Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big O, Big C = Big EGOs

The new old Clinbama team will certainly make for interesting political theater... something Shakespearean, perhaps?

The “O” Team

Yesterday, speaking from the “Office of the President-elect,” Barack Obama unveiled his national security team, with the star appointment in that group being his former campaign rival Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. However much they despised each other during the campaign, they both have reasons for joining together now.

Obama is trying to unite the Democrat Party, while Hillary gets a gigantic platform to stay in the public eye and also is freed of the pressures of elective office. (Here’s an interesting thought: Her appointment opens up a New York Senate seat, and there’s an unemployed Clinton currently wandering around America. Don’t be surprised if Bill gets appointed to her seat.)

During the campaign, Hillary made foreign policy and experience her key selling points. Commenting on some of candidate Obama’s foreign policy statements, candidate Clinton remarked, “I thought that was irresponsible and frankly naïve.” In her famous campaign ad, she directly challenged Obama by asking voters, “Who do you want answering that 3 AM phone call at the White House?” Ironically, it may well be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who ends up making that 3 AM phone call to the White House!

On a more serious note, bringing into his inner circle his most vociferous opponent is a very astute political move on Obama’s part. As one political observer noted, “Clinton is giving up her independent political base by being taken out of the Senate. She is now under his thumb,” as part of the Cabinet, and she serves at the pleasure of the president. Translation: she could be fired.

But only time will tell how smart the move turns out to be, as some are suggesting that putting these big egos together is a prescription for paralysis. I couldn’t help thinking while watching their press conference that she must have been saying to herself, “He is where I am supposed to be!”

Given these personalities, I believe there is a good chance that a major split will erupt in the not-too-distant future. But not to worry – ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos reassured us that Joe Biden is the “glue” that will hold it all together. Yikes!

Gary Bauer
Campaign for Working Families