Monday, December 01, 2008

Obama's Risky 'Team of Rivals'

By Lisa Pease
December 1, 2008

It’s good to see President-elect Barack Obama studying history. How wonderful to have a President who actually reads book such as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s A Team of Rivals about Abraham Lincoln’s inclusion of political opponents in his war-time Cabinet.

Read on.


Bill from Saginaw said...

To me, the most poignant moment in Lisa Pease's article is the vignette in which JFK takes Senator Wayne Morse outside into the Rose Garden in order to whisper the President's intention to withdraw from Vietnam to Morse outside the electronic eavesdropping range of the bugs known to be in place in the White House courtesy of the CIA.

For years, Mr. Hoover's FBI was the most feared entity among Washington DC politicians because J Edgar supposedly had a file on the personal life of everybody. By the 60's when Kennedy was in power, the CIA's spooks were to some extent already poaching into Hoover's traditional domestic domain.

The CIA black ops connection to the break in of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel was central to what ultimately brought Nixon down. The domestic warrantless wiretapping abuses of the Nixon White House against the antiwar movement that were exposed in the United States versus United States District Court litigation was what led directly to the creation of the FISA national security court wiretap warrant system.

One can only suspect what life in the electronic gold fish bowl of the nation's capital is like today.

Notice how the major leaks about Barack Obama's possible cabinet appointments didn't really start until he moved from Chicago back to DC after the election? Do you think this is sheer coincidence?

I suppose for the Oval Office at least, such perpetual tape recording of conversations for posterity are inevitable. But never forget, the bugger has a perpetual handful of trump cards to play against the buggee as time rolls on.

I suspect that because so many of our elected representatives fully expect that their deliberative daily processes are under constant surveillance inside the DC beltway, they figure ordinary citizens shouldn't bitch too loud about those warrantless domestic NSA wiretaps being George Bush and Alberto Gonzales justified by citing the war on terror.

All you have to be is tone deaf to history.

Bill from Saginaw

George Collins said...

Lisa's herstory is terrific. I knew virtually none of this Kennedy background. Though Kennedy's mistaken judgment is regrettable, as a Bostonian and general admirer of Kennedy idealism this history has its pleasing implications.

As to the wisdom of Obama's world vision and sense of the right signals to give the world after the the Bush/Cheney abyss... unfortunately only time will tell.

Count me one of the Progressives with bruises to show from Obama's infamous propensity to use the bus as his enforcer.

This brilliant, according to Larry Tribe, constitutional scholar and presumed human rights advocate who told Wolf Blitzer that Guantanamo could be closed but only when we have a plan to "try, convict and sentence..." those held there, if I can believe my ears and memory, today seemed to tell his "fellow Americans" that America must remain the most powerful nation on earth. Toward what end?

Who is he pandering to and what does that imply about bringing our so-called imperialist super-powerful nation to a safe rather than crash landing? ... using some fraction of our world class military budget for peace rather than imperialism?

Yes it is refreshing to have the nation's leader in waiting bright, curious and diligent, but it's far more frustrating to see the brightest and best wallow in pragmatic amorality than it is to see the dim doing just about what could have been predicted during the past 8 years.

Does Obama's un-endearing use of "Understand....." when presenting is preferred point of view merely suggest a degree of personal imperial hubris? Or beneath that charming smile and calculating brain, is there only Faustian hubris?

The apparent influence of the likes of Gates, John Brennan, Hillary, Tom Daschle and Joe Biden, all relative hawks or worse, is a terrible omen, far beyond mere flawed decision making..

But as Jesse used to say, we must keep hope alive...the alternative being so ....

Lisa Pease said...

Thank you both for your comments. Just about every interesting item in that piece came directly from Douglass' must-read book.

I share the worries re Obama, even as I am a) certain he was the best candidate in the race and b) possibly hiding his light under a bushel, awaiting the appropriate moment to let more progressive tendencies shine. But he could also prove to be much more of a center-rightist than any of us here want.

We'll have to wait and see.

racetoinfinity said...

Thanks for this revealing article about JFK, the CIA, and Vietnam. And a few weeks later, he was slain and let's just say that rogue (or even more likely the main body of) elements of that Machivellian organization have often been mentioned in speculation about that event (along with the Mafia, and extreme reactionary business interests). (All that speculation is for a separate post)

Your post makes me admire him even more. (I'd never known how convinced and committed to he was in wanting to exit Viet Nam).

This is must reading right now, before the administration begins. I'm going to link to it at other sites. The one who really "must read" it is, of course, Obama. I hope he does, and I have the same wait-and-see attitude that you do, even though his choices of cabinet members and advisers have disappointed more than a bit.