It was recently revealed that contributions to Bill Richardson are under grand jury investigation. With the appearance of impropriety, Richardson has since withdrawn his name from consideration as Barack Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. Richardson, a former Clinton Energy Secretary, insists he’ll be cleared, but yet another accusation of a “pay-to-play” scandal does nothing to clear the morass of Blago-gate and its potential implications for other members of Obama’s staff (see: Rahm Emmanuel).
Compounding the error was the naming today of Leon Panetta as head of the CIA. This appointment is odd as Panetta, a career politician and former Clinton chief of staff, has absolutely zero experience in the field of intelligence. Top Democrats are miffed, including Senate Intelligence Committee chair Diane Feinstein, who noted her committee wasn’t notified and said pointedly, “I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.” The Panetta appointment is troubling on two fronts: one, the Panetta pick further links Obama’s Cabinet to the Clinton administration. More importantly, the pick indicates that Obama seems to think it’s not important in age of global terror that his international intel officer have any experience in the field. Panetta is an empty suit along the lines of Bill Tenet, who ill-served us in that post but at least had some sort of intel experience. This nomination is downright irresponsible, and when Senate Democrats are indicating they might oppose the pick, you know you’ve made a bad move.
I have noted previously that the Cabinet picks so far have been lackluster at best. These two recent developments do nothing to instill any confidence in Obama’s judgment. As several others have noted, this is hardly the “change we need.” Indeed, this addition of another Clintonite further illustrates that this proves to be nothing better than Clinton’s Third Term. Now, where is the hope and change in that?