Friday, November 7, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama and Rhambo: Change Begins Now

Remember Barack Obama the candidate? Cheerful, upbeat, promising hope for a new tomorrow and an end to partisan bickering?

That was then, this is now. Now we have Barack Obama the President-Elect. We know that he's going to be president of the United States of America, and so does he.

That photo on the right was taken after President-Elect Obama learned some of what's actually been going on. It's one thing to be a candidate, painting a vision of peace, prosperity, and siblinghood1. It's different, when you're the guy behind the desk.

The Obama Presidency: Change has come to America?

President-Elect Barack Obama is, quite wisely, setting up his White House staff now.

Remember how Candidate Obama promised an end to partisanship, an end to the wrangling in Washington? Looks like he's found his own way to get that job done.

President Obama's Chief of Staff will be Rahm Emanuel. "Rhambo" to people who follow Washington politics. Rahm Emanuel knows his way around Washington, and Washington knows him. He's
  • "an aggressive member of the Democratic leadership"
    (The Independent, UK)
  • "Less beloved than respected"
    • "Earned the nickname Rahmbo"
    • "Prone to angry, profanity-filled outbursts"
    (Globe and Mail)
  • Proven himself a loyal and effective Democrat
    • Helped lead Democrats in 2006 takeover of House of Representatives
    • Worked on President Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign
    • Was a White House adviser to President Clinton
Nothing intrinsically wrong with any of this: party politics is the way things have always gotten done in Washington. But: This is a change?!

Why would the "change" candidate a partisan whose nickname is "Rhambo? Simple: " one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel," Obama explained. Makes sense, I guess.

Still, I'm with John Boehner, House Republican, who said that Emanuel was " 'an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the centre.' "
(Times of India)

Isn't this blog about the War on Terror?

Yes. The thing is, America chooses its leaders by political means, American leaders make decisions based in part on politics, and other countries have their own politics.

Not discussing politics from time to time would make as much sense as trying to write about professional baseball without mentioning options, waivers, or contracts. It could be done: but you'd be missing a lot.

The 'Change' President: Let's See What Happens

Naming a business-as-usual Washington partisan as White House Chief of Staff aside, President-Elect Obama has already brought change to the White House. He's:
  1. The first black President
  2. The first American President to receive congratulations and advice from the President of Iran
#1 is something Barack Obama has put in a long, hard, two years to achieve.

#2 was more President Ahmadinejad's doing, than Barack Obama's. Still, it's an historic first.

More, about President-Elect Barack Obama, ancestors, and Ahmadinejad, in "Barack Obama's Presidency: History Being Made" (November 6, 2008).

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.