Friday, January 16, 2009

Are Obama Appointees Getting A Pass?

Dr. Ada M. Fisher

The soft ball questions being launched at Cabinet level appointees is frightening and speaks poorly to our understanding of what it may take in this unsettled economy to right America.

If we are willing to accept the Superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools, a system with more than its share of problems, as the Secretary of Education are we really into educational change with new innovative ideas or protectionism for teachers while putting students second?

If Hilary Clinton can be recused from her husband Bill’s Library/Foundation’s take of large financial contributions from Saudi Arabia and other nations, is our foreign policy truly unbought or uninfluenced by such gifts?

Would a Republican be allowed to be the Treasury Secretary if his/her taxes were messed up and filed recently? What about the standard held for Clinton appointees on those whose hired employees presented less than sterling certification? Did they get to linger or present their case?

Can we have confidence in an Attorney General Holder whose history suggests that he previously did whatever the boss wanted? Wasn’t that the dig on Gonzalez with Bush?

And what are we hearing from the Vice President-elect? Cheney may have had too much say in the eyes of many, but is Biden being pushed aside by inside operators and power players.

Remember the ad, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV.” Do we have a potential surgeon general who plays a doctor on TV and is one in real life with no public health expertise?

It is clear that the standards aren’t the same for appointees who are Democrats as they have been for Republicans. It is clear that transparency has gone out of the window on both sides of the aisle. And it isn’t clear what “change” means in an Obama administration for it is morphing daily as the “porkers and set-asiders are back in play” while the lobbyist still reign in “the take” for another day. But then again, how many really expected the game to change?

The only big change is who is directing the game. I for one am increasingly nervous by the prospects of such an inexperienced man as Obama in the White House. Like many willing to give Obama a chance, that doesn’t mean we continue to loosely examine his nominees for key positions or fail to hold them to higher standards. We need to understand the quid pro quo—pay to play for many of the appointees being those who supported Obama early and often.

Many are from the same closed elite group with more from Harvard over other good institutions who also have stars. Many will give the Clintons another chance to try to get it right. And many have family connection that should make us all question whether we are losing a concept of meritocracy or truly becoming a society based on who you know, who has name recognition and who has the rich backers to pull it off and possibly pull the wool over our eyes.

We should all pray that G-d continues to bless Mr. Obama and our great country while the all-seeing eye is ever vigilant over this constitutional democratic republic.

Dr. Ada M. Fisher is NC Republican National Committee Woman. Contact her at P. O. Box 777; Salisbury, NC 28145; telephone (704) 223-2321;

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