Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Obama's pick of Panetta

I've had a couple days to mull this one over. (Yes, it's taken me that long.) And I'm not the only one who has been thinking this through. A few people have but the one person who catches the same idea that I did after a first thought was Hugh Hewitt. Hugh explains the reason why people should step back and examine this pick carefully:

The job of the DCIA is enormously important, and has often been filled by individuals with no background in intelligence or even national security. Sometimes it has been filled by people with such backgrounds but with very little in the way of senior executive experience. Weiner's book makes clear that a good DCIA will have one essential attribute -- access to the president. No matter how experienced in intelligence or management, a DCIA who stays at Langley without ever or even often getting to the president to present the Agency's findings, warnings and recommendations will be a failed DCIA.

In Panetta's favor is the likelihood of access and his experience managing the White House under Clinton. Panetta is widely regarded as very smart as well, and widely liked across both parties. Though a liberal, the experience of having skippered a White House staff will have schooled Panetta in the art of getting to the president when it must happen and in the ways of winning internal Executive Branch dust-ups. The Congressional background didn't help Porter Goss much, but perhaps it will help Panetta keep the budget cutters away.

Panetta's a patriot, an experienced Washington hand, and close to the president-elect. As with many of the other early appointments on the incoming national security team, conservatives should be asking themselves if they ought not to be thanking their stars that the new team appears very realistic about the world they are being called on to lead and the enemies they will be facing.

Let me be perfectly, crystal-clear on this. I'm not an enthralled Obama supporter. Neither is Marcie. Neither of us like him one bit. We know that he is a liberal, and was educated in the annals of socialism, given his Alinsky credentials. That given, we know we can't truly trust him. Additionally, his rookie-like way of handling things up to this point don't hearten us to him running the nation very well. In fact, we're scared sh*tless that he's going to screw up way too much in this country due to his own inexperience as opposed to his political ideology.

However if one looks at his Cabinet appointments (with the exception of Richardson and his own pay-to-play possible scandal) they aren't all that bad. No one wanted to see Hillary there, but even with her limited experience in foreign affairs isn't something to cringe about. She's a hands-on person, and we're sure that she'll take the job seriously. The two exceptions to the Cabinet that we raise an eyebrow over are Eric Holder (his history with the Clinton administration is tainted withe the pardon fiasco, and his hostility towards guns is well known), and Sanjay Gupta. Of course Allah is right. At least Obama tapped a doctor.

The biggest reason why people should at least give Panetta a try is the fact that he did run the White House as chief of staff. He sat in on CIA briefings and he knows how important it is for the president to have all the up-to-date intelligence he needs to make important decisions. (Say what you want about the Iraq intelligence but Tenet didn't lie. We did find WMDs in Iraq and we did find remnants of previous WMD programs there. They just weren't in the quantities that Colin Powell alluded to in his UN presentation.)

Without direct access to the president, without the ability to speak with Obama when the DCI needs to, it wouldn't matter who's in charge over at CIA. They need to be able to speak with Obama when the pressing intelligence is discovered. When Panetta picks up the phone to say he needs to speak with Obama we're confident that he's not going to be stuck on hold, or told to "hold on a sec." He's going to be put through and he's going to give the president the skinny he needs to have to make a decision. Panetta won't be calling Obama because he's lonely. He'll be calling him to let him know what our enemy is up to. And believe us when we say that Panetta will be a hellion if he's blown off by anyone in the White House when the chips are about to fall. He won't be nice about things if he's told by Rahm Emanuel that the president is busy.

Obama may be inexperienced. He's a lightweight and a rookie. But he's not stupid. He knows what happened when Bush intel guys dropped the ball in this war. The last thing he wants to do is invite similar criticism if he were to drop the ball, and Panetta's not about to let that happen.

Publius II


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