I have a piece in A Small World magazine (which is a members-only site)...here's the column in its entirety.
I didn’t vote for Barack Obama (I’m one of the four in New York City it would seem). But as I’ve stated ad nauseam in print and over the airwaves, I’m now the loyal opposition, and I take that role seriously. So I’m prepared to help this man succeed…we need him to. And I’m prepared to give him credit where it’s due. I respect him tremendously for keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, for example. And making it to no fewer than 10 inaugural balls after a day of parading is a spectacular show of stamina. I couldn’t have done it.
But he’s not making it easy otherwise. Our new Secretary of the Treasury didn’t pay his taxes. Our new Attorney General made questionable legal decisions. Our new Secretary of State has connections to foreign monies. And our new CIA director has no intelligence experience.
Now, this bizarro-world experiment in reverse psychology may turn out for the best…who knows? Crazier things have happened. But I’m beginning to wonder what, exactly, our criteria should be for choosing our national representatives.
When we have elections, all of this is sorted out. Not always for the best of course – Spitzer, McGreevey, Ted Stevens, William Jefferson, etc. But when leaders are appointed, all good judgment apparently goes out the window.
Here in New York, the governor – David Paterson, also the beneficiary of an unlucky appointment – actually seemed to consider appointing Caroline Kennedy to Hillary Clinton’s old Senate seat. Ms. Kennedy’s a great fund raiser, and I’m sure our state could really use her money and connections, but this isn’t an episode of The Hills. We don’t just give out top jobs to quasi-famous people. She has no political experience. Literally – none. Luckily the governor came to his senses and appointed Kirsten Gillibrand, a blue-dog Democratic congresswoman with great credentials.
And we all saw what Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich did when he earned the power to appoint – in clinical terms, he went effing crazy, putting the Senate seat up for sale, jogging around Chicago like a Chippendale dancer in short-shorts, flopping that incredulous head of hair all around town, boycotting his own impeachment trial, and fooling around with the kooky, fun-loving girls on The View, who seem to think of Blago as some kind of lovable loser. They’re wrong, of course. He’s just a loser.
Now, to be clear, these moments of sheer political hilarity that have actually managed to tear my attention momentarily away from PerezHilton.com, are not a reflection of Barack Obama. But, his own appointments have been nothing short of befuddling.
Leon Panetta is, I’m sure, a super guy. After all, he wrote the Hunger Prevention Act and helped establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; who wants to be hungry or hate on marine animals? But while these credits to his name may make him a humanitarian and a conservationist, I’m not sure they’ll help him weed out terrorists in Afghan caves.
Eric Holder, our new Attorney General made a horrific pardoning choice during the Clinton administration, and it wasn’t in forgiving the tax evader Marc Rich. It was his decision to pardon 16 FALN terrorists, who were behind more than 120 bombings between 1974 and 1983. This is simply inexplicable.
And Timothy Geithner, of course, admits his Turbo Tax wasn’t quite helpful enough. The man who we are entrusting to help solve our fiscal crisis and enforce our tax laws forgot to pay his own taxes. If he’s not good at figuring out our tax code, what exactly is he good at? Are we hoping he’ll be the first hitter since Ted Williams to bat .400? Are we counting on him to write the first interactive opera?
All in all, it’s a sorry state of affairs, and I’m just trying to wrap my brain around it. More than anything, my morbid curiosity can’t wait to see if these picks actually pan out, or if Barack Obama will rue the day he gave Panetta, Holder, Geithner and, yes, Hillary Clinton, keys to his administration. And maybe this means there’s hope for other seeming unqualifieds…does Katie Holmes need a job?