Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Republicans in the Cabinet?

In what we can expect to be many acts of High Broderism between now and January 20, there has been an outburst of discussion of Republicans in Obama's cabinet.


Obama has talked enough about bipartisanship that he needs at least one Republican in there. Give someone a minor position. The example here is W in 2001, when he kept Norman Mineta in the cabinet. He could say that he was bipartisan while isolating a respected Democrat in a marginal department.

But of course, pundits and writers are already talking about how Obama needs a Republican in State and/or Defense. Even people I respect are saying these things. Spencer Ackerman is calling for Robert Gates to stay on until Wesley Clark or Anthony Zinni become eligible (by law one cannot be the Secretary of Defense until they have no longer been on-duty for 10 years). More expectedly, John Judis is saying crazy High Broderist things like asking Mitt Romney to lead a bipartisan health care task force, keeping Gates on, and getting Governor Terminator to work on environmental issues.

Um, no.

Part of this election is a rejection of Republican foreign policy. Keeping Robert Gates at Defense? Are you freaking kidding me. Rob points out one reason why this should not happen. Colin Powell at State? After his performance at the UN in 2003? Forget about it. I guess Chuck Hagel isn't terrible but why go there?

Democrats do not need to cede foreign policy and defense matters to the Republicans. One of the refreshing things about policy in this election is that Obama has put together a team of foreign policy people that add up to the first real coherent Democratic stand on the issue other than "no" since the 1960s. We can lead on these issues and we don't need to kow tow to either Republicans or the punditocracy on these matters.