Obama’s new cabinet – NY Times 11/27


To the editor:

Some of Joe Nocera’s choices (“Obama’s new cabinet, 11/27) are incomprehensible. David Petraeus for Defense is unforgiveable. Petraeus has proven himself a corrupt publicity-seeking career booster in the model of Donald Rumsfeld. If you want someone to shake up the establishment, pick Mikey Weinstein, who leads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. It is time to stop the “boys will be boys” attitude which tolerates religious coercion by officers of the enlisted men in their command. The attempt by some to turn our armed forces into a Christian Crusade is creating an unneeded problem of cohesion, and is proving an unnecessary distraction for students at our military academies. It is time for the pluralist Obama to turn his attention to the persecuted majority, who need no churching in the peculiar sects seeking to form a Christian Taliban in our own ranks.

Ken Feinberg has proven himself the consummate insider, who has rarely challenged the boundaries of the narrow tasks to which he has been publicly assigned. Fred Wertheimer, of Common Cause, on the other hand, has constantly battled effectively at the boundaries, on behalf of the disenfranchised and dispossessed. I have no doubt that Wertheimer would continue working for the American people in the broadest possible sense, if he had real power behind him, as Attorney General.

For education, I do not think that Randi Weingarten is likely to be much of a revolutionary — and maybe that is what Nocera’s choice is about. Jonathan Kozol and Geoffrey Canada, each in his own way, would be a radical departure from the global “one size fits all” education policies with which our nation rightly shows such skepticism — and of which we have had our fill for the past 12 years.

Frankly, Bill Clinton is too valuable a political commodity to tie him down with Secretary of State, and he will want to be on hand to aid his wife in her presidential bid four years hence. Nancy Pelosi would be in for the long haul. She has no further ambitions. She is a selfless incorruptible negotiator, and she is used to jet lag.

(name withheld)

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