Many on the left are concerned that Obama’s choice of conservative foreign policy advisers and neoliberal economic advisers invalidates his commitment to change.

However, a glance at earlier presidents show that there are both those who chose competent advisers but don’t let them steer the agenda, for example Clinton who had many progressive advisers but stuck to his pro-corporate track, and those who give a lot of leverage to advisers, for example Reagan and Bush II. It’s reasonable to suppose that Obama belongs to the former category and that he will call the shots. Therefore, as Randy Shaw argues, people should be most concerned that he choses advisers that can get things done.

“I admire Rahm Emanuel greatly, he is a wonderful politician, his skills and instincts are extraordinary […] he studied Ballet for a few years. In fact, he was the first to adopt Machiavelli’s the prince for dance. It was an intriguing piece, as you can imagine” Barrack Obama 2005

A wise president ought to choose the wise people in his state, and give them the liberty of speaking their mind to him; but he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusion.

However one can, as many have done, of course discuss if Obama is really that progressive himself. And from a Scandinavian point of view he’s indeed more or less right of the center. Hans Blix said the day after the election that said that he thougth of Obama’s victory as more of a relief that McCain didn’t win than anything else. Personally I’m slightly more optimistic. Judging from the state of global affairs, humanity seem to have arrived at a bifurcation point. It’s up to the “grass roots” to force Obama in the direction of change. And he, not his advisers, shall be held accountable if he breaks his commitments.

DN

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