Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Obama will Regret Picking Hillary Secretary of State

It seems that the selection of Hillary Clinton Secretary of State is a fait accompli. But at least the new President can't claim that he wasn't warned. You'll regret it. This will probably be Barack Obama's first and possibly worst mistake as President.

This from Ken Silverstein of Harper's Magazine:

1. Hillary Clinton will have her own agenda (as will her husband). She’s not a team player and will bring in a crew of cronies whose chief aim will be to promote the boss, not the administration. Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new “Clinton Doctrine” of foreign policy.

2. It would be impossible, politically, to fire Hillary. No matter what she says or does, or how insubordinate, Obama will be stuck with her as long as she wants to stay.

3. Her husband is a walking conflict of interest. Bill helps a Canadian businessman land a uranium contract in Kazakhstan, and soon afterwards the businessman contributes to the Clinton Foundation. Bill’s personal and business dealings are embarrassing enough without Hillary heading the State Department.

4. The Clinton style of management–for example, pitting one faction of staff against another–would be a disaster at the State Department. Just look at how well it worked on the campaign trail.

This from the controversial British intellectual, Christopher Hitchens, who doesn't pull punches or attacks the left and right:

Listen to Dick Morris--he knows the Clintons. And he is a FOX News analyst. Why would he be ridiculing the choice:
Hopefully, it's just a rumor started by the Clintonistas, but is Barack Obama seriously considering appointing Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state? If he pulls the trigger on that appointment, he will deserve what he gets.

[...]So when Clinton faced a Democratic Congress on taking office, he could not count on their support. Neither can Obama. So Clinton had to toe the liberal line in order to round up the votes he needed to pass his programs in the Congress that was nominally under his control. So will Obama. Ultimately, Clinton became the hostage of the Democratic majority in Congress, and they became his jailer. He was forced so far to the left that he told me, in 1994 (after losing the congressional elections), "I was so far to the left I didn't recognize myself." Neither will Obama.

Why would a top Republican support the idea if it didn't benefit his party. They support the idea for the same reason Republicans wanted Hillary to be the Democratic party's presidential candidate: she is a polarizing figure, and the Clintons are easy targets:
"It seems to me she's got the experience. She's got the temperament for it. I think she would be well received around the world," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. "So my own initial reaction is it would be a very good selection."

Here's another Conservatives take on the idea:
Far from becoming a loyal soldier in Obama's ranks, ready to do his will even at the risk of her own popularity, she would be absolutely bound to view every action she took as his secretary of state in the light of her own perceived necessities as a future presidential candidate.

What's more, her own large group of political supporters and managers will remain in existence, ready and eager to promote her interests, even at the risk of damaging Obama's. The media would be awash with anonymous stories describing her differences with the president, and recounting her allegedly desperate efforts to prevent or rectify his "mistakes." Clinton herself would not be the source of these stories, and might even sincerely deplore them; but they would emerge from her huge coterie of supporters and be designed to make her look good -- certainly better than Obama.

U.S. Recession will Last 14 Months: Fed Survey


Private-sector economists believe the U.S. economy fell into recession last spring and now expect a sharp contraction in the fourth quarter of this year after slashing their forecasts for gross domestic product, a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia survey said on Monday.

More very bad news:
Citigroup Inc. is cutting approximately 53,000 more jobs in the coming quarters as the banking giant struggles to steady itself after suffering massive losses from deteriorating debt.

The plans, posted on the company's Web site, are being discussed by CEO Vikram Pandit at the company's town hall meeting in New York Monday with employees.

The company said total headcount is being reduced by 20 percent from its peak of 375,000 at the end of 2007; the company had already announced in October that it was eliminating about 22,000 jobs from those levels. The total workforce reductions include thousands of jobs that will be lost when Citigroup completes the sale of Citi Global Services and its German retail banking business.

The New York-based bank has posted four straight quarterly losses, including a loss of $2.8 billion during the third quarter. The company said that in addition to job cuts, it plans to lower expenses by about 20 percent, and that is has reduced its assets by more than 20 percent since the first quarter of the year.

Citi shares fell 42 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $9.10 in morning trading. The company's shares have been trading at 13-year lows.

And now it is impacting State governments. Which means the cutting essential services like police, education, roads, bridges, transportation, etc., etc.
Two short months ago lawmakers in California struggled to close a $15 billion hole in the state budget. It was among the biggest deficits in state history. Now the state faces an additional $11 billion shortfall and may be unable to pay its bills this spring.

The astonishing decline in revenues is without modern precedent here, but California is hardly alone. A majority of states — many with budgets already full of deep cuts and dependent on raiding rainy-day funds or tax increases — are scrambling to find ways to get through the rest of the year without hacking apart vital services or raising taxes.

Some governors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and David A. Paterson in New York, have called special legislative sessions to deal with the crisis.

Others are demanding hiring freezes and across-the-board cuts. A few states are finding their unemployment insurance funds running dry, just as the ranks of out-of-work residents spike.

The plunging revenues — the result of an unusual assemblage of personal, sales, capital gains and corporate taxes falling significantly — have poked holes in budgets that are just weeks and months old and that came about only after difficult legislative sessions.

“The fiscal landscape,” said H. D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance, “is fundamentally altered from where it was six weeks ago.”

In Michigan, to reduce overtime costs, fewer streets will be salted this winter. In Ohio, where the unemployment rate is above 7 percent, the state may need a federal loan for the first time in 26 years to cover unemployment costs. In Nevada, which is almost totally dependent on sales taxes and gambling revenues, a health administrator said the state may be unable to pay claims in a few months.

Hollywood Out Of Step With American Morals: Poll

Huffington Post:

A majority of Americans say Hollywood doesn't share their moral values, according to a poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights anti-Semitism.

Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said that religious values in America are "under attack," and 59% agreed that "the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans."