Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Team of Responsiveness

The potential appointment of Hillary Clinton to head the State Department, lack of malicious reproach towards wayward nominal Democrat Joe Lieberman, and utilization of notable Washington insiders to fill crucial posts within the Obama Administration does not upset me. As has been noted in many corners of the media, Obama is seeking to emulate Lincoln by putting to together a cabinet comprised of a "Team of Rivals". Having read that particular book recently, I see its influence upon the President-Elect. Lincoln himself drew frequent criticism for every policy decision he made---especially in the editorial boards and pages of the multitude of newspapers existent in his day, which were as hyper-partisan, if not more so, than the voices of the blogsophere today.

It's a tendency of human nature to seek blood justice and harsh punishment for offenders but this is a temptation we must fight. Lincoln learned quickly that if he wished to obtain the support and advice of fellow politicians he ought to favor tact over bloodletting. Restraint is a quality often in short supply in politics and the blogsophere alike. The "gotcha" style politics that have been practiced recently may seem satisfying and cleansing in the short term, but in the long term they create resentment and factionalism which is to no one's benefit in the end. Lincoln knew that forgiveness and a refusal to hold a grudge went farther than public punishment, no matter how justified it might seem at the time. Many people are fickle and uncomprehending of the process, eager to second guess their leaders, wishing the world could be a perpetual heavyweight, bare knuckle prize fight. Desiring retribution whenever possible and believing that consensus to be little more than a naive fantasy, they hold any elected representative to a standard of perfection that is impossible to attain in reality.

Obama also is aware of the problems Jimmy Carter created for himself when he packed his inner circle full of inexperienced Washington outsiders, whose incompetence and insularity created one black eye after another for the Carter Administration. The ravenous critics who will parse, lament, critique, knash teeth, and otherwise resort to indignation would be wise to shelve these knee-jerk reactions. I feel much more confident in the judgment of President Obama than I ever have or ever will about the capabilities of President Bush. No candidate needs a free pass---that would be irresponsible and shirk the responsibility of citizenship, but neither does a candidate need to be lambasted and raked over the coals for ever decision he or she makes, no matter the circumstances. That being said, if we could seek a happy medium within ourselves that is similar to the happy medium President-Elect Obama is searching to find in his own staff, how much more content and happy we would all be.


Gail said...

Hi Kevin-
again, your writing inspires and educates and challenges a much needed "higher order".

Hope all is well. I am on the mend.


Utah Savage said...

You are spot on with this post. I agree with every word. I want Obama (or Hilldog, if it's her choice to make) to give Lieberman the Ambassador post to Israel. This is the country that is most important to Joe. So let's send him there. It will get him out of the Senate and out of our minds and we will probably hear very little about Joe after that.

Mauigirl said...

Kevin, thanks for posting this. This is how I feel about Obama's decisions as well - I actually think he knows what he's doing, which I admit is hard to realize after 8 years of a president who hadn't the foggiest idea what he was doing. Obama said he'd be reaching out, he said it was the end of partisanship, and so far he is proving it.

Not only that but as I've said elsewhere, forgiving Joe Lieberman makes him owe Obama bigtime. Being nasty to Joe Lieberman just makes an enemy. What help would that be?

Mauigirl said...

I'm back - just wanted to let you know you have an award waiting for you over at my place!