No confidence in Cabinet picks

Letter to the Editor
Published: 2/7/2009 12:03 AM

Using the buzz words, "hope" and "change," Obama spent $750 million in his 21-month run for the White House and won with 52.9 percent of the popular vote. Two weeks into his administration, we are beginning to get inkling as to what he means by "hope" and "change." A quick look at how his "inner circle" is shaping up helps.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should have been legally barred from taking the position since she was a sitting member of Congress when the job's salary was increased, This Ineligibility Clause is in Article One of the US Constitution and her spouse, Bill, has stated openly that he will continue to take donations from foreign interests. Anybody see conflict of interest here?

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar too was a sitting member of Congress. But he was who Obama wanted and the fix was in for both Clinton and Salazar.

Hilda Solis, our new Secretary of Labor, stated during her confirmation hearing that she didn't feel qualified to answer questions on the "right to work laws" and was noncommittal when questioned about the Employee Free Choice Act. One would think she would at least see herself as qualified or she wouldn't have taken the job!

Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, in charge not only of the National Treasury, but the IRS, considered by some to be an economic genius, the one who not only failed to pay his own income taxes in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 while claiming his kids' sleep-away camp expenses as dependent care expenses. Anybody else think sending your kids to a private sleep-away camp is the same as hiring a baby sitter while you go to work? And then he had the nerve to blame his "error" on Turbo Tax. A financial wiz needs Turbo Tax? He kept his housekeeper even though her work authorization had lapsed, and asked to have Mark Patterson who was a registered lobbyist for Goldman Sachs until April 2008 as his number two man. Remember Obama's no lobbyist stance during the campaign? Well, that little old newly signed executive no lobbyist order was just waived away!

Tom Daschle, Obama's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, withdrew after having a difficult time being confirmed. After he learned he was Obama's pick, he did pay the $128,203 in unpaid taxes and another $11,964 in interest that he owed. Makes me feel like a real fool for paying mine on time all these years!

Obama wants Eric Holder for Attorney General, despite his participation in the Marc Rich pardon. Marc Rich was a commodities trader who fled the country in 1983 to escape prosecution for "tax evasion, racketeering and trading with the enemy" for making oil deals with Iran during the hostage crisis. Rich was on the FBI's Most Wanted list at the time and Holder was one of Clinton's White House lawyers who approved the pardon.

One has to ask, why anyone would select as Secretary of Education a man who ran the school district that ranks 31st among the 50 largest U.S. cities in high school graduation rates? Chicago's high school graduation rate is 51.5 percent. I know Arne Duncan plays basketball, but really!

If you are thinking that I want Obama to fail, you are wrong. I want him to succeed. I want the world to be a better place for my grandchildren and I want the United States of America to lead the way.

Joan E. Baillile