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February 6, 2009

Change We Can Believe In?

Bill Brosius

“Change we can believe in. You understand that in the November election, the greatest risk we can take is to practice the same old politics with the same old players while we expect to get different results. Change does not come from Washington; it must come to Washington.)” (Candidate Barack Obama)


Under the omnipotent President Obama, what degree of change have we seen, among those named to be the new leaders of our changed government, thereby giving us hope?


Let us name a few:


Bill Richardson: Democrat, Governor of Arizona, slated to be Secretary of Commerce in the Obama cabinet. Oops, tainted by a grand jury investigation into allegations of how state contracts were issued to political donors. Withdrawn.


Rahm Emanuel, named Chief of Staff to Mr. Obama, was a senior advisor to President William J. Clinton.


Leon Pinetta, named by President Obama to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was director of the United States Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton. No intelligence gathering credentials.


Robert Reich has been named by President Obama to be his special advisor in economics. He was Secretary of Labor under President Clinton.


Eric Holder was assistant Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. President Obama has elevated him to be Attorney General. This is the man who masterminded the “capture” at gunpoint of little Elian Gonzales from his uncle in Florida, to return him to the paradise that is Cuba under Fidel Castro. (Never mind that Elian’s mother died in getting him out of Cuba and into the United States.)


Carol Browner, who ran the EPA under Bill Clinton, was appointed to head the Global Warming effort for President Obama.


Susan Rice, picked by President Obama to head the United Nations delegation, was assistant Secretary of State under President Clinton.


Nancy Killefer was selected by President Obama to be the nation’s first “Chief Performance Officer” (whatever that means). She withdrew when it became known that the D. C. government had filed a lien on her home for non-payment of payroll taxes on domestic help.


Tax liens are not summarily filed, so she had plenty of time, in this case one and a half years, to prevent the lien by paying the tax. Even so, it took her five months after the lien was filed to pay it. Maybe she pled ignorance: she had been only assistant Treasury Secretary for Management under President Clinton. As such she was the chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the Treasury Department and its 160,000 employees. Her husband didn’t know better, either; he was an economics professor. She required a lot of help: two nannies to look after her two teenage kids, plus a personal assistant. Nomination withdrawn.


Such talented and honorable people!


Then in a different category, is Hillary Clinton, one who could not be said to serve under President Clinton, but was always by his side. President Obama nominated her to be Secretary of State (later confirmed by the U. S. Senate), and thus, the senior cabinet officer. (We get a twofer on this one, Hill & Bill.)


And he is not through making appointments yet.


President Obama picked Tom Daschle, former senator from South Dakota to head Health and Human Services. Under a cloud of income taxes evasion (oh, he forgot to report $120,000+ of income), Mr. Daschle withdrew.


Then recently there was Tim Geithner, who also “forgot” to report taxable income, although he was reminded twice in writing by the International Monetary Fund where he worked and which paid him this money, that it was taxable.


After being selected as Secretary of the Treasury, he paid the tax due on the last two years, but chose not to pay the two years of tax on which the Statute of Limitations had run. President Obama said that omission is understandable and excusable for one who will head the IRS and all of Treasury. Try that next time an IRS examiner knocks on your door to check your income tax.


The selection process has not yet been finished, so watch for future attractions, and more of the “same old players,” as Mr. Obama called the experienced old hands.


It is worth quoting our new president again: “You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to practice the same old politics with the same old players while we expect to get different results;” and “Change does not come from Washington; it must come to Washington”.


This is about as convincing as have been the protestations of innocence by Rod Blagojevich, now former governor of Illinois. (He is “former” by reason of conviction through impeachment and removal by the legislature of Illinois).


Words must mean something different to operators in Chicago politics than they do to the rest of us. President Obama was taught in that school of politics. Perhaps that explains his meaning of “change.”


What “hope” is there?


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