton window left--thats how we help him. Obama will be able to look centrist if we rabblerouse on the left side of the spectrum.....HOWEVER....

    the only way we do that is by pulling the entire national dialogue left - we cant just rant about meaningless shite - we have to actually engage in rational conversation moving.

    If we can do that, we give Barack cover for when he implements policy that would be "lefty" under Bush, but which is now center if we do our job right.

    Howard Dean made me believe, Barack Obama made it real.

    by el ganador on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:20:40 AM PST

  •  There is much to do. (0+ / 0-)

    I did not want, and do not want, a President who spends four years trying to break Republican backs.  The work is too hard and too important for that.  Getting out of Iraq will be incredibly complicated, costly, and slower than we'd like.  That's just the logistics, folks.  We've got a ton of men and materiel there

    So if Obama cleans things up in 3 years, can we spend a year breaking fucking backs? Come on, they deserve it. We deserve it. The country deserves it. Come on, BREAK SOME FUCKING BACKS!

    Whew. Thanks for letting me vent. That, there, is why I will never be president.

  •  I've always appreciated Gates intelligence (0+ / 0-)

    No problem with him giving some time before restructuring the Pentagon considering the scope of the domestic and international economy problems to be dealt with.

  •  So fucking what? (0+ / 0-)

    It perpetuates the myth that only Republicans can handle issues of defense and national security.

    No matter what you say, that is what it does. And I don't give a good goddamn how smart Gates is. He's a Republican.

    Do you want to sit right here and tell me there are no Democrats who might be able to handle that position? Do you really?

    It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson

    by AtlantaJan on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:15:39 PM PST

  •  Excuse me diarist (0+ / 0-)

    I've been stopping people from criticizing Obama over his Cabinet, but I will criticize Gates selection, because if the goal is to get out of Iraq, then Gates isn't the guy to do it, he was supposed to be amenable to the Iraq Study Group recommendations, but stood idly by while Bush implemented the surge.

    The goal should be to get out of Iraq in 3 years, Gates will complicate that.  Why not Hagel?  He's much closer to Obama from a policy standpoint.

  •  Clark is not the right person for SOD. I would (0+ / 0-)

    not want anyone who is so political to be in charge of the Defense.  The man has run for president and has has major problems with the Clinton admin during the Balkans project.  And for those who advocate this, really IMHO don't know much about government or politics.  Sad, sometime, some here can be such a great force for good and sometimes some here can be really as dumb as the former Repug party.  Shame, stupidity is just not on the repug side.

  •  This starts off (0+ / 0-)

    more like an entry in "Glenn's Homophobia Newsletter" than a DailyKos diary.  

  •  like your diary (0+ / 0-)

    I agree completely, so I mostly just avoid reading the folks who are having conniptions about every appointment.

  •  and (0+ / 0-)

    I love Wes Clark, but I do not think he has a chance of replacing Gates.

  •  Obama is under seige (0+ / 0-)

    He's in survival mode.  The only way for America to succeed is if we all speak up.  They're starting that code orange nonsense already.  That tells you right away that Obama is not in charge.  They used him.

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