Several officials close to President-elect Barack Obama's transition tell CNN that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to stay on the job for at least the first year of the new administration.So let me get this straight:
One source called it "all but a done deal" that the announcement could come as early as next week.
"It's now pointing in that direction," one of the sources close to the transition said of Gates being part of Obama's national security team, which may include Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
"It's likely to happen," a second source close to the transition said of Gates staying on.
This source noted that Gates could stay for longer than a year if he and Obama end up working well together.
The man who ran primarily on ending the Iraq War is now content in hiring the man who helped sell Bush's surge, there's nobody in Washington among all the generals and admirals and brilliant managers Obama knows that is qualified to run the Pentagon better than the incompetent guy in charge for the last two years, and we're now supposed to believe that magically, things will now improve in Iraq enough so that we can bog ourselves down in Afghanistan.
Oh, and we clearly can't afford either war right now. We gave that money to Citigroup, AIG, and Fannie and Freddie.
Raise your hand if you still believe we'll be out of Iraq before Obama first term ends. I've got a nice package of securitized subprime mortgages to sell you.
But I'm supposed to lay off the guy because he's not in office yet.
His SecDef is in office. Can I criticize him at least? Did Obama's campaign to end the war over the last two years mean a damn thing if he keeps Bush's Pentagon team?
Greg Sargent spells out what Obama's choice means.
It's also worth making a crucial distinction between two different ways of critiquing Obama's staff picks.It also signals strongly that Obama's chief argument -- that the Bush Administration was filled with incompetent people that John McCain would keep on in full capacity-- is a moot point now.
The first involves looking at the choices in order to extrapolate Obama's policy priorities -- a somewhat useless exercise, since we won't know what policy direction he's headed in until he proposes actual policies, no matter who he appoints. The second, and more valid, way of looking at his staff choices is to ask whether they're inherently good ideas, regardless of what they suggest about his possible policy priorities.
For instance, as Chris Bowers argues persuasively, keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates is inherently a bad idea, because it keeps the same leadership in charge of half the Federal budget and, worse, sends the message that Republicans are needed to manage national security.That mode of critique doesn't involve making any speculative extrapolations about Obama's future policy directions, and seems like a far more sensible way to look at his choices.
Obama's foreign policy is now about to be run by the same woman who called his foreign policy "irresponsible and naive" 18 months ago, and he in turn called her" irresponsible and naive" for voting to authorize the Iraq War.
Obama's economic policy is being run by some of the same people who Obama argued got America into this "crisis of historic proportions" not more than a few weeks ago.
Now Obama's military policy is being run by the same folks who brought us the last two years in the Middle East.
Surprised? I'm not. Obama's been angling to keep Gates on since June.
And yes, this does constitute strike three for Obama. Your honeymoon is now over.
Count on it.