You see some absurd standards being set for how far President-elect Barack Obama should tip his cabinet to the right. Al Kamen in the Washington Post (11/7/07) writes that if “he’s serious about this bipartisan thing…then he’s going to have to do better than his predecessors, probably putting at least three non-D’s in the cabinet ranks, or it will look much like same-old, same-old.” He then suggests turning over the departments of State, Defense and Energy to Republicans–because nothing spells “change” like allowing the party in power to keep setting foreign, military and energy policy, does it?
Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks (11/7/08) writes about “the [Obama] administration of my dreams”:
They will actually believe in that stuff Obama says about postpartisan politics. That means there wonÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t just be a few token liberal Republicans in marginal jobs. There will be people like Robert Gates at Defense and Ray LaHood, Stuart Butler, Diane Ravitch, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jim Talent at other important jobs.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin? The McCain adviser who recently described Obama’s “basic goal” as “taking money away from people who work for it and giving it to people who Barack Obama believes deserve it”? “Europeans call it socialism, Americans call it welfare, and Barack Obama calls it change”–that Douglas Holtz-Eakin?
Or Jim Talent, who declared less than three months ago that choosing Joe Biden as a running mate “demonstrates that the Obama campaign realizes that Senator Obama doesnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t have the foreign policy credentials or experience to be president”?
These are standards for being “serious” about post- or bipartisanship that are fundamentally non-serious.