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In the Think Tank for Obama...


The Wall Street Journal has a report on the think tank from which Barack Obama seems to be ].... drawing his top advisors - LINK


WASHINGTON — The Center for a New American Security, a small think tank here with generally middle-of-the-road policy views, is rapidly emerging as a top farm team for the incoming Obama administration. ...

The think tank’s central role in the transition effort suggests that its positions — which include rejecting a fixed timeline for a withdrawal from Iraq — will get a warm reception within the new administration.

Michele Flournoy, who co-founded the center with Kurt Campbell, a former Clinton National Security Council and Pentagon official, now serves as its president. She is one of two top members of Mr. Obama’s defense transition team and is likely to be offered a high-ranking position at the Pentagon. Some Obama advisers say she could eventually be tapped as the nation’s first female defense secretary.

Wendy Sherman, co-head of the Obama State Department transition team, also serves on the center’s board of advisers and is expected to land a high-ranking post. Richard Danzig, a front-runner for defense secretary, is on the think tank’s board of directors. Susan Rice and James Steinberg, both of whom are on Mr. Obama’s short list for national security adviser, serve on its board of advisers.



I am slightly encouraged by this actually.

Flournoy has good credentials. She comes from the Admiral Arleigh Burke school, the CSIS which tends to take a long view of things.

Also look for centrists in economy like Brad DeLong to pop up.


---
"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." -- Aesop
11/17/2008, 7:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to JimDuncansGhost   Send PM to JimDuncansGhost
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


From a holistic level, I think it would behoove President-Elect Obama to govern from the centre, irrespective of the pressures placed upon his administration from the left wing of the Democratic Party. Given the historical lesson to be learned from the early stages of President Clinton's administration and the missteps made then, why bother reinventing the wheel?

Although I'm digressing from the main thrust of the OP, something occurred to me regarding a potential sop vis-à-vis unions and the proposals to remove the secret ballot as I consider the whole centrist approach. As one who is a union supporter and yet witnessed the havoc which ensued in Britain in the late 70s / early 80s, I think it would be a huge mistake to remove the secret ballot. With the possibility of coercion arising from such a decision, it would be a terrible message which strikes against inclusivity when it comes to dealing with people in the most even-handed manner possible.

This is just an aside when considering the bigger picture, so feel free to ignore it if you will.

---
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion.

"To a Louse" ~ Robert Burns
11/17/2008, 8:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to LochLomonder   Send PM to LochLomonder
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


No offence Loch, but Brit politics are "apples and oranges" as compared to American politics... in addition to YOUR understanding of "conservatve" as to "ours"... (which is one of the things that drives me crazy when Brits presume to understand our system and/or our reality...)

If I've mistakenly spotted you for a Brit... I stand corrected, and apologize.

Michael Ledeen and Edward Luttwak are alumni of CSIS...(but so was Madeline Albright)

Not likely to be too Hawkish but certainly not doves.

Most of us have this impression that cabinet members sit around a big table and think great thoughts and advise the President. Actually this is a very very minor part of their job.

For the most part they run incredibly large, big budget, institutions that without much fanfare or control I might add, probably have bigger affect on our lives within the myriad of decisions that get made.

These are hard jobs and most of these agencies have built in inertia that make it nearly impossible for someone without some inside or lower level experience to get anything accomplished.

Last edited by JimDuncansGhost, 11/18/2008, 2:09 am


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11/18/2008, 1:59 am Link to this post Send Email to JimDuncansGhost   Send PM to JimDuncansGhost
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


If I've mistakenly spotted you for a Brit... I stand corrected, and apologize.

Last edited by JimDuncansGhost, 11/18/2008, 2:02 am


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11/18/2008, 2:02 am Link to this post Send Email to JimDuncansGhost   Send PM to JimDuncansGhost
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


Would some MOD delete THE ABOVE post? I cannot.

I don't even know how it got there.

System glitch while I was trying to correct spelling via the "edit" function in the pevious post.

Last edited by JimDuncansGhost, 11/18/2008, 2:17 am


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"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." -- Aesop
11/18/2008, 2:13 am Link to this post Send Email to JimDuncansGhost   Send PM to JimDuncansGhost
 
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posticon Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


quote:

No offence Loch, but Brit politics are "apples and oranges" as compared to American politics... in addition to YOUR understanding of "conservatve" as to "ours"... (which is one of the things that drives me crazy when Brits presume to understand our system and/or our reality...)



No offence taken. I am Scottish, I have lived in America for quite some time, and I am very familiar with the mechanics of the governmental / political system. As for comparing the two political systems: yes, there are differences between British and American politics and I wouldn't suggest for one moment they're mirror images of one another.

For instance, when it comes to British conservatism, I'm glad to say their brand of social conservatism - just as an example - isn't beholden to any particular religious wing. As for the left wing? I just laughed when the McCain campaign surrogates were bleating on about Obama's supposed Marxist credentials which, even at the greatest stretch of the imagination, would be flimsy at best when juxtaposed with some of the hard-left ideology supported in some quarters within the UK political system.

I realise these are very superficial points; however, there's no point indulging in an in-depth critique on a forum such as this one. Suffice to say, I'm not completely uninformed in these matters and I'm not just blowing hot air for the sake of it.

---
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion.

"To a Louse" ~ Robert Burns
11/18/2008, 9:52 pm Link to this post Send Email to LochLomonder   Send PM to LochLomonder
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


Loch,

I don't think you are full of "hot air" at all.

One of my best friends is a former Welsh man who made the mistake of coming to America during Nam on a green card, and got caught up in the bullshit of "go to war for us and we'll give you citizenship".

He's 20 years older than me, but is still very much in tune with things going on in GB, as his family is still there... We've had some intresting political discussions about the differences.

You are dead on as to the "religous factor" (Europe is prety much agnostic these days from what I can see) although I would suggest that you don't buy into the "religious" crap that many American liberals try to sell about American conservatives.

I consider myself VERY conservative in tems of fiscal government.

That being said, I couldn't care less about religion.

Though I believe religon should not be stifled by government, "the religious right" mean nohing to me.

I'm as agnostic as you may be. (I don't know if you are or not.. I AM.)

I'd submit that most American conservatives ARE NOT conservative due to religon.

Your observations on Obama's "Maxisim" are interesting. I don't think he's a "Marxist" personally, but definately a Socialist.

You are correct. I've gotten to know a couple Brit Marxists over the years, and within the UK political system, Obama would NOT fall into their understanding of a Marxist.

But in America... he might with many.


Last edited by JimDuncansGhost, 11/19/2008, 2:25 am


---
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11/19/2008, 2:20 am Link to this post Send Email to JimDuncansGhost   Send PM to JimDuncansGhost
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


Jim,

That's the thing I understand perfectly about political discourse, i.e. there are many times when we can share common ground and not get hung up on divisive demarcators such as "liberal" and "conservative"; "Democrat" and "Republican"; or "pro-American" and "Anti-American" (which is a childish argument in partisan terms).

I have a more moderate approach to fiscal matters, and yet I'm socially liberal in many respects. If truth be told, I have a lot more respect for a fiscal conservative than a social one, since the former seeks to reduce the role of government in people's lives while the latter is overtly intrusive. It's just lazy of people to take the "cookie cutter" approach and assume all Democrats are left-wing progressives, or all Republicans are far-right social and fiscal conservatives wrapped up in the same package.

While I have no problem with religion in family life, being a Presbyterian who attends Roman Catholic church regularly with my practicing wife, I also think someone has an absolute right not to believe. If anyone attempts religious proselytisation with me, I just tell them politely to back off. I was actually amazed one time when attending a capstone course in a U.S. university, and a Senior didn't see the need for the Establishment Clause or, indeed, any separation of church and state. The more I think about it, I would replace the word "amazed" with "aghast".

Getting back on track: I do see elements of socialism within some of President-Elect Obama's proposals but, then again, I can also see that in the bail-outs being pushed through by the Bush administration. As we both know, political philosophies exist on a continuum, and only the most trenchant of ideologues at either end of the political spectrum are foolish enough to stick inflexibly with their particular dogma.

For instance: look at the proposed bail-out of the Big Three in the auto industry. Should the government give them a carte blanche bail-out? Absolutely not. Should the government even become involved in ensuring the survival of the companies? That's when the philosophical differences kick in, since many free-marketeers would rather leave them to their own devices and let the market decide their fate. However, given the parlous state of the world economy and the ripple effect their failure would have on the American manufacturing industry - both directly and indirectly - perhaps their is an argument in there somewhere for direct government intervention with a lot of performance-related strings attached. This is where I hope pragmatism will prevail over ideology.

Thus, in the short term, I don't think President-Elect Obama would worry too much about charges of socialism if he chose to go down this route upon assumption of the presidency. Of course, he may not even have to make that decision; it may fall to President Bush given the temporal pressures of the bail-out proposals. Of course, there are other big issues on the table such as the health-care proposals, but I can leave them for another [sign in to see URL]

---
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion.

"To a Louse" ~ Robert Burns
11/21/2008, 7:36 pm Link to this post Send Email to LochLomonder   Send PM to LochLomonder
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


Loch,

Thank you for a well reasoned, well stated reply.

I'm not used to that around here. (If you look at most posts and threads, it's the same old boring "SLAM EACH OTHER" BS.. and I'm guilty as well sometimes!)

You will receive one in return, but it won't be tonight.. I have to get up early in the AM for work Saturday.

I find your observations credible and interesting. We have some very common ground.

Have a great evening... I'll reply over the weekend.

Last edited by JimDuncansGhost, 11/22/2008, 12:49 am


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11/22/2008, 12:20 am Link to this post Send Email to JimDuncansGhost   Send PM to JimDuncansGhost
 
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Re: In the Think Tank for Obama...


Jim,

quote:

Thank you for a well reasoned, well stated reply.



Thank you, in return, for the input. If truth be told, I really enjoy conversing with people and understanding their political viewpoints, even if I don't agree with all of them. Rather than just lashing out blindly with insults, it's always more interesting to me if we can see what we agree upon, debate that which we disagree on, and still be respectful if we don't change our views.

quote:

I'm not used to that around here. (If you look at most posts and threads, it's the same old boring "SLAM EACH OTHER" BS.. and I'm guilty as well sometimes!!



I've seen that a lot as well, and I more often than not just scan the threads and don't bother commenting. Nevertheless, there are some very thoughtful posters who've moved over here, thankfully, from eXtremely Politics (Vito and Polly to name but two), and I look forward to reading such entries. I must say, there have been times when I've let my temper get the better of me and went off the deep end when posting. No-one's perfect, least of all me, but I don't think we should be condemned for [sign in to see URL]

quote:

I find your observations credible and interesting. We have some very common ground.



Thank you, and I know there are people on this forum who will likely share common ground with one another as well, but personae and previous altercations can often cloud that judgment. Thanks for replying, and I'll look forward to reading your input later on.

---
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion.

"To a Louse" ~ Robert Burns
11/22/2008, 5:49 pm Link to this post Send Email to LochLomonder   Send PM to LochLomonder
 


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