Obama Names National Security Team

Obama CabinetI won’t lie to you: I was suspicious of Barack Obama when he first hit the national scene as a presidential candidate. It’s not that I didn’t think he had great ideas, I just didn’t see much substance behind the ideas. I worried that his pie-in-the-sky oration would have no follow through.

I feel better now.

Obama Names Team to Face a Complex Security Picture

In announcing his choices of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to be secretary of state, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to continue in office and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones to serve as national security adviser, Obama laid out a vision of an America whose global stature is restored and whose military, diplomatic and economic power are balanced with one another and with “the power of our moral example.”

First of all, there’s the fact that Obama understands the importance of having a team well in place before January 20, 2009. These folks will be up to speed and ready to roll when the job becomes theirs.

Secondly, of course is the fact that they are already up to speed. Naming Robert Gates surprised me, but on reflection I think it was a wise move. I doubt Gates will stay on for 4 years, but he’ll be there for the Presidential transition. The last thing we need now is a completely new cast of characters in Iraq. Naming Gates means utilizing the institutional knowledge that is crucial to getting a handle on this War.

Could it be that Obama’s “audacity of hope” is the real thing? The cynic in me, sharply honed over the past 8 years, is waiting for the shoe to drop. I’m waiting for Obama or one of his aides to say something stupid, some off-the-cuff remark that insults me. Of course, since the campaigns ended, that really hasn’t happened.

The idealist in me is struggling to come out and play again. Could it really be true that we will have people in positions of power who know what they are doing and who actually have the public interest at heart, rather than their own oil profits?

The world is in a heap of trouble: War, recession, terrorism, poverty, disease, hunger, pollution, illiteracy. President-Elect Obama won’t be giving out puppies to the planet. But his actions and statements since being elected have shown a maturity and understanding of the gravity of the situation that we haven’t seen in, well, 8 years.  I do believe I may have hope.


  1. Sue, just hearing Obama’s voice thrills me. I have never been starry-eyed over him, either, but listening to complete sentences, coherent thoughts, mature, sensible, non-belligerent plans for the future, and words like “middle class” and “diplomacy” is music to my ears. After the deep shame and trauma of the last 8 years of Bush, I revel in the knowledge that ‘the adults are in charge’ instead of the Toddler-In-Chief, who has grown cranky and fussy after being kept up long past his bedtime.

    Even though I know that Obama is no Prince Charming who will make all our troubles magically disappear, and that we will have to do much of the heavy lifting ourselves, it’s such a relief to be able to look forward to a President who does not fill me with fear, and a government who does not treat its citizens like enemies to be vanquished or walking ATM machines. I feel like the Old Man of the Sea has fallen off my back at last, and that America just might have a real leader, not a Commander Guy or a Decider.

  2. The problems we face both nationally and internationally are such that they may well be with us for a long time. Obama is no miracle worker after all. But I am convinced we have chosen the brightest most thoughtful person possible and if anyone can solve these problems, he will do it. I have faith. It’s been way too many years without any, so I’m going for broke here!

  3. I actually find Obama’s voice grating and annoying. I find him annoying.

    but I like what he’s done so far. I respect his choices. good start.

    and yes, I do believe we have a leader, finally.

  4. I guess I should have clarified: I enjoy Obama’s oratory skills, but like Sara, I find his extemporaneous speaking style pretty annoying. I keep thinking about the guy on SNL who does his impression of the odd inflections Obama uses.

    And I still smart from the abuse thrown at Hillary Clinton over her laugh. Some may accuse me of searching out sexism, but I maintain that if a woman had that same odd speaking pattern, she’d be ridiculed relentlessly.

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