Obama Priority Is To Remake America
By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
Early personnel appointments show that President-elect Barack Obama's policy team is more interested in remaking America's social policy than changing foreign policy or improving the ethical standard in our nation's capital.
Obama's policy teams appear comfortable keeping the Bush foreign policy intact, but the President-elect is hiring people who are committed to remaking domestic policy by vastly expanding the scope of federal power.
As a case in point, Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as Obama's choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services is very telling. Obama strategists wanted a legislative veteran in this job because they are planning an almost immediate push for socialized medicine. Expect early-on maneuvers supporting universal-coverage mandates for business and new healthcare entitlements for lower-income Americans.
According to the Washington Blade, D.C.'s gay newspaper: "Officials with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team this week named at least seven openly gay people to transition panels assigned to review federal departments and agencies. Three of the seven gays named to the transition panels -- businessman Fred P. Hochberg, former San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, and labor attorney Elaine Kaplan -- held high-level positions in the Clinton administration." They are all proponents of a major push for federal legislation and regulations to vastly expand the rights of gay couples.
Another priority for Obama is abortion. "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)," Sen. Barack Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action fund on July 17, 2007. "That's the first thing that I'd do."
This radical piece of pro-abortion legislation invalidates any "statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action" of any federal, state, or local government or governmental official (or any person acting under government authority) that would "deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose" abortion, or that would "discriminate against the exercise of the right . . . in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information." The FOCA legislation would establish, in Sen. Barbara Boxer's words, "the absolute right to choose" prior to fetal "viability."
And ironically, Barack Obama's campaign was propelled to victory with a message about remaking America's policy toward the war in Iraq and the world. He was able to win early primary contests against Sen. Hillary Clinton specifically because of her support for the invasion of Iraq. Now as he assembles a foreign policy team he is choosing defense hawks, including Sen. Clinton, who supported the war. She is the leading candidate for Secretary of State.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that anti-war activists are upset: "Obama ran his campaign around the idea the war was not legitimate, but it sends a very different message when you bring in people who supported the war from the beginning," said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of the 54-chapter Iraq Veterans Against the War.
In addition to Sen. Clinton, other hawks who are being promoted for key positions include Republican Sen. Richard Lugar and Bush's current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
His choice for White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is known in Congress as a defender of Israel and is unlikely to support any changes in America's policy toward the Mideast and the Jewish state.
And mind you, don't expect a higher standard of ethics from Obama acolytes.
Emanuel carries baggage because he was a member of the board of directors for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, the controversial "Freddie Mac". This plum position was payback for his loyal support of President Clinton. Emanuel made millions from Wall Street investment banking before he moved on to the U.S. Congress in 2002. Freddie Mac was plagued with an accounting scandal during the Emanuel tenure. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) later accused the board on which he served of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention."
Similarly, former Judge Eric Holder, tapped for Attorney General by Obama, was instrumental in arranging the pardon of notorious felon Marc Rich. According to The Washington Post, he has a "blot" on his record: "Mr. Holder was No. 2 at the Justice Department when President Bill Clinton pardoned fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose ex-wife was a major Clinton contributor. Although Mr. Holder oversaw the lawyers responsible for evaluating pardon requests, he did not insist that his department formally evaluate the legal merits of the claim after Mr. Rich applied directly to the White House for his pardon."
Based on early personnel choices, it looks like a President Obama will keep the Bush foreign policy, turn to Washington insiders despite their checkered pasts, and push ahead with a radical social agenda that was largely off the radar during the campaign.