Is the Obama administration shaping up to be the third term of Clinton? Just as candidate Barack Obama claimed a McCain administration would be the third term of George W. Bush, president-elect Obama seems to be following suit.
Granted, Bill Clinton is the only Democrat in recent years to have the title of former President, but if bringing in experienced Republicans would have been redundant for John McCain, isn't the same true for Barack Obama in bringing on board so many former Clintonites? Seems to Democrats, experience means expertise. The charge against Republicans, however, is that experience would be more of the same.
A few more names are trickling out as upcoming cabinet appointees. The most recognizable name is Tom Daschle, former Senator from South Dakota and also former Majority Leader as well as Minority Leader. He is thought to be top dog in the running for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Since his re-election defeat in 2004, Daschle has served as a board member of the Mayo Clinic and is "a highly paid adviser to health care clients at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird", according to The New York Times. According to the article, a sticking point is with Obama's pledge "that no political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years."
This means Daschle would have to recuse himself should matters concerning the Mayo Clinic or former clients arise as he carries out his duties as Secretary of Health and Human Services. No one would begrudge Daschle pursuing his ability to earn as much money as his abilities allow since leaving public service. But, to go back into public service with the new administration as head of an agency with far-reaching responsibilities, could prove awkward.
Daschle's wife, Linda, is a successful lobbyist for aerospace and military entities.
Valerie Jarrett, an old friend of both Obamas, will be senior White House adviser. She is credited with introducing her long time friend, Michelle, to Barack Obama. Michelle Obama was hired by Jarrett to work for former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. Jarrett was city planning commissioner. She worked for Habitat Company, a real estate development and apartment-management company. What the press release didn't say was that her dealings as President and CEO of Habitat lead to unanswered questions in Chicago as her friend, Obama, ran for President.
Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Al Gore, oversaw the Gore effort during the legal battles of the election of 2000. He will be chief of staff for Joe Biden. He has a history of involvement in Supreme Court nominations for the past 20 years. He was charged with vetting David Souter and Clarence Thomas for the Senate Judicial Committee under Democrat leadership. He brought forward the nominations of Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Phil Schiliro is a California Democrat with long service to Rep. Henry Waxman as a congressional investigator. He will be head of the White House legislative affairs office. As a hyper partisan by reputation, Schiliro will lay to rest claims of bi-partisan reaching across the aisle by the incoming administration. Waxman is known for using investigations as chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Schiliro was a key member of Waxman's witch hunts. Waxman's sneering investigations have produced very little in the two years of the Bush administration that he has been re-installed as chair of the committee.
Schiliro will be useful in protecting Democrats from any investigative inquiries by Republicans as the next four years progress.
Didn't Barack Obama, as candidate Obama, promise to name a Treasury Secretary and get working on our financial difficulties as his first order of business? Where is that nominee? Wall Street hasn't shown any confidence so far in the names out there now for these other positions.