Conservatives Angry Because Obama’s Team Is Too Far Left? Not Really

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Hmm. New story out today in the Washington Post about how conservatives are supposedly worried that Obama’s appointees and transition team are too far to the left. That’s a wild departure from all previous grumbling, which came from progressives worried Obama’s people are too far to the right.

You could easily take this as an example of two grand truths: (1) Presidents, especially new presidents, just can’t win. Washington simply has too many people with too many different agendas. Every time a new man or woman takes the White House, his or her moves are bound to disappoint somebody. (2) If you look hard enough when you are writing a newspaper article, you can always find someone willing to complain. This is true on almost any topic.

But before we use this as a teachable moment, let’s take a closer look at the Post article. Only one conservative is on the record as complaining about Obama’s confidantes being too liberal, a man named Roger Clegg. The executive director of the Northwest Mining Association does pop up briefly at the end to whine about a former Clinton staffer who is on the transition team advising Obama on Interior, but that same mining official is said to be “comforted” by the fact that Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat from Colorado with friends in the oil and mining industries, was picked by Obama to head Interior. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth here, folks. You’ve got the big fish on your side and you’re complaining about the little fish? (Two animal metaphors in two sentences = bonus points.)

The article mentions just four people close to Obama who raise the ire of conservatives (or would possibly draw the ire of conservatives, if anyone had bothered to go on the record). All four are advising the transition team; not one has been appointed to anything. No complaints are made by anyone, named or unnamed, about Obama’s actual appointees. A Harvard professor is cited in the article as believing “an ultra-left takeover by Obama advisers and nominees are manufactured hyperbole.” That seems about right. And this Post article fits that bill.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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