A week ago Americans came together to choose between two men, a choice that would determine the future of this great nation. In an overwhelming voice Americans rejected the policies of the last eight years, the politics of fear and political division. Instead they chose hope and change: they chose Sen. Barack Obama.
It is easy to get lost in the results of this election but with just 73 days left until Obama is sworn in as the 44th president we must now focus on the new Obama Administration. The first 100 days of any administration are the most important. The success of those first 100 days will be determined by the staff President-Elect Obama assembles and the order in which he prioritizes policies.
President-Elect Obama signaled his pragmatic presidential intentions with the choice of Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel for his chief-of-staff. Emanuel, a veteran of the Clinton Administration who is known in Washington for his ability to get things done in an often deadlocked partisan environment shows the desire of President-Elect Obama to hit the ground running from day one to change to environment in Washington and the direction of country. Although there have been other announcements regarding Obama’s cabinet or senior staff, there has been rampant speculation over the past few days. We will not comment on who should receive what appointments, but we can say that President-Elect Obama has vowed to diversify his administrative team by recruiting minorities and Republicans officials, as a way to mend the division in the country.
Expected to be on President-Elect Obama’s short list for important cabinet positions are (based off speculation in recent days and not limited to the names following): Robert Gates (the current secretary of defense) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) for secretary of defense; Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-Ariz.) for the position of Attorney General; Indiana Senior Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for the position of secretary of state; and Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, the current head of the New York Federal Reserve bank for the position of secretary of treasury. President-Elect Obama is expected to begin announcing key cabinet positions in the next few weeks.
In order to challenge the status quo in Washington and bring about the change America needs, President-Elect Obama must develop innovative approaches to implement the ambitious agenda that he has proposed. The principle priorities of the Obama Administration include: a plan to revive the economy, fix a broken health care system, education and social security, to define a clear path towards energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to finish our mission in Afghanistan and to work with our allies to prevent Iranian nuclear proliferation, along with many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.
President-Elect Obama held his first post election press conference on Thursday, Nov. 6 in which he stated that addressing the nation’s current economic crisis would be his number one priority when taking office. During the press conference, and at subsequent interviews since, President-Elect Obama declared that his plan to ease the economic crisis is through a congressional economic stimulus that would extend jobless benefits, offer food aid to the poor, dispatch Medicaid funds to states and spend tens of billions of dollars on public works projects. If the plan is not approved this month Obama has said that “it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.” With the release of a new jobs report Friday, Nov. 7, unemployment has climbed to a 14-year high with 10.1 million people out of work. During an economic crisis of this magnitude a stimulus package is exactly what is needed to jumpstart this faltering economy.
On election night people around the world held their breath and hoped that America would choose a leader who could once again inspire the world. The world was not disappointed. From Obama, Japan to Manchester, England people from every corner of the globe celebrated with America on Tuesday night. In one night the United States has changed its image around the world, and moved towards reestablishing its place as the world’s last great hope for freedom and liberty. The words of French President Nicolas Sarkozy sum up the worldwide sentiment for President-Elect Obama, “Your stunning victory rewards a tireless commitment to serving the American people. It is also the crowning achievement of an exceptional campaign whose brilliance and high tone demonstrated the vitality of American democracy to the entire world”.
The election of senator Obama as the 44th president of the United States has broken barriers that few could have imagined approaching only four years ago. However, his election is not the change that America needs, but only an opportunity to accomplish the change that tens of millions of Americans voted for on Nov. 4. Throughout the campaign and over the past few days President-Elect Obama has made the choices to properly position the Obama administration to institute the changes that America needs, to move the nation toward energy independence and away from economic instability, while reasserting American leadership in the world.
Paul StruebingFundraising Chairstruebpr@muohio.edu
Miami University College Democrats