Is The Obama Administration Heading For A Reshuffle?

Since the election of Scott Brown to take over the Senate seat of Teddy Kennedy, the tone has sharply changed in Washington; especially the rhetoric coming from the White House. President Obama is now using a more aggressive almost populist language such as denouncing the “fat cats” of Wall Street, and vehemently attacking the Supreme Court’s decision to unleash the full blast of corporate money, which could potentially be the final nail in the coffin of our electoral system.

It seems that most Democrats, at least on the left, are welcoming the drastic change in the President’s discourse. However, a critical question  remains unanswered: Will President Obama act on his renewed combativeness and, by doing so get back his political mojo?

The art of politics, not unlike the art of war, requires ruthlessness, some time diplomacy but always an intense power to focus on everyone else next moves. Barack Obama displayed all those qualities, and than some, during his 2008 masterful Presidential campaign, but somehow since he became President his unstoppable edge seems less sharp. Sharpness, and the ability to switch gear are the qualities President Obama and the Democrats should rely on now. In the balance is not only the 2010 elections, but also a better chance for the President to be reelected  in 2012.

This photograph of the President (from the official White House site) was taken before his inauguration speech January 20TH 2009. The President had a quick reflective moment before accepting the enormity of his task at hand. As a “thinking man”, President Obama was a good change from the impulsive George W. Bush, but what the former President had was the ability to be incredibly stubborn, blunt and forceful when he wanted something done. In other words, President Obama should think less and act more otherwise his first term will be the only one. Action, in this case, could translate into a fairly substantial reshuffle within the Obama administration not only in term of people, but also in regard to key domestic policies.

Up to a couple of weeks ago, the position of  Chairman of the Federal Reserve seemed secured for Ben Bernanke. But now, with his term up and the anger from Americans towards  financial institutions on the rise again, an easy confirmation is less likely. Democrats from the left such as Senator Boxer and Senator Feingold are expressing a strong frustration over Bernanke’s refusal to completely open the books on the 2008 giant bailout of companies such as AIG. Another man could see his current position in jeopardy: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Geithner is perceived, for very good reasons, by America’s public opinion as someone in bed with Wall Street.

Three days ago, a giant of the economic world  made a comeback in the forefront of the political scene. It is Paul Volker, and he could replace, on a very short notice, either Ben Bernanke or Tim Geithner. Another possible contender for Geithner’s job could be a woman of great intelligence, integrity and deep knowledge of finance: Her name is Elizabeth Warren, and she has quite an expertise on the giant financial swindle which took place in the last few months of the Bush administration, known by the  name TARP. Midterm reshuffles are common in Americans politics; in the case of the Obama administration it could happen before that.

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3 Responses to Is The Obama Administration Heading For A Reshuffle?

  1. Stephen Dufrechou January 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Great article, here, Gilbert!

    The Obama “reshuffle” you’ve highlighted, here, reminds me of a short story I used to teach: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”…

    In the story, a wife is kept locked in a room all day–“for her own good”, says her husband…. Eventually, she begins to hallucinate and sees a woman trapped in behind the pattern in the room’s wallpaper. Every time the trapped woman tries to get around the pattern, to escape, the pattern quickly shifts, blocking her move, keeping her unfree…. It’s been interpreted as the historical “pattern” of patriarchal society, always shifting to maintain its control of women….

    The corporatist state tends to do the same, though; every time the population arises in dissent, the state shifts its “pattern” of rhetoric and policy, just enough to appease the “restless masses”–thus blocking them from hitting the streets en masse and maintaining the social order.

    • Stephen Dufrechou January 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      By the way, brilliant photo choice, Gilbert. It serves nicely as rather haunting metaphor….

  2. Ole Ole Olson January 25, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Fantastic analysis. There are 2 lessons that Democrats can learn from Scott Brown’s win in MA. The first, and incorrect lesson is that the Democrats have ‘gone too far’ and need to be Republican-lite. This is what they have done for nearly 2 decades, and it is doomed to failure. It is appeasement and futile.

    The second lesson, which is correct is that they have to take BOLD steps to enact real change and shake up the establishment to restore our nation to a unique place in the community of nations. End torture. Stop domestic espionage. Level the economic playing field. Give aid to struggling working families. Focus on powerful reforms and even if you lose the battle, draw the contrast so that there is no doubt that they are on the side of the people, while the Republicans and their conservative legions are on the side of the wealthy, elite, and corporations. 2010 is just as important as 2008.

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