The elections have come and gone. The hard part of Governing has already begun in earnest.
This was a question that was originally posted in a New York Times article. What the US election has shown has been a United States that has changed. It is becoming more of a rainbow nation than ever before and it has given the Republican Party some true moment of pause as it begins its transformation to remain relevant. Some of the leading lights have begun to already position themselves for 2016. It does not come a moment too soon.
As the Republicans staked out their positions, I was particularly amused as the Speaker noted that he viewed Obamacare as “being” part of the negotiations on the fiscal cliff. Such side shows, though, seemed to divert attention from changes the United States has undergone. The Country that Rush Limbaugh has led us to believe has changed. Yet, it seems to me that somehow the “old way” of thinking about America’s role in the World seems to the prevalent way. The idea that somehow Capitalism in its’ purest form must be the way seems to continue to be the prevalent thinking in Washington. This has been epitomized by the discussions President Obama has had with CEO’s with the aim to “mend fences”. Although he has also held discussions with the so-called Progressive & Labor Forces to reiterate the fact that he would not compromise on the basic principles that he ran on: to increase the top rate on taxes on the very rich.
The Country that was epitomized by White, Anglo-Saxon males is changing. This is even more epitomized by the challenge being faced by one of the more conservative counties in the United States: Orange County. In a recent report I reviewed on a leading Orange County Political Blog, Orange County Republicans–just like their brethren nationally–have misread the rise of the Latinos badly. They are on the prowl to identify conservative minority candidates. Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindhal are amongst the current stars who have been making the “Rounds”.
Right now, though, the Country still has to be governed. A number of key Cabinet Officers are leaving. Hillary Clinton will leave in a few months. Tim Geitner is right behind him. There will be probably be other turnovers as well. The replacement for Secretary of State will probably continue to stay focused on the so-called “pivot to Asia” as the outward modern imperialist reach of US Foreign Policy will continue. On the domestic front, the position of Treasury Secretary will also entail continuity vs. transformation. The replacements for Tim Geitner are all individuals (such as Clintonite Erskine Bowles) are those who will mean a middle of the road approach to policy and the so called “Soft Austerity” that seems to be the order of the day. I did find the McCain/Graham onslaught on Susan Rice to be especially amusing. It negated from the real debate about the long-term role of the United States as it deals with the ever changing World we live in–a World that is multi-polar.
There is some hope that the President’s decisive win will hopefully work to transform things. I hope that the President will be bold. Will he be truly bold, for instance, by appointing someone like a Paul Krugman or a Robert Reich to Treasury as someone suggested?