Cabinet

As expected, President-elect Obama's cabinet choices have emphasized competence over ideology. There is no indication so far that he plans to implement Islamic law or Marxist doctrine, or turn over the keys for Ft. Knox to Rev. Al Sharpton. I am sure those who love to be angry, both on the left and right, wish he were more like the inaccurate caricatures FOX News promoted all through the campaign.

Keeping Gates at the Pentagon was a good move. Gates has been reforming how the Defense Department runs. The entrenched bureaucracy there was hoping to outlast him, but now they won't. Gates is a competent administrator and will have no problem implementing whatever changes in broad strategy Obama orders.

I sure wouldn't want a Clinton as an employee, but if Obama can put up with the drama, it could work. Will Bill go along on the globe-trotting missions required of a Secretary of State? Will he cut deals on his own and then force Obama to swallow them? I would be worried. But Hillary's stature and competence will be a plus. Nobody has ever doubted her ability.

Whenever you have complete agreement amongst economists, it is time to look out. Obama said that economists left and right seem to agree that a massive stimulus package is needed. On that one, I am not so sure. When are we going to pay the bill?

On the other hand, it has been so long since we have had a TVA and WPA-like program to build up infrastructure that it would be interesting to see how applying that same sort of national effort to the energy issue would work. We should have a national grid, for one thing. That wouldn't be as tough as building the national interstate system, I wouldn't think. What an amazing achievement that was.

To me, it was obvious all along that Obama would govern from the center. His appointments are bearing that out. He is level-headed, calm and thoughtful.

If it were Obama's choice, all of the nasty things said during the campaign would be forgotten. For instance, Joe Lieberman said repeatedly that Obama wasn't qualified to be president, yet Obama was the one who saved Lieberman's chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate.

I lack Obama's equanimity. I still get stirred up when I think of the ugly emails, the innuendo, the fear-mongering, the paranoid rantings, the sheer number of people who actually fell for the notion that Obama was some sort of terrorist commie radical. For instance, James Dobson's "letter from 2012," which painted a picture of an America under totalitarian left-wing Obama rule, was filled with ugliness. Will anyone hold Dobson's feet to the fire when not one of his prophesies comes true?

Of course not. By then, Dobson will have moved on to stirring up fear over something else. It is his calling, and he does it well. Unfortunately, he has a ready audience of people more interested in sanctified fear and loathing than they are in competent government.