Politico: Gates agrees to stay on under Obama

ABCNews earlier reported this is a “done deal,” as diaried earlier by bugscuffle. Now Politico comes seems to confirm this:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has agreed to stay on under President-elect Obama, according to officials in both parties. Obama plans to announce a national-security team early next week that includes Gates at the Pentagon and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as secretary of State, officials said.

Note that this is not sourced to the campaign.  

Is it a savvy pick? or a cause for concern? On the savvy pick side, it allays criticism by prowar factions. Now, one of the architects of the “surge” will be charged with executing the new Commander-in-Chief’s withdrawal plans. It demonstrates the much touted “bipartisanship” and working together blah blah blah.

On the other hand, as LithiumCola detailed earlier this year, Robert Gates is a proponent of a permanent, global counter-insurgency effort. In as much as Obama buys into the logic of the war on terror, let’s hope that this POV doesn’t exert too much influence on President Obama. Indeed, it seems that one of the sticking points of a Gates appointment is his staffing–will he be allowed to keep his neo-con staff?

David Axelrod assured viewers on Sunday that retaining Gates would not indicate a shift in policy:

David Axelrod, the incoming White House senior adviser, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”: “The president-elect was clear throughout the campaign that when he became president, that he was going to give the secretary of defense a new mission, and that mission was going to be to wind down our involvement. Nothing has changed.”

Axelrod said Obama enjoys and invites strong opinions and there will be no “potted plants” in his Cabinet.

I’m sure that many of us in the progressosphere will be against this pick. I am.

What do you think?

And do you think it’s a done deal? Or a very substantial trial balloon? Can we still push back?  


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    • srkp23 on November 26, 2008 at 00:22

    Also posted in the orange juice, but I’m imagining a different reaction here, my friends. 🙂

  1. by Al Giordano titled Circus Rules: A Guide to Tell if an Appointment is a Done Deal or Not very helpful.

    I didn’t see the interview with Axelrod on Sunday, but Al was working on reading his “tells.”

  2. as his top priority, it may have been easier to nominate a new SecDef and make a clean start.  But having to focus on the economy might have tipped the scales to keeping Gates for a transitional year.

    I’m thinking of it the opposite way though.  If Obama’s main focus has to be the economy right now, I would prefer he picked a Dem as SecDef who was more in line with Obama’s withdrawal plans from the start, and could be trusted with less direction from the President.  John Kerry comes to mind.  I haven’t heard much buzz for Kerry though.

  3. Obama does buy into the Global War on Terror.

    The GWOT is more or less the same thing as the Cold War.  That is, it serves much the same economic purpose.  I don’t know that Barack is liberal enough to see beyond it and to undertake policies that, unlike the GWOT, might actually undermine terrorism.

    We shall see.

  4. I’m against it, and have signed petitions against it just today.  I told whatever staff member reads these petitions plainly that when I vote for a Democratic president, I expect a Democratic administration.

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