Monday, December 15, 2008

Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education?



I don't want to hear any BS about him hiring the most qualified.

Under no circumstances is Arne Duncan the most qualified person for the job. I will not even entertain the argument.

Duncan's entire career has been nothing but an exercise in White Privilege. There is no Black person, that I have ever seen, get to the levels of this man, without having the BASIC proper credentials.

With all the Black folk who have PhD's in Education, he chooses Duncan, who has a sociology degree.

A sociology degree.

I didn't say Masters in Sociology. I didn't say PhD in Sociology.

He has a damn Bachelors in Sociology.

He is a flunky tool crony choice of King Richard Daley II. He has done nothing for the Chicago Public School system. Not for the children that need it the most.

Bump Hillpatine being Secretary of State, THIS is the worst appointment that Obama has made.

And Black and Brown children - who make up the majorities of the Urban School Population - will have to pay for it.

Edited to say this: I am from Chicago. I have seen, up close and personal, Duncan's mediocrity and the harm he has done to Urban school children. The other folks suggested for Sec. of Education, I didn't know about them. I know Duncan's incompetence.


Anonymous said...

ok we nowq know how you really feel about him

Anonymous said...

Keep your voice on this loud and clear. This is the type of information we need to know about.

I agree and my question is... for the first black president he sure does seem to be selecting the most non-diverse cabinet? This new presidents is a huge joke - change my @ss.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go as far as saying, "change my a**". But if what AI says is true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't, it's a big disappointment. I expected a more progressive aproach to the problems facing our schools systems, not a political handout to someone who seems underqualified to bring about real change in a most funemental area.

Not sure I get it Barak. A little vexed over here brau.

Brian said...

Welcome to the dark side Rikyrah. Glad you could make it. Have a seat.

Convinced yet that (now that Obama is safely elected, lol) we are going to have to keep an eye on his policies and behavior in office? Convinced yet that we (esp. Bloggers) will have to hold him to all of the promises he made?

Now are you beginning to understand my frustration?
(I was hoping that it wouldn't be long before you finally came around).

Here you have another appointment of a Chicago insider... another crony.

There are hundreds of well qualified Dr's of Ed. ....not just Black... but Hispanic, Asian, White, etc... and not just the traditional thinkers. There are a lot of cutting edge Dr's of Ed. who are turning schools around...and turning school districts around in some of the toughest places...using alternative methods. Again... Progressive, bold thinkers. But instead of putting these folks in his Cabinet..he has been reaching out to Chicago cronies, and Clinton folks. It's beyond annoying at this point.

This whole Blago situation... where some of Obama's people may have been tied up in this the exact reason why I had been saying from the start that he should appoint a different cast of characters...not just a new cast of characters...and new faces. He should have stayed away from the Chicago insiders, the well connected cronies. Now he finds himself embroiled in this Blago mess.... even though he may not be directly involved. His relationship and his staff's relationship with Blago gives the impression of impropriety. And THIS IS EXACTLY WHY PROGRESSIVES like myself were calling for the appointment of new thinkers...rather than just the same insiders (although you need a few insiders as a practical matter to run the Government smoothly...I understand that). But this is why Progressives and Liberals have been mad as Hell about these appointments.

But instead of listening to HIS OWN ADVICE and HIS OWN CAMPAIGN SLOGANS and PROMISES.... What did he do?

He surrounded himself with Axelrod, Clinton, Emmanual, & others (at least two of which may have had contacts with Blago). Then he continues these appointments by adding yet another Chicago insider with the Education pick.

It looks a lot like Business as Usual to me. I don't care if you give it a Black face (like that is suppose to be sufficient "change" for me) a duck is still a duck....and business as usual is still business as usual when you are seeing the same kinds of cronies.

When you look at the language he used when running for President...and his actions now... the contrasts are unbelievable. Was his whole campaign a lie?

He has made a few decent appointments... Jones as National Security Advisor, Rice as UN Ambassador, Holder as AG (although there were others equally as good without the baggage), Choo as Sec. of Energy (seems like a great choice), i'm even neutral on Gates. Not necessarily a bad thing to keep the Def. Sec as a holdover at a time like this.

But the rest of his appointments have been puzzling. Summers as economic advisor, Clinton as Sec. of State, His Sec. of Education, Richardson as Commerce chief...puzzling since this is not Richardson's area of expertise, Napolitano as Homeland Security Chief (she has no law enforcement or intel background whatsoever... and she's not a security expert... she has only had very marginal experience with border issues as a Governor... far from being qualified for this post),.... Daschle as HHS Secretary.... WHAT? This post should go to someone knowledgeable in that area.... someone who could take charge if a pandemic hit the Country, someone who knows how to plan for disasters, someone with a strong medical background who could also manage a change to a new system... there are plenty of Progressive Doctors and other health Professionals who could manage that department. HHS is one of those positions where it would have been best to put a Career HHS chief in charge... they already know what the problems are... they just need beauracrats to get out of their way. Instead... Obama has put in place another layer of political Beauracracy for these folks to fight with. Not a damn thing will get done on healthcare in Obama's first term.

His Defense/National Security team is made up of mostly Democratic Hawks... still locked in Cold War mentality...and the idea of U.S. as the Worlds Police.... and the U.S. as empire...Projecting U.S. power around the World with military might. (They are not that different from the Republican Neo-Cons). You won't see much change from Bush to Obama on the international front. The World is going to be so disappointed when they come to this realization within about a year or so.

There have just been a whole list of puzzling appointments. And I think within a year or two, it will be clear that some of these appointments were bad moves. For those who say he is picking the best qualified... because he's a pragmatist...that is a bunch of bologna. Obama's Cabinet = 1/3 best or very qualified for their positions, another 1/3 not very qualified IMO, and another 1/3 who are generally qualified but who were awarded the positions for political reasons (as reward for what they did during the campaign), or who have been recycled from the Clinton administration.


Brian said...

Don't get me wrong... I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea. I still support Obama's Presidency...and I hope everything goes well.

But now that he's safely elected...and their's no imminent threat from the greater of the evils (McCain/Palin), then it is time to put Obama in the hot seat, hold him to his promises, and hold him accountable for his actions. I will critique Obama just like I did George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. I didn't like any of them. And Obama won't be treated any differently here.

Although I hope everything goes well... I am just pointing out that based on his actions so far... things don't look all that good to me.

As Dr. Cornel West often says... "I'm hopeful, but not optimistic"
West & others often used that phrase to describe the direction the Country was going post- 9/11... the health of the Country, etc. And we have been hitting crisis after crisis.

So I'm hopeful, but not optimistic that the Obama Administration will deliver on promises of fundamental change in how the Government works ...or that it will accomplish even half of what was promised in terms of new policies to turn the Country around.

It's like the Country is a giant Hen House...and Obama is trying to convince me that the Foxes he is bringing into his Cabinet are going to be looking out for my best interests and the best interests of the Country.

Sorry.... I just don't buy it. Especially when the majority of his Cabinet look more like the Foxes I describe... the same cronies and insiders we have always seen... the same Democratic war hawks who are not much different from the Bush Administration. At the same time... there is not one Progressive in any of the major foreign policy Cabinet posts or Advisory posts. NOT ONE! That's troubling when there SHOULD BE SEVERAL.

Obama has been getting praise for his cabinet choices from the likes of Karl Rove, Kristol, Dick Cheney....and other hardline Conservatives. And what they are responding to is Obama's turn to the Right. They are relieved.


rikyrah said...


I disagree with you about Daschle. In fact, the one thing I believe more than anything else he's going to tackle his first term IS healthcare. Daschle, the head of OMB, Governmental affairs - all of them are obsessed with health care.

Brian said...

The House & Senate are under the control of the Health Insurance and Drug Lobbyists. One of the problems with pushing a health plan that keeps the corporations in charge is that it gives them a veto...both in terms of what legislation gets through...and on the other end in terms of dictating what kind of medical treatment you are allowed to get.

First Obama will have to find the money. The Treasury is broke...and has been for years.

Next, he'll have to get backing from so-called "Blue dog" Democrats from politically mixed districts, who don't want to be accused of wasteful spending.... They will be reluctant, especially in the Senate.

And the health and drug lobby will be able to kill any proposals that they don't like - because they own Capitol Hill.

Obama will have to fix the economy first.... that could take 12-18 months. Then he'll have to spend 1-2 years just pleading his case.

Regarding Daschle... it was a political appointment... a thank you job for the support that Daschle provided during the campaign. His expertise on Healthcare is rather limited....and he wasn't very effective as the Minority Leader in the Senate.

There were dozens of other no nonsense folks who could have been chosen for that position who would have been a better fit.

But we shall see.

It will either be a Swan Dance...or a Train wreck. Something in between probably won't be enough to get the job done.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with some of the comments posted. I am from Chicago and since Arnie has been in his position attendance and graduation rates have increased.

AAPP said...

I agree! Great Post

Brian said...


What's been going on?

Brian said...

Well, at least Arne appears to be more of a Progressive... although Obama probably could have found someone far more bold and visionary.

Obama also chose a Progressive for Labor (although that was a given... what other choice would he have for the Labor Department other than a Progressive Democrat?).

I'm still annoyed about no Progressives in any of the key Cabinet posts.... (I know folks are getting tired of me stating the same thing...but I can't help myself).

I am willing to sit back and give the man a chance.... but it seems like everytime I get ready to to do so... he turns right around and does something else... like the Warren thing.