If you know me or have visited this blog, you would know that I am a big Obama supporter. And I’m thrilled that he’s going to be the next President of the United States.
I didn’t love him on day 1. I was on the fence. But the thing that won me over was his sound judgement, intelligence, authenticity, honesty and ability to inspire.
A significant example of all of this was in the midst of the hawkish culture that dominated our government immediately post 9/11, Barack Obama stood tall and denounced our march to war in Iraq. From Wikipedia:
On March 16, 2003, the day President Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Obama addressed the largest Chicago anti-Iraq War rally to date in Daley Plaza and told the crowd that “it’s not too late” to stop the war.
And during his campaign, this line struck a deep chord with me:
“I want to end the mindset that got us into war.”
That is exactly right.
But now I’m struggling with his nominees. His picks so far are leaders that were major supporters of the Iraq war. And I haven’t heard any apologies from any of them. Dr. Susan Rice, Obama’s choice for the UN, had this to say after then Secretary State Powell gave that awful presentation to the United Nations in 2002:
“I think he [Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them,” said Rice, a former Clinton administration State Department aide, “and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.” (via the Nation)
But the choice of Secretary Gates is worse in my opinion. Yes, Gates will answer to President-elect Obama. But consider that Gates has gone on public record saying he opposed Obama’s troop withdrawal plan from Iraq. Gates is also a proponent of a new generation of nuclear weapons. How is this gonna work on a practical level?
I know we have a new decider with Obama in charge. But I believe Obama needs support from people that have new ideas and fresh thinking. Rice & Gates are neither. And I don’t want to reward people that got us into this mess.
This one is tougher for me. I have a very conflicted views about Senator Clinton as our next Secretary of State. Yes, she was a hawk and called for things like regime change. And yes, she voted for the Iraq war. And yes, she ran a very nasty campaign and said it was naive to meet with leaders of Iran without pre-conditions (I never understood this one. Aren’t we civilized adults?).
But I’m supporting Obama’s choice in Senator Clinton. I value her track record on things like healthcare, civil rights, children issues and fighting for the those that have less. I also want more women in charge of our government. I believe with Obama’s leadership, Senator Clinton will do a great job.
I’m on the edge of my seat and leaning forward watching who else Obama’s nominates for other key positions in our government and courts.