When Barack Obama came onto the Presidential scene, he promised that if he was elected he would change the way Washington did business. Yet, when you see a good number of the picks he's made for his Cabinet, it looks like not much has changed. There are a number of familiar faces from the Clinton Administration, like Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who are returning to the halls of power.
I have a question. How in the heck is this change?
I know how the Obama supporters have tried to spin it. First, they say the change is in how things are done in Washington. They're claiming that bringing in former Clinton staffers will alter the environment in government. The problem? These are the same people who contributed to the current environment in government. Take Emmanuel for example. He's been compared to former House Whip Tom Delay, and with a nickname like "The Hammer," it's a pretty good bet Delay didn't get that nickname for his tact and diplomacy. And what did Obama rail against during the campaign? The negativity of government. Putting Emmanuel as Chief of Staff won't end the negativity, and given his track record in the Clinton Administration, it may continue it or even expand it.
Second, the Obama supporters have said that the reason he's bringing in so many former Clinton staffers is to negate the criticism that Obama was inexperienced. This is valid to a point. Obama isn't as experienced in the intricacies of the Presidency yet, so surrounding himself with experienced people. However, does that require him to choose people from the Clinton Administration? Granted, they have experience in the day-to-day operations of the White House, but there are others with similar experience that could have done the job with only a slight learning curve. And with some high level positions like Secretary of State, a Clinton staffer would not be a requirement. Yet, he's going back to the Clinton well.
This begs the question as to why. If change was the heart of Obama's Presidential hopes, why stick to people who don't represent it? At the risk of sounding like a partisan hack (as some of my critics have accused me of being), I think I have an answer. Obama needs people who he knows will be loyal to him as he lies to the American people. Let's face facts here. There is no way Obama will be able to deliver on all of his promises, so he's going to need people who can stroke the press and keep the American people from figuring out that Obama lied to them. Who better than members of Bill Clinton's Administration?
There is already a backlash against this approach, however. Obama supporters are starting to question the decision to bring back so many former Clinton staffers because they don't see the change that Obama promised. They're right to think that. Obama talked a great game when it came to change, but he's failing to deliver. And when you've sold a bill of goods like Obama has, it's only a matter of time before people start to realize they've been had.