Saturday, December 06, 2008

Change we can believe in? Yes we can! I Hope.

The lefties are not yet livid yet, but they are starting to mummer and grumble. I am sure some on the left would not be satisfied with anything short of Bill Ayers being appointed Secretary of State and Jeremiah Wright being Chief of Staff. Well, it does not look as if it will happen.

Not a single anti-war person has been appointed to his national security team. He is keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Hillary Clinton who voted for the war in Iraq is getting Secretary of State. His economic team is composed of people that Wall Street find reassuring.

Columnist David Brooks says his appointees are “admired professionals” and “not ideological” and “not excessively partisan.” Henry Kissinger has praised the cabinet choices saying, "It took courage for the president-elect to choose this constellation." Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has also praised Obama for his cabinet choices. What many on the right feared and what those on the left hoped for is not happening. Obama is staffing his leadership team with bright moderate centrist Washington insiders.

Not only are the Obama appointments reassuring, but Obama is also backing away from most of his campaign promises. Almost daily the transition team is letting it be leaked or are announcing policy changes.

Recently Obama’s economic advisers outlined a plan that would raise tax rates on capital gains and dividends from 15% to 20% for individuals making more than $200,000 and on family incomes above $250,000. This was good news. Previous policy positions had led investors to fear Obama would double the 15% tax rate on capital gains and raise the 15% rate on dividends to 40%.

The Obama team also have announce that now is not the time to repeal the Bush tax cut for the wealthy. They won’t be adding additional income taxes to those making over $250,000. Also, they have announced they have changed their mind about a windfall profits tax on the oil companies.

Obama was never the most anti-war of the Democrats but did promise to get US “combat” troops out of Iraq within sixteen months. Now it seems that the distinction between combat troops and other troops is a big distinction and a residual force of up to 70,000 troops may be left in Iraq. He has also said he would listen to the advice of Gates and uniformed commanders on the ground in setting the pace for the partial withdrawal. This is reassuring.

Obama’s team have even let it be known that they will not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010, to ask Congress to end the military's ban on open homosexuals serving in the ranks, known as the “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy. The Obama position on this issue and on issue after issue is being modified or implementation of promised new policies is being delayed.

Except for a handful of ideologically committed leftist, it looks like Obama can change his positions without his supporters even noticing. The mass of people, who swooned at the mention of his name and cried on election night and whose Thanksgiving thing they were thankful for was the election of Obama, will apparently let him lead them anywhere. In a way this is reassuring. Those voters were not voting for specific leftwing policies but had an emotional response to the man Obama.

We should not be surprised that Obama would break campaign promises and shift his positions. If you recall, he promised to accept public financing of his campaign and then changed his mind. He started moderating his positions and moving toward the center immediately after winning the Democratic primary. He is continuing along the same trajectory. Anyway, only a fool stays the course and refuses to change his mind when circumstances indicate a need for a change in policy. And only a fool would raise taxes when the economy needs a stimulus and only a fool would radically change our nations defense and security team in the mist of a war and when terrorist are plotting another attack on this country. I am reassured that Obama is no fool.

I am not catching a case of Obamania but I am pleasantly surprised at some of his appointments and changes in policy. If he continues down this path, he may be Ok for America. So far, he is showing me some change I can believe in.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories


  1. It has been oddly quiet on the Left regarding some of his appointments. I thought that for sure there was going to be a major ruckus when he appointed Larry Summers who is not a--ahem--favorite of feminist groups around the country. Let's see who he appoints to the EPA...could be interesting.

  2. For me, it is a simple matter of whatever works.

    My philosophy has always been, a rising tide raises all ships.

    But I would prefer that the government be limited and let the people, entrepreneurs, and small business owners lead the way.