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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Clinton, Gates Named to Obama’s Cabinet

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.


  1. for quite awhile now. He has leveled some of the same criticism at our current foreign policy as those uttered by Obama. If Gates can’t follow Obama’s directives then he’ll resign. If he does follow them then he is part of the team. This is the one carry-over from the Bush administration that makes some sense. With everything else that’s going on, we don’t really need to start from scratch here. Besides, as I’ve said before, I think this is a holding position until Wes Clark can take over at Defense.

    What I find interesting is that so many moderates on the right and left think this is a great team. I have never seen the level of enthusiasm for an incoming administration like I’ve seen for this one. It’s about more than Obama or an end to the Bush era. It’s an acknowledgment that Obama is putting together one of the most impressive incoming teams in modern times.

  2. anna shane

    out with the old and in with the new, it’s about vision, about temperament, about accountability, about getting stuff done. Gates did what Bush asked, and did his best, and Barack seems to think he’ll be better at doing what Barack asks than someone who hasn’t been there through the lows and doesn’t know the ins and outs of this occupation. He’s picking experience.

    When I first heard Hillary’s name floated as SoS, I was cheered.  She and Barack happen to share a vision of America’s role in the future of the globe.  I first blogged the rumor here, and got nothing but shared excitement. Now this is the dream team.  SoS is more than a full time job and one problem with Hillary being our prez would have been that she’d have had to name someone else to that post, and she’d be the best at it.  

    My admiration for her is boundless, and I know we’ll now have our best chance to repair the bush damage.  The world is relieved it’s not John, but pessimistic about what Barack and Hillary can actually change. I’m not usually an optimist, but this time’s different.  

  3. SpanishFly

    Just wanted to say hello and let you all know I signed up here this afternoon.  I saw Brit’s invite on my “final” post at MyDD.  There looks to be a lot of solid citizens here.  People I respected over there.

    I don’t know what I’ll contribute at this point but I certainly look forward to participating, on some level, at a place that isn’t infested with hateful pricks intent on driving every conversation back to a debate about Hillary Clinton.  

  4. DeniseVelez

    of the team too.  Susan Rice at the UN is a great choice, and I’m glad he’s put that position back up to Cabinet level.  Have read very good things about Napolitano.

    Don’t know much about Jones; I know a lot more about Eric Holder who is a fellow New Yorker.

    Frankly, I’m ignoring the Chicken Little’s of the Left, who would be lost without something to lament.

    Barack said he’s leading this team – and it’s his vision.  

    As I stated a few days ago over at DKos, I’m probably farther left than most, and am totally comfortable with all the picks.

    Strong, competent, and capable.  I’m sick of hearing the “re-tread” meme.  Where in the hell did they expect Barack to find Democrats with experience?  He’d have to go back to Carter’s time.  

    The Gates pick just makes good horse sense for the transition.  

  5. spacemanspiff

    … they were in Spain. All the way to my house all dad talked about was Obama and what a Dream Team he has.  If he came back this giddy about the P elect it means his spanish friends are crazy over him as well. A double whammy! Remember, this is from the man who left the Obama/Osama New Yorker cover as my wallpaper. The guy who would ask me everyday what Barack’s middle name was.

    Every single day.


    A southern baptist conservative is calling Obama’s cabinet a “Dream Team”.

    How good is Barack Obama?


    OT a bit.

    I know this was mentioned elsewhere but this isn’t pre primary Hillary anymore we have at SoS either.

    Whoever talks about her being a polarizing figure needs to put down the Haterade and open up their eyes to the new reality.

    I believe she has succesfully shed the unfair labels put on her by the rightwing to the point that the attacks on her (especially from the CDS sufferers) are outdated and barely make sense anymore (not that they ever did).

    You guys know what I mean. To lazy to expand on my point right now.

    What a wild ride this election cycle has been.

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