Concerns grow over Obama choices
By Rob Reynolds in Washington
The shadow of Bill Clinton looms large over the Obama cabinet [EPA]
Rumblings of discontent over Barack Obama's cabinet choices are being heard from left-wing Democrats disappointed by the decidedly centre-right cast of characters set to occupy the new administration's highest offices.
So far, Obama has stocked his cabinet largely with Clinton-era faces.
Most obvious among these is the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton herself.
Obama spent much of his time during the epic nomination battle belittling Clinton's foreign policy experience.
An Obama staffer told the press Clinton's foreign policy role in her husband’s administration was restricted to attendance at tea parties.
And of course Clinton embarrassed herself with her Bosnia sniper fire fantasy.
Now, Obama is apparently acting on the advice of the old proverb, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer".
I think there is a good chance that Clinton will not last long in the Obama administration.
She is likely to be tempted to step on Obama's toes, and grab that 3am phone call herself, figuratively speaking.
Hillary's outsize ego, ambition and Bill Clinton's ambiguous position hovering on the foreign-policy sidelines will create so many contradictions that Obama may well find it impossible to work effectively with her.
Hillary Clinton is only the biggest name in what has become the second coming of the Clintonites and other old, familiar faces to Washington.
Rahm Emanuel is another appointment
from the Clinton years [Reuters]
Obama's new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was an insider in the Clinton White House.
So was Susan Rice, who will serve as UN ambassador.
Attorney general-designate Eric Holder and homeland security secretary nominee Janet Napolitano were both in the Clinton era justice department.
Bill Richardson, who will become commerce secretary, was energy secretary in the 90s.
Housing and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle is a long-time member of the Washington 'good-old-boys' network.
Lawrence Summers, Obama's new top economic adviser, was Clinton's treasury secretary.
Obama opted to keep a Bush administration appointment, Robert Gates, in charge of the Pentagon, and to appoint a jut-jawed retired general, Jim Jones, as his national security adviser.
Both men opposed Obama's single most important military and foreign policy promise, to set a timetable for pulling US troops out of Iraq.
Jones backed McCain in the election and Gates is as Republican-establishment as it gets.
Including Joe Biden, the vice-president elect, all of the incoming president's core foreign policy team backed the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The chairman of Obama's economic advisory council, Paul Volcker, isn't from the Clinton era - he is of an even earlier vintage, having served as Federal Reserve chairman under Jimmy Carter three decades ago.
Is this 'Change We Can Believe In', as the campaign slogan promised?
Some of Obama's supporters have expressed
doubts over his choices [Reuters]
Left-wing Democrats don't think so.
At The Nation magazine, Christopher Hayes writes: "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."
Blogger Chris Bowers laments the lack of leftist Democrats in Obama's so-called 'Team of Rivals'.
"It is just so very frustrating … why isn't there a single member of Obama's cabinet who will be advising him from the left? We are being entirely left out of Obama's major appointments so far."
I guess I should have realised Obama was a real oldies fan during the campaign, when his rallies were always preceded by a relentless blast of recorded Motown hits from the 1960s and '70s: Diana Ross, Jackie Wilson, Kool and the Gang - the signs of Obama's penchant for the rhythms of the past were there for all to hear.
What next? Having ransacked the past two Democratic administrations in search of old, tired blood, Obama can always reach back even further - to the Kennedy and Johnson era.
JFK and LBJ's Defence secretary Robert McNamara is a vigorous 92-years-old and may have some choice, Vietnam-era wisdom to impart to the new president.