by Ralph Nader
November 22, 2008
While the liberal intelligentsia was swooning over Barack Obama
during his presidential campaign, I counseled “prepare to be disappointed.”
His record as a Illinois state and U.S. Senator,
together with the many progressive and long overdue courses of action he
opposed during his campaign, rendered such a prediction unfortunate but
Now this same intelligentsia is beginning to howl over Obama’s transition
team and early choices to run his Administration. Having defeated Senator
Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries, he now is busily installing
Bill Clinton’s old guard. Thirty one out of forty seven people that
he has named so far for transition or appointments have ties to the Clinton
Administration, according to Politico.
One Clintonite is quoted in the Washington
Post as saying:
“This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons.
This is all Clintons, all the time.”
Obama’s “foreign policy team is now dominated by the Hawkish, old-guard
Democrats of the 1990,” writes Jeremy Scahill.
Obama’s transition team reviewing intelligence
agencies and recommending appointments is headed by John Brennan and
Jami Miscik, who worked under George Tenet when the CIA
was involved in politicizing intelligence for, among other officials,
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s erroneous address before the United
Nations calling for war against Iraq.
Mr. Brennan, as a government official, supported warrantless wiretapping and
extraordinary rendition to torturing countries. National Public Radio
reported that Obama’s reversal when he voted for the revised
FISA this year relied on John Brennan’s
For more detail on these two advisers and others recruited by Obama from the
dark old days, see Democracy Now, November 17, 2008 and Jeremy
Scahill, AlterNet, Nov. 20, 2008 “This
is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White
The top choice as White House chief of staff is Rahm Emanuel—the
ultimate hard-nosed corporate Democrat, military-foreign policy hawk and
Clinton White House promoter of corporate globalization, as in NAFTA
and the World Trade Organization.
Now, recall Obama’s words during the bucolic “hope and change” campaign
“The American people…understand the real
gamble is having the same old folks doing things over and over and over
again and somehow expecting a different result.”
Thunderous applause followed these remarks.
“This is more ‘Groundhog Day’ then a fresh
start,” asserted Peter Wehner, a former Bush adviser who is now at the
Ethics and Public Policy Center.
The signs are amassing that Barack Obama
put a political con job over on the American people. He is now daily buying
into the entrenched military-industrial complex that
President Eisenhower warned Americans about in
his farewell address.
With Robert Rubin on his side during his
first photo opportunity after the election, he signaled to Wall Street that
his vote for the $750 billion bailout of those speculators and crooks was no
fluke (Rubin was Clinton’s financial deregulation architect in 1999 as
Secretary of the Treasury before he became one of the hugely paid
co-directors tanking Citigroup.)
Obama’s apologists say that his picks show he wants to get things done, so
he wants people who know their way around Washington.
Moreover, they say, the change comes only from
the president who sets the priorities and the courses of action, not from
his subordinates. This explanation assumes that a president’s appointments
are not mirror images of the boss’s expected directions but only
functionaries to carry out the Obama changes.
If you are inclined to believe this improbable scenario, perhaps you
may wish to review
Obama’s record compiled by Matt Gonzalez at