Obama Places America's Economic Interest As Top Priority

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[Black Star News Editorial]

There have been much criticism of President Elect Barack Obama for his imminent appointment of Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, as well as his other appointments and proposed appointments; he has designated Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff and Eric Holder, as attorney general. Both are former Bill Clinton Administration officers.

Moreover, Obama is considering asking Bob Gates, current defense secretary, to stay on for at least one year. And there are possibly other officials from past Administrations that may find a home in the new Obama Administration.

Candidate Obama was elected, largely, on a campaign message of change and renewal. Many people who voted for him are questioning his early moves. Yet, the president elect deserves the benefit of the doubt for at least the first year or two.

When the campaign started, the key issue of the day was the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As an Illinois state senator, Obama made a speech opposing the war in Iraq and warning that the nation would become bogged down in a quagmire. Later, in the campaign, he argued that the resources being squandered in Iraq could be used for domestic economic programs. His Iraq stance was the essential difference between him and Hillary Clinton, who, in addition to embracing the war, adopting even more hawkish positions during the campaign, even, shamelessly warning that the U.S. would obliterate Iran if it were to launch a nuclear strike against Israel. Let alone the fact that Iran does not have the capability, the prospective leader of the world’s sole superpower shouldn’t ever make such statements.

We are not big fans of Hillary Clinton and excoriated her for some questionable tactics during the campaign. Yet, today, as everyone knows, the challenges are starker; way beyond the dangers posed by Iran and Iraq. The Economy is on a rapid downslide: more than 10 million Americans are out of a job; this year alone, the U.S. has lost more than 1.2 million jobs; several major corporations, including CitiGroup, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, are teetering on the brink of collapse; several other major banks are on intravenous support, with billions of dollars, and yet these two may still go under; businesses are not getting finances from the banks since these lenders believe the businesses may not survive as consumer demand slides; and, millions of Americans have lost their homes, and many more are threatened with foreclosures and will need millions in direct financial or credit assistance from the government to encourage them to purchase goods and services.

America is in an economic state of war.

These are the chilling realities of today. The United States cannot afford politics as usual when Obama takes office January 20; that’s why he’s tapping the most competent officials from past Administrations so as to have government operating on day one next year when he takes office.

Moreover, by bringing key Clinton officials on board, he wins the backing and the goodwill of the millions who supported her during the campaign; and, by working with independent non-partisan Republicans, Obama will also minimize political bickering that could stymie his Administration’s effectiveness at a time when the entire nation should rally around his proposals to arrest the economic slide and spur recovery.

Does all this mean that President Elect Obama has abandoned his message of change, which is what buoyed his candidacy? Not at all; in fact, by rising beyond partisan politics in the national interest, Obama is bringing a new kind of politics not recently seen in Washington.

A politics that places the interest of the American people first and foremost.

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