Monday, December 1, 2008

Thoughts on Obama's Nat'l Security Team

As expected, here's what it looks like:

Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton
Secretary of Defense: Robert Gates
Attorney General: Eric Holder
Secretary of Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano
U.N. Ambassador: Susan Rice
National Security Adviser: James Jones

Obama is taking questions now at his press conference in Chicago, and I have a couple observations:
  1. Obama is in charge. For all the talk from some in the media that Hillary would be running some kind of rebellious shadow government from the State Department, Obama is clearly the one in command. He is supremely confident, though not in the dumb Bush "I'm the decider!" kinda way. He's brought in a bunch of pretty hawkish people, as well as a woman who routinely belittled his accomplishments and abilities (and vice versa). But that's all water under the bridge now. And Obama is clearly the guy on top.
  2. With the introduction of the Attorney General as part of the national security team, Obama is signaling that he believes Bush's extravagant abuses of power and destruction of our national and international justice systems have harmed our national security. This is a sign that Guantanamo will close - maybe not on January 20, or even in the first year, but it will close. I was also impressed with Holder's vows to go after criminals "on the street" and also "in the board room." No more Enrons, God willing.
  3. Biden recycled the beautiful line Obama used in one of the debates, about America leading "not just by the example of its power, but by the power of its example." Beautifully worded, and so, so right.
  4. Jim Jones looked kinda cranky.
  5. Hillary showed humble and respectful deference to Obama - "Thank you, Mr. President-elect" and thanked the people here in New York for adopting her and sending her to the Senate. It was a classy touch.

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