Monday, November 10, 2008

Trust Obama, Oh Ye of Little Faith

Some are already criticizing Obama for designating Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff -- one of his very first choices -- because of his close Israeli ties.

Here is my theory about Rahm Emanuel. First, it is a gesture to the Jewish community that will help him to get tougher on Israel later on. Second, he knows that to get stuff done, he has to pass legislation through Congress. RE is just the kind of tough SOB who can help with that.

Whether my theory is right, you can be sure that Obama had clear purposes in mind that had been thoroughly thought through when he chose RE. I trust him. He succeeded in the primaries and in the election by ignoring the advice I gave him.

BO will certainly make choices that will make those of us on the idealistic left squirm. We should not hesitate to criticize him when we think he is wrong. He plays a tough political game. He obviously catered (pandered?) to farmers in Iowa and Illinois in supporting ethanol subsidies. He broke his promise on public campaign finance. He has been quiet on Israel's sins, etc., etc. Jack Kennedy's father bought West Virginia for him in the primaries by paying off the country sheriffs in 1960, as I understand it.

He could not survive politically if he tried to satisfy my tendency toward democratic socialism, even if he shared my views. The question is how does Obama balance realism and idealism, pragmatism and principle, in the long run, especially on the big issues.

For the moment, I trust BO more than I do the people so eager to criticize him so early. I think we should give him a break and allow him some time, but when appropriate we need to be critical as necessary, and I think he would want that.

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