Obama’s Cabinet continues to fail to impress

Posted on December 16, 2008

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I heard Bob Beckel today call this the “smoothest and most well-run transition in the history of the country.” Never mind the extreme historical hyperbole – even if it could be considered smooth, what it’s churning out is nothing short of lackluster.

Consider the most recent picks. New Education Secretary Arne Duncan is the CEO of the Chicago school system and a man with ties to Bill Ayers’ Annenberg Challenge. I’m not sure where Chicago schools rank in the nation, but this Wikipedia snippet on their performance isn’t encouraging:

The April 212006 issue of the Chicago Tribune revealed a study released by the Consortium on Chicago School Research that stated that 6 of every 100 CPS freshmen would earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25. 3 in 100 black or Latino men would earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25. The study tracked Chicago high school students who graduated in 1998 and 1999. 35% of CPS students who went to college earned their bachelor’s degree within six years, below the national average of 64%.[1]

Chicago has a history of high dropout rates, with around half of students failing to graduate for the past 30 years. Criticism is directed at the CPS for inflating its performance figures. Through such techniques as counting students who swap schools before dropping out as transfers but not dropouts, it publishes graduation claims as high as 71%. Nonetheless, throughout the 1990s actual rates seem to have improved slightly, as true graduation estimates rose from 48% in 1991 to 54% in 2004.[2]

Take Obama’s pick for energy czar, Carol Browner. Don’t bother asking me for the duties of an energy czar (or a Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change). Once again, we have another Clinton-era retread with some sketchy history.

And take Obama’s nominee for Energy Secretary, Steven Chu. According to the Obama team press release, “since 2004, motivated by his deep interest in climate change, he has transformed the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab into a broad and innovative research program on energy technologies.” He has won a Nobel Prize, but sadly, so has Al Gore, and both seem to share an affinity for global warming propaganda, although I’m sure Dr. Chu is far more restrained in his views than Mr. Gore. I fear an Energy Department run under this green agenda will produce more gas taxes, more emission standards, more federal tax dollars toward unproven “green tech” and less utilization of the natural resources and technology we already possess, which all spells disaster for an already stretched-thin economy.

Take this together with Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson, another Clintonite, State Secretary Hillary Clinton, who needs no further explanation, Attorney General Eric Holder, 2nd at the Clinton Justice Department, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, 2nd in the Clinton State Department – take all of these into consideration, and you begin to see a Cabinet that is neither bold nor impressive, and certainly not the outside-the-beltway change many voters thought they were going to get. The defense picks are by far the best so far, but SecDef Robert Gates is a holdover from the supposedly “evil” Bush administration, and National Security Advisor James Jones looks to be more hawkish than the left had hoped. All in all, it really is beginning to look like all that “change” rhetoric was just that – hot air designed to get votes.

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Posted in: News, Politics