Second-Term Obama Cabinet Likely To Be Even More To The Left
Special To The Libertarian Republic
November 9, 2012
Already, less than a week after his electoral win that gives him four years within which to institutionalize his left-wing agenda, President Barack Obama is weighing a number of possible cabinet replacements. Rumors of first-term cabinet appointees deciding to move on to other endeavors during a second Obama administration, began swirling even before the polls had closed last Tuesday.
What this shake up means for the country — especially for those of not enamored of Obama’s government-oriented philosophy — remains to be seen; but I do not have a warm sense that the upcoming appointments will reflect the President’s rhetoric about “compromise” and “reaching out” to the other side.
For one thing, Obama is no longer restrained by concerns that moving too far left during his first term in office might harm his chances for a second term. Like other presidents before him — George W. Bush and Bill Clinton come readily to mind — Obama as a second-term president will see in the mirror a giant of a man; reflective of the self-perceived skill and intellect that propelled him into that rarefied atmosphere of two-term presidents of the United States. He will — despite soothing rhetoric to the contrary — consider his reelection a mandate; a green light, if you will, and a testament to the electorate’s endorsement.
George W. Bush learned quickly that his 2004 reelection was not a “mandate” that provided the opportunity to implement far-reaching reform of the Social Security system. No sooner did he try to do so early in his second term, than he found out it is far simpler to talk about such fundamental reform than to actually get it done. Never one to relish a protracted battle to convince a diverse Congress or a divided electorate that the substance of what he was attempting to accomplish was the right thing to do, Bush quickly gave up on the Social Security reform effort, and focused on less complex endeavors for the remainder to his second term — like spending money.
Bill Clinton, too, discovered that his thin “mandate” in 1996 was hardly a blank check to enact far-reaching, leftist policies during his second term. He simply focused on what he did best — meeting his personal needs and compromising with the Republicans in the Congress. Unlike Bush after him, however, Clinton knew when to push and when to step back; and his eventual agreement to the Balanced Budget and Welfare Reform Act of 1997 was a far-reaching and positive piece of legislation (unfortunately largely undone by the GOP after Bush’s victory in 2000).
Obama has shown no interest in compromises such as those Clinton was able and willing to orchestrate. Moreover, Obama is far more of an ideologue than either of his two most recent predecessors — more in the mold of a Hillary Clinton than her husband. A second four years is not likely to change Obama’s basic stripes, and we should expect his upcoming cabinet posts to reflect this.
That Hillary Clinton is the first cabinet secretary to permit rumors of her departure to be confirmed is not surprising. The Benghazi debacle — which could have doomed Obama’s reelection if Mitt Romney had more forcefully and eloquently made the case against it — was a swamp into which the State Department lead the way. Hillary also will need the next couple of years to re-burnish her star and lay the groundwork for an anticipated presidential run in 2016.
The names already surfacing as Hillary’s replacement — with Obama’s United Nation’s Ambassador Susan Rice heading the dance card — include some who make the woman they’d be replacing appear to be a flaming conservative. That list includes also Sen. John Kerry and perhaps senior Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett.
Domestically, Attorney General Eric Holder and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are slated to depart the administration early in the new year. Although Holder’s last year at the helm of the Justice Department was marred by the “Fast and Furious” scandal, he never made firearms or Second Amendment issues generally a hallmark of his tenure. His replacement is unlikely to take a similar hand-off approach when it comes to guns. And, if early rumors that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will replace Holder turn out to be accurate, her moniker as “Big Sis” (reflecting her penchant for government snooping and TSA groping) will be played out in spades at the Justice Department.
Geithner has made no secret of his interest in leaving the administration, and he will likely do so shortly after Obama’s inauguration, if not before. Here, too, his replacement is likely to be reflective of Obama’s now-reinforced predisposition to turn to government power and spending as the preferred means of “running” the American economy. Look for the next Treasury boss to be even more enamored of the federal sector than Geithner has been. In such an environment, we soon may look back on the days of a $16 trillion national debt as the “good old days.”
In short, it is going to be a long, long four years.
Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia. Bob is Chairman of Liberty Guard, Inc. a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting individual liberty. Heads a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies, Inc., also headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Bob is a registered Mediator and Arbitrator and teaches constitutional law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.
From 2003 to 2008, he occupied the 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union, and now is a member of The Constitution Project’s Initiative on Liberty and Security. From 2003 to 2005 Bob was a member of a project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government addressing matters of privacy and security. Barr serves as a board member for Privacy International, a privacy watchdog group headquartered in London. Recognizing Bob Barr’s leadership in privacy matters, former New York Times columnist William Safire called him “Mr. Privacy.” Barr was the Libertarian Party nominee for President in 2008.
Bob serves on the boards of directors for the National Rifle Association. Bob also is a member of the Cobb County Citizens Oversight Committee and a national officer for Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
Bob has appeared on virtually every major cable and network television program dealing with public policy matters, and has served as a regular contributor for CNN. He writes regularly for The Daily Caller, and has been a columnist and blogger for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Congressman Barr writes occasional pieces for other publications as well, and has hosted a nationally-syndicated weekly radio show. He is the author of three books: “The Meaning of Is: The Squandered Impeachment and Wasted Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton,” “Patriot Nation: Bob Barr’s Laws of the Universe Volume One,” and “Lessons in Liberty.” He is a member of the board of advisors for The Texas Review of Law and Politics at the University of Texas Law School.
Bob Barr was awarded his law degree from Georgetown University; his master’s degree from The George Washington University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. He and his wife Jeri live just outside Atlanta, Georgia.