Obama’s cabinet takes shape
Despite the opportunity to apply online on Change.gov, which was reportedly used by over 150,000 Americans in the first few days.000 Americans made use of it in the first few days, there are no surprises and little change in the leadership team with which Barack Obama intends to govern. On the contrary, his cabinet, which has had clear contours since the end of last week, is increasingly dominated by old Clinton people and the Democratic party hierarchy.
Yesterday it was announced that Timothy Franz Geithner will be Treasury Secretary. Geithner (whose name is also pronounced German by Americans) already worked under Bill Clinton at the Treasury Department. In 2003 he became the president of the New York Federal Reserve – a post that is considered the third most important in the American financial world after that of the Secretary of the Treasury and that of the Federal Reserve Chairman. Despite this, he has managed to avoid any shadow of responsibility for the financial crisis in the American media. The forty-seven-year-old is considered to be one of the intellectual fathers of the "rescue plan" for American banks and the insurance company AIG. Rumors of his appointment on Friday were reportedly one of the reasons why the Dow stock index made significant gains after previous heavy losses.
Timothy Franz Geithner. Image: United States Treasury Department
Lawrence Henry Summers, also long rumored to be Treasury Secretary, is now slated to become director of the National Economic Council (NEC). From 1991 to 1993, Summers, an economist appointed to the Council under Ronald Reagan, was chief economist of the World Bank. There, among other things, he signed a memo by Lant Pritchett praising the economic logic of exporting toxic waste to Third World countries because resulting health damage from low local incomes had the least economic consequences.
In 1999, Summers became Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton. When Bush amed the presidency in 2001, he moved to Harvard University as president. After first bullying Cornel West into Princeton and later publicly speculating about the lack of genetic aptitude of women for top jobs on the basis of a sociological study that was not understood (according to the authors), he had to take his hat off in 2006. Another reason was Summers’ close friendship with Andrei Shleifer, an economist who tried to use his position as a Harvard advisor to the Russian government for secret financial gain.
Lawrence Henry Summers. Image: US Federal Government
As NEC director, Summers will coordinate interagency efforts to stem the financial crisis, including Obama’s plan announced Saturday to preserve or create two and a half million jobs by expanding infrastructure, modernizing schools and researching and developing alternative energy sources. Also in charge of these areas could be Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius, the governor of Kansas, who is currently being considered for Secretary of Energy, Education or Labor.
Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius. Image: U.S. Air Force
The Department of Auben as a distraction from health policy
The most spectacular decision, namely to offer Hillary Rodham Clinton the post of Secretary of State, may also have been motivated by the desire to keep the senator out of the work on health care reform, an ie on which Obama had less far-reaching plans during the campaign than she did. American media are now relatively unanimous in aming that Hillary Clinton has already accepted the offer and that her husband Bill will disclose the income he and his foundation received in recent years to clarify any dependencies. Official decision to be announced after Thanksgiving.
Rahm Israel Emanuel. Image: United States Congress
The Clinton administration laid the groundwork in the 1990s for the interventionism on which the Bush administration has built. In Bush’s case, it was more the pretext of "Security", than the classic argument since the First Crusade of the "humanitarian intervention" – but the closeness of the two administrations’ policies was evident, among other things, in Hillary Clinton’s initial vote in the Senate for the war in Iraq. To what extent Clinton will get along with Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel remains to be seen. Emanuel, whom Clinton reportedly wanted to have thrown out of the White House during her husband’s term, is considered only a limited supporter of an interventionist policy and one of the staunchest American opponents of diplomatic recognition of Kosovo.
The post of Secretary of Health and Human Services is now held by Thomas Andrew Daschle, the former spokesman for Democratic senators. In February, Daschle published the book "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis", proposing the creation of a Federal Health Board modeled on the Federal Reserve to subsidize and regulate private health insurance offered by some employers and to provide public insurance for all citizens. Although Daschle is not registered as a lobbyist, he receives payments from the law firm Alston Bird as an "Consultant". His wife, Linda Daschle, is a registered lobbyist for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell Berkowitz P.C. – ein Unternehmen, dass unter anderem fur Klienten aus dem Gesundheitsbereich arbeitet.
Thomas Andrew Daschle. Image: United States Congress
Penny Sue Pritzker, who was tipped as Commerce Secretary in the middle of last week, has since denied such speculation. Her appointment had potentially led to negative headlines: She was the former chairman of the board of Superior Bank FSB, responsible for a bank failure affair in which her family escaped punishment only by paying $460 million to the U.S. federal government. Allegedly, instruments such as the securitization of high-risk home mortgages were developed in the bank together with Merrill Lynch and Ernst Young LLP "invented". Now Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico and former Clinton energy secretary is considered the only and therefore sure contender for the post.
It is considered certain that Obama will offer the Cabinet-ranked post of Director of the Office of Management and Budget (which coordinates and controls the work of federal agencies) to Peter R. Orszag, the current head of the Congressional Budget Office, which does similar work for Congress. And Orszag is likely to accept, according to Democratic Party sources on Saturday.
Peter R Orszag. Image: Congressional Budget Office
Considered informally nominated for the position of Attorney General is African-American attorney Eric Himpton Holder Jr., who has been nominated because of his positions on "intellectual property" is the favorite candidate of the entertainment industry. He, too, is an old Clinton man: during the latter’s tenure, he was the number two man at the Justice Department. However, Holder has reportedly yet to pass the "security clearance" ahead of him. The extent to which the technology secretary can provide a counterbalance will depend on who ultimately takes the post. After the public rejection of Eric Schmidt, who prefers to stay at Google, the chances of Julius Genachowski increased.
Eric Himpton Holder Jr. Image: United States Federal Government
The best chance for the Department of Homeland Security is considered to be Janet Napolitano, the Arizona governor whom Bill Clinton appointed attorney general for that state in 1993. As governor, she did not do quite as badly as some of her colleagues in fighting forest fires and floods. However, Obama’s spokesmen always emphasize in connection with this personnel question that no final decision has yet been made. Napolitano is considered an opponent of the border fence with Mexico, whose "impenetrability" she considers an illusion, but at the same time a supporter of other measures to limit illegal immigration, such as requiring employers to check their employees’ Social Security numbers against the E-Verify database. However, the citizens of Arizona severely restricted the legal responsibility of employers for this in a referendum on November 4. November.
Janet Napolitano. Image: U.S. Department of Defense
For the post of national security adviser, Gen. James Logan Jones Jr. and James B. Steinberg. The first is a now-retired career soldier, the second a former deputy national security adviser to Bill Clinton. It is still relatively unclear who will take the post of Secretary of Defense: It is possible that current incumbent Robert Gates could take the post for a transitional period.
Richard Jeffrey Danzig. Image: US Navy
In doing so, Obama made good on his announcement that he would include Republicans in his cabinet and hedged his bets against possible criticism if the current situation in Iraq, which has remained quiet for the time being, were to change again. Possible successors to Gates, who replaced Donald Rumsfeld two years ago, include Richard Jeffrey Danzig, who was secretary of the Navy under Clinton; Republican Patriot Act critic Chuck Hagel (who was one of the first to compare the Iraq War to the Vietnam War); and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who has been more active in other areas.