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Dec 2

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:15 AM 

I didn't say it, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank did:

When Barack Obama stood on the stage in Chicago yesterday with his "dear friend" Hillary Clinton at his side, it was the starkest evidence yet that change had come -- to the president-elect.

Peter Baker of the New York Times pointed out to Obama that he once held a different view of his nominee to be secretary of state. "You belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders," Baker recalled. "And your new White House counsel said that her résumé was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I'm wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring."

"Well, I mean, I think --" Obama began. "This is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign."

"They're your quotes, sir," Baker pointed out.

"No, I understand. And you're having fun," Obama continued. "And there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not faulting it." Obama grinned broadly. Clinton smiled faintly.

Baker's "fun" was actually a serious, even startling, development: Obama, who campaigned against the Clinton way of doing things, is now engaged in a veritable restoration of the Clinton administration. As The Post's Al Kamen and Phil Rucker report, Obama has appointed at least nine veteran Clinton aides to top positions in his White House so far. Of the seven Cabinet-level nominees Obama has officially announced, four served in the Clinton administration.

But it's more than the "veritable restoration" of Clinton-world under question.  When Mr. Hope and Change practices deflection by way of patronizing cynicism, he has made it clear that ideas, promises, facts are just markers in a game to him. Which is not an attractive thing, with or without grinning broadly.

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