I’ve been trying to avoid commenting on specific personnel for the Obama administration, because it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s rumor, and because it’s also difficult to get my head around what the proper evaluative criteria is. The federal bureaucracy is inordinately complicated and there may be reasons to put certain people in certain positions that has nothing to do with their ideological bona fides. That said, I pretty much agree with Chris Bowers:
I know everyone is obsessed with the “team of rivals” idea right now, but I feel incredibly frustrated. Even after two landslide elections in a row, are our only governing options as a nation either all right-wing Republicans, or a centrist mixture of Democrats and Republicans? Isn’t there ever a point when we can get an actual Democratic administration? Also, why isn’t there a single member of Obama’s cabinet who will be advising him from the left? It seems to me as though there is a team of rivals, except for the left, which is left off the team entirely.
Not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration. Not one. Remember this is the movement that was right about Iraq, right about wage stagnation and inequality, right about financial deregulation, right about global warming and right about health care. And I don’t just mean in that in a sectarian way. I mean to say that the emerging establishment consensus on all of these issues came from the left. There’s tons of things the left is right about that aren’t even close to mainstream (taking a hatchet to the national security state and ending the prison industrial complex to name just two), but hopefully we’re moving there.
And yet, no one who comes from the part of American political and intellectual life that has given birth to all of these ideas is anywhere to be found within miles of the Obama cabinet thus far. WTF?