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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Obama's team shaping up

Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008, at 9:27 AM

I'm increasingly pleased with president-elect Obama's choices for cabinet posts and other key positions in his administration.

In the first place, he's assembling a team of very smart, skilled, knowlegable and capable people who will be walking into their jobs knowing what they are doing and with the right contacts to get things done. Compare that, for example, the Bush's selection of a FEMA director whose prior experience had been running horse races, and the change in quality leaps out at you.

He also appears to be selecting people who won't be yes men (or women), but people who will genuinely offer him varied viewpoints. He's made it clear that he will have the final say, but the fact that he's willing to listen to alternative views is refreshing. His selection of Republican appointee and incumbent Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is a good example. Gates wants a slower drawdown of forces in Iraq than Obama does. My guess is the two men will reach a compromise that protects U.S. forces while getting them out of that quagmire as quickly as possible.

It shows Obama is more concerned with ideas than ideology.

His selections also are demonstrating a centrist position politically, which I think most Americans want.

At the time he'd wrapped up the primaries, Sen. John McCain had the centrist position in his pocket, then squandered it trying to appeal to his party's right wing, and compounded that error by his selection of Palin as his running mate. That gave Obama the opening to assume the role of centrist candidate, which was where the crucial swing votes were in the election.

But that does not appear to have been merely a position of convenience for Obama. He seems serious about taking a middle-of-the-road approach where a government that works is more important than a government of ideology. Once again, after the last eight years, that alone is a refreshing change.

No president will ever be perfect, or have the nation's full support on any issue. But Obama seems genuinely concerned about the "average" American, and the people he is selecting to help form his policies and carry them out are shaping up to be an outstanding team.

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I have a real problem with sending millions and millions of dollars to places that HATE us. We re-build other places when many of our retired vets are out on the streets hungry, cold and homeless. Or, we tax our seniors right out of their homes and make medication so expensive that they cannot afford their meds. Yet, we allow people who are not legal to get FREE medical care and collect SSI. They come into the US to get their checks and walk right back over the border. How is this right? We pay for ALL of that. I guess we will all wake up when the money is gone and there is nothing left. Charity begins at home. When we do not "have to" cut education to the bone and there are no homeless...then we share. Till then, maybe we should keep what little we have in the US. These are tough times. There is no "extra" these days. The "illegals" also commit most of the crimes (DUI, drugs, domestic assaults, etc). Then...they get free legal representation and we pay to keep them in our jails. Enough is enough already.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 11:23 PM

Bazookaman and Missy - Right. What you say is true: there are people out there who wish to do us harm. What no knee-jerk neo-con gets is that it's all part of the American way of life. People are fond of the mantra "freedom isn't free", but they won't admit that part of the cost of liberty is a freedom of personal activity that makes us a relatively soft target for terrorists.

We could construct a totalitarian police state on the old East German model: you'd need a travel permit to drive from Mtn. Home to Nampa (let alone to Mexico or Canada) and you'd have travel and ID papers checked every time you crossed a state or county line or city boundary. That would help lock down the terrorists, and pretty much every one else. Would have made your recent trip for VW parts a LOT more fun, huh?

Alternatively, we can panic and SHOUT a lot. We could advocate shooting illegals on sight or we could hide under the bed polishing rounds for our AKs. We could do something TRULY irrational and listen to Michael Savage believing he is anything but a titanic idiot unencumbered by the thought process. (He keeps whining that he's tired of carrying the neo-con load all by his widdle self and how he feels like he should just throw up his hands and quit. Please, Mr. Savage, do us a favor and go with your feelings on this one...)

Or, we can continue to live like Americans. We can be alert to our surroundings and situations and do anything within the bounds of the Constitution to make things as safe as possible. We can notice little details that might be warnings of some impending attack. We can manage our borders better and we can work with the Mexican and Canadian governments to craft agreements to strengthen both sides of the fence. (Given the amount of corruption in the Mexican system, this will be time consuming and difficult, but it's worth the doing: a more stable, less corrupt Mexico makes us safer here.) We can call out the National Guard to help ICE patrol this side of the fence. (Gee, I wonder which Governor was the first to call for the feds to pick up the tab for that...) In short, we can stop acting like the MASH character Frank Burns. We can admit that the problem is deep and complex and not open to the easy, quick solutions that the far right proposes. It will take time.

And even if we fix the borders, terrorists will find a way to enter the country, carry out attacks and kill people. If that's part of the cost of freedom, I'm OK with that. I don't look to be a victim, but in this state I'm more likely to be killed by a drunken Republican in a hummer than I am to be blown up by some jihadi wannabe. Don't believe me? According to the American Orthopedic Association web site, 42,116 people died in highway accidents in 2001. The 9-11 attacks killed 2,974 with another 24 missing, presumed dead. By your logic, we should impound all vehicles and drivers as potentially lethal threats.

Oh, and as to your side question... Gov. Napolitano is a "move toward the center" because she consistently tries to find a middle ground on issues like this, instead of hugging the right-hand fog line. True, she's far to the left of you politically, but that's more to do with how far to the right you've gone than how far left she is. Compared to you, nearly everyone is liberal.

-- Posted by Trackmonster on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 11:43 AM

Mike, I get it. We do need to watch the borders and keep track of who is where and why...or better yet...close the darn borders. We cannot take care of our own at this point. I get it. Look at what went on in India. Prime example. Thank gosh I am a good shot and have lots of ammo. One day, they will get it and it will be too late.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 12:19 AM

Uhh- Bazookaman... Gov. Napolotano recently signed into law the nation's most stringent sanctions for businesses who hire illegal immigrants: two strikes and they lose their business license. For good.

She can't actually control the border with Mexico; that's ICE's job. She does seem to be doing what she can at the state level. That and the fact that her approval ratings have been more or less 60% (and her unfavorables above 20% only once) since she was elected tells me that she is on the right side of this argument, while you and your shooting buddy are just venting yet another partisan muzzle-blast: a lot of sound but no substance.

Chill. See how things work out. Don't whine before you're hurt.

P.S. : I hear Belize is nice this time of year...

-- Posted by Trackmonster on Wed, Dec 3, 2008, at 4:42 PM

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