Friday, January 02, 2009

Reflections of his Party

Could you imagine it? The newly elected Democratic President, Barack Obama, has selected a number of Democrats for the Administration and his Cabinet.

The electorate voiced a clear preference by electing Obama, showing the Republicans the door not only to the White House, but Congress as well, to a large extent. Yet, Obama's Cabinet picks have been mostly moderate, including a few Republicans, much to the consternation of the liberals in the party.

You would never know it based upon the reaction of the GOP. According to the Washington Post, Some Conservatives Fear Obama Advisers Lean Too Far Left:

To some staunch conservatives watching President Bush relinquish the reins of power to President-elect Barack Obama, a few too many ardent liberals are now crashing the gates.

Some well-known Democratic activists are advising Obama on how to steer federal agencies, including a few whom conservative Republicans fought hard to keep out of power in the Clinton administration. They include Roberta Achtenberg, a gay activist whose confirmation as an assistant housing secretary was famously held up by then-Sen. Jesse Helms (N.C.), and Bill Lann Lee, who was hotly opposed by foes of affirmative action and temporarily blocked from the government's top civil rights job.

Conservatives fear that some of these Obama transition advisers are too far left on the political spectrum and are a sign of radical policies to come.

'It is disturbing,' said Roger Clegg, a conservative opponent of Lee's appointment who is now watching the Obama advisers at the Justice Department. 'The transition team as described to me was made up of nothing but people on the far left. Though Obama is more moderate, that makes you wonder what kind of advice the president is given, and what range of choices he'll be given when it comes time to make appointments.'
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo describes it best: "Republicans now accusing Obama of palling around with Democrats."

Or, as Paul Krugman puts it:
As the new Democratic majority prepares to take power, Republicans have become, as Phil Gramm might put it, a party of whiners.
In Bigger Than Bush, Krugman ponders the phenomenon, noting:
Some of the whining almost defies belief. Did Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, really say, “I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror”? Did Rush Limbaugh really suggest that the financial crisis was the result of a conspiracy, masterminded by that evil genius Chuck Schumer?

But most of the whining takes the form of claims that the Bush administration’s failure was simply a matter of bad luck — either the bad luck of President Bush himself, who just happened to have disasters happen on his watch, or the bad luck of the G.O.P., which just happened to send the wrong man to the White House.

The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.
I only quarrel with Krugman on one small point. The GOP were always whiners. They are just whining on the outside now. After all, with all of the mess the country (the world) is in, that's not a bad place to be. In fact, I still believe they threw this race intentionally, so they could attack the new Administration for all of the problems created by Bush. See Change, Republican Style.

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