Well, it’s official. According to the Washington Post, Barack Obama has named Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates to the roles of Secretary of State and Defense, respectively.
There are people on the left and right unhappy about either or both of these picks, which makes me very pleased.
The transcript of the press conference can be found here.
I have heard from friends on the right that putting Hillary Clinton and other Clinton-era people close to hand is “not change”. That this is “more of the same”. I disagree.
Obama is appointing the best people with the most experience to these roles so he can lead them in addressing the issues of the nation from Day One. There should be no doubt that there will be “one president at a time” after January 20th, and it will be Barack Obama. A weak leader seeks to surround his or her self with sycophants and toadies, a strong leader chooses the most qualified team.
I have known Hillary Clinton as a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel, and a tough campaign opponent. She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and a remarkable work ethic. I am proud that she will be our next secretary of state. She’s an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence, who know many of the world’s leaders, who will command respect in every capital, and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world.
Hillary’s appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances. There’s much to do from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea, to seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to strengthening international institutions.
I think no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead our State Department and to work with me in tackling this ambitious foreign policy agenda
Well said, Mr. President-elect. It’s a complex world and Sen. Clinton is a strong and capable voice.
My sixtyish step-brother – a wonderful man but also a far-left academic – told me “Gates, eh? That’s not change!” as soon as I saw him at Thanksgiving. Many of my other friends on the left have voiced similar discontent when this pick was forecast. I disagree.
At a time when we face unprecedented transition amidst two wars, I’ve asked Secretary Robert Gates to continue as secretary of defense. And I’m pleased that he’s accepted. Two years ago, he took over the Pentagon at a difficult time. He restored accountability. He won the confidence of military commanders and the trust of our brave men and women in uniform as well as their families.
He earned the respect of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for his pragmatism and competence. He knows that we need a sustainable national security strategy. And that includes a bipartisan consensus at home.
As I said throughout the campaign, I will be giving Secretary Gates and our military a new mission as soon as I take office — responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.
Gates is in my opinion the right person for the job for exactly those reasons. There is a lot going on, and Gates’ summation of the options two years ago was received well by those on both sides of the aisle as well as the military who have to carry out the orders of Washington. Moreover, by choosing the right person for the job regardless of the comments of those on the left, Obama once again reaffirms his statements of his view of a “United States of America”.
We did not elect Barack Obama so that he could satisfy Ann Coulter or Rachel Maddow. We elected him to fix the problems of this country, and he seems to be keeping that foremost in his thoughts and actions.
Good on you, Barack.