Does Anybody Remember Post-partisanship?

Sheesh.  Everyone is giving President-elect Obama advice.  There are innumerable Stepford wife (or husband) Republican pundits giving Very Serious suggestions that Mr. Obama should govern from the center because, after all, this is a center-right country, don’tcha know, despite the overwhelming evidence that a majority of Americans support pretty much every progressive cause or position.

There should be a special place in hell for people like this, but the ones that are currently driving me stark raving nutters are the folks obsessing endlessly about what current or former Republicans should be included in his cabinet, and in which positions.

Here’s how I think it has to go down, if Barack Obama is the kind of leader we all think he is.

Republicans can’t manage worth shit.  It’s about time we all admitted it.  They’ve botched every operation and hobbled every bureaucracy they’ve ever tried to run.  Every federal department and agency will need a top-to-bottom housecleaning in both personnel and procedures.  It’s going to take a lot of work to make our government work properly again.  Do we really trust any Republican to do any of that?

The best choices for cabinet positions would be Democrats (or perhaps even some nonpartisans, if such an animal exists) who have some skill at running things and hold reasonably well-informed opinions about the subject matter.  Perhaps committee chairmen.  Maybe a professor or two.  You know, competent people.  Unlike those we’ve seen over the last eight years.

When it comes to major initiatives like healthcare or homeland security, though, it would be a good idea to include a sprinking of Republicans or even Democrats who disagree with President Obama.  This will given them some influence and, if they behave themselves like grown-ups, they can end up even strengthening whatever gets enacted.  At minimum, addressing their concerns will help smooth the bill’s passage.

The better they do at providing input and helping to shape the final decision, the more access and influence they get.  This is how I trained my dog.  Believe me, it works and makes for a great pet ownership experience.  Most GOP Congresscritters and Senators are probably as smart as my dog, so I’m sure they’ll learn quickly.

That’s post-partisanship, baby.

7 Responses to “Does Anybody Remember Post-partisanship?”

  1. ediem says:

    You know what kind of leader I think he’ll be? Read below, and maybe you’re left enough not to be scared, but personally . . .

    I became scared enough over Obama’s election to begin researching. Instead of finding comfort in my research, I found lots of scary ties.

    You know the weirdest coincidence. If you google Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, you learn that she had a Marxist teacher in HI as well as other Marxist influences. Then you go on to find out that she met her 2nd husband, Lolo Soetoro in Indonesia in Russian language class. I believe that was in 1967, immediately after the Communist uprising that was violently squelched by Suharto.

    Then you worry about Socialism, so you go to the library and you look up capitalism, and you find a book The Crisis of Global Capitalism, written by one George Soros. You research George Soros on the internet, and you find out that he gave several million dollars to MoveOn.Org, which was responsible for filtering $88 million into Obama’s campaign. You also find out that George Soros is an atheist who has a strong belief in something called “Open Society”, which when you read about it, is basically Communism modernized and repackaged to be sold to people by the egomaniac that I have determined George Soros to be after reading only the preface in his book. It appears that he has used his market knowledge and wealth to manipulate and collapse markets, then blame the collapse on capitalism. Is something starting to sound familiar here?

    I have only read the preface of his book and already discovered one really strange coincidence. On page “xi” of the preface, he mentions Indonesia. To quote, “In Indonesia, for instance, most of the gains in living standards that accumulated during 30 years of Suharto’s regime have disappeared.” Have the Communists been waiting this long to get back at their violent overthrow by Suharto’s regime in the mid-60s?

    So Obama’s our president-elect. His mother was in Russian language classes in Indonesia in 1967, a couple of years after Suharto’s regime violently squelched a communist uprising in the Country. George Soros mentions Indonesia and Suharto in his book. George Soros gave several million dollars to MoveOn.org. MoveOn.org donated $88 million to Obama’s campaign. So who is our President-Elect, really? Obama or Soros.

    Quoting from Soros’ book again “The only way CHANGES could come about is through the pressure of public opinion, particularly in the United States. What makes the idea of an open society coalition realistic is that democratic governments are responsive to the demands of their citizens. But first people must subscribe to the idea of open society.” So how much does it cost to change a capitalistic/democratic government to an “open society”? Around $88 million.

  2. DrGail says:

    ediem: You’re kidding, right?

    Seriously, I really don’t get why folks on the right get the vapors about George Soros. You think he’s scary; okay, I get that. Do you honestly think he’s any scarier to you than, say, Pat Robertson is to us? But you don’t hear us generating these absurd conspiracy theories about him, do you?

    For God’s sake, grow a pair.

  3. Mcguyver says:

    Quote: “don’tcha know, despite the overwhelming evidence that a majority of Americans support pretty much every progressive cause or position.” End quote.

    Right.

    Like Prop. 8 for example, even in CA no less!! Mmmmhu…
    ..yea that makes sense.

    Even with all the sliding away from their base support that the Republicans have done, their base in CA didn’t mind voting their convictions in a free and fair election.

    So will you lefties allow us to make our voices heard on the public opinion square, or, will you support a liberal Ahnold Governator in encouraging the property damaging rioters and thus pushing the fair minded non-rioting gays into the underground and over to our side of the voting bloc?

    Huh?

    Keep that up and you will see what progress really is.

  4. Craig says:

    Could you be any more broad-brushed and partisan-stereotyped about your assessment of politicans?? There is nothing magical about a “R” or a “D” after anyone’s name. Especially when it comes to levels of competence, ethics or administrative skill. A basic tour of the history books will establish that fact.

    If Obama is the leader that the people who gave him the election think he is (hint: it was not the committed left base), he will, in fact, look at many things other than the letter R or D. He will look for who can best get the job done. That’s not to say that the administration won’t obviously be dominated by Democrats. But a proclaimed “new kind of politics” shouldn’t be limited by the old-school thinking that you’ve just demanded.

  5. DrGail says:

    Craig, I stand corrected. It’s not all Republicans who can’t manage worth shit, just those who are currently living and active in the party. I don’t think it’s something endemic to their party identification. Rather, those that have found success within the party in recent years have been such ideologues that they lack the basic pragmatism to manage in an efficient and effective way.

    Name me one Republican currently in office who has excelled at running anything without injecting competence-destroying ideology within the past 8 years, and I’ll walk back my comments even further. Hell, name me one agency that has been better run under the Bush Administration than, say, under the Clinton Administration. That shouldn’t be too difficult, should it?

    My point in the post, which apparently wasn’t completely clear, is that Obama’s cabinet is no place for extreme ideologues. Cabinet positions are department heads, with large agencies to manage. Worse than that, every agency will need some serious repairs after the last 8 years.

    Obama has quite a large job carved out for him, trying to instill some sense of competence back into the mechanism of our government, while trying to solve some of the massive problems caused or passed along by the Bush Administration. Inviting partisan ideologues onto the cabinet and giving them the reins of any agency is a very bad idea. There’s a government to run.

    But when policy issues are tackled, Republican partisanship will certainly rear its head in Congress. Boehner will start crying about something or another, Pelosi will be likened to a vampire (or something equally awful), McConnell will bleat about how there used to be such comity in the Senate before the low-rent Democrats came into power, rinse and repeat. The partisans will need to be included and involved, if only so they don’t scuttle passage of whatever it is. If they behave themselves, and offer sound ideas and concerns rather than playing obstructionist, they can provide some value.

    I fail to see how this is “old school thinking” in any way. I certainly don’t expect anyone with a D after their name to practice any sort of obstructionism; that will be reserved for the minority party.

  6. Craig says:

    I’m no politican wonk, who knows all the Congressional Republicans or Bush appointees throughout the Federal government who may be under consideration by Obama, but my point was to your blanket claim that “Every federal department and agency will need a top-to-bottom housecleaning” of Republicans because they can’t handle/manage anything competently. I think its clear that people like Robert Gates, Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel and Tom Coburn will get some kind of appointment or at least very serious consideration. Other political underlings within the Bush Administration will likely be able to retain or move into appointments, based on their demonstrated skills and any proven ability to be able to work across parties and not be beholden to a less than moderate conservative viewpoint.

    Obama will still have plenty of appointee debts that he’ll be obliged to pay back, even in a “new politics” administration. But I think he’ll be able to be more pragmatic about his options than you seem to prefer. At least I hope so.

  7. DrGail says:

    No, no, no, Craig. I can see how you read my post that way, but please don’t put too much emphasis on my line about Republicans not being able to manage worth shit. I included that because I liked the sound of it.

    The departments and agencies don’t need a housecleaning of Republicans because they can’t manage. They need a housecleaning to get rid of people who were never qualified in the first place, to overturn procedures that run counter to the objectives of the agency, and to reorient the agency toward its mission so that it makes efficient use of its resources.

    Every agency is headed by political appointees, and by “headed” I mean the top several layers. These positions always change hands with a new administration. They are the essence of “The Plum Book”.

    The problem is that the Bush Administration has pushed this farther down into every agency than has ever happened before. For example, Monica Goodling admitted to using a “political litmus test” for hiring career lawyers in the Justice Department. The fact that they are Republicans is incidental (they could just as easily be Democrats in a different day and age, as you pointed out originally). The fact that people who should have been hired because of their competence were, in fact, hired because of their political ideology is one facet of the problem. Remember “Brownie”?

    Another facet of the problem is that once these folks brought politics into positions where competence should reign, they drove out competent people. The obvious example here is the “muzzle” put onto NASA’s climate scientists so that they did not publicly make comments which contradicted the Bush Administration’s tenacious insistence that global warming either didn’t exist or was a non-problem.

    If you’ve ever been part of an organization that ballyhoos its principles but acts in total contradiction to them, you know that it’s generally the most principled and competent people who get thoroughly disgusted, get a better job elsewhere, and leave. The ones who stay (at the risk of generalizing too much) are the ones who don’t care much about principles, can’t get a better job anywhere else, or actually agree with the direction the organization is taking (even though it contradicts the stated principles).

    These, then, are the people who will need to be rooted out: the ones who corrupted the system and the ones who kind of prefer the corrupted version.

    (Incidentally, I laughed out loud at your mention of Tom Coburn. I think even the GOP Senators recognize that he’s a bit of a loony. He is the original crusader against pork — and perhaps John McCain’s inspiration in this area — but otherwise is a one-trick pony. I suppose he could take a role in the new administration, but it would have to be a very circumscribed position. His pre-Senate gig was as an OB/GYN, so there’s not much carryover there.)

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