The President-elect is still selecting his cabinet. He’s met with Hillary Clinton who’s said to be under consideration for Secretary of State and more former Clinton administration officials have been named to top posts.
Gregory Craig will probably get the headlines. He is to be White House counsel. Craig led Bill Clinton’s legal team through the 1998 impeachment proceedings. But also on board the new administration will be Ronald Klain. Klain, who’s to be Chief of Staff to the Vice President previously served as Vice President Al Gore’s Chief of Staff and as a lobbyist for among others the failed mortgage giant Fannie Mae, the media giant Time Warner, and the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, a business group that sought government help resolving asbestos lawsuits.
It’s all well and good, we’re told. Obama’s assembling a cabinet like Lincoln’s – moderate and bi-partisan. But bi-partisanship when it comes to things like settling Asbestos suits is the kind of "bi-partisanship" with corporate America that makes people sick — and not just for political reasons
George Bush’s cabinet came in crammed with industry lobbyists. The Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality was a lawyer for the asbestos polluters. A former lobbyist for Monsanto served as Deputy Director of the EPA and the head of the Forest Service was a timber industry lobbyist.
Obama’s not making the big policy appointments yet. But what if he did? Bush put an affirmative action opponent–the former dean of the Pat Robertson School of Government in charge of The White House Office of Personnel Management. At the Administration For Children and Families, Bush named a man who spent a decade fighting domestic violence and child custody laws. To head up the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs at FDA, Bush named a physician who refused to discuss contraception with unwed women.
To come close to any of that, Obama would have to name sex radical Susie Bright for Health and Human Services, tree-sitter Julia Butterfly Hill for EPA. Dennis Kucinich for Secretary of State. Treasury? Jamie Galbraith. Defense? Trumping the criminal warmongering of Donald Rumsfeld would take a pacifist lawbreaker way to the extreme of Cindy Sheehan.
Let’s not permit the pundits narrow the field with the kumbaya for moderation. The playing field of government not only needs evening up, it needs total replanting by people with at least as much vision and oomph as those they’re replacing–vision of a very different kind.
Laura Flanders is the host of RadioNation and GRITtv. Watch GRITtv on Free Speech TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415) on cable (8 pm ET on Channel 67 in Manhattan) or online at GRITtv.org. Carl Ginsburg co-wrote "Who is the Oracle?"