Over the last few weeks since President-Elect Barack Obama was elected, we have heard a great deal about the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearnes Goodwin. This book which was published in 2006 and has been cited by Barack Obama as one of the cabinet models he studying in forming his own cabinet. Ms. Goodwin’s book depicts the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln and how Mr. Lincoln put former rivals in his cabinet. Among Lincoln’s rivals were William Seward a celebrated senator from New York who at one time was certain to receive the Republican nomination in 1860, however a certain young Illinois congressmen who came out of nowhere beat him and became the Republican nominee (sound familiar?) Mr. Seward went on to serve as Lincoln’s Secretary of State, and although they argued on various issues Mr. Seward became Lincoln’s closet ally in his administration.
Therefore it is not surprising that Mr. Obama chose Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. One of the great attributes of a great leader s is to bring people in his/her inner circle who will challenge conventional wisdom and not be a yes person. Mrs. Clinton will definitely bring this when she and Mr. Obama sit down and talk about foreign policy. But the most important lesson in this appointment is the ability of Barack Obama to forgive his former rivals. I loved the fact that when he meet with the Republican nominee John McCain this week the talking point that came out of the meeting was “we are going to work together to get our country back on track.”
Can the church say AMEN!!!!!!”
But back to Mrs. Clinton, over the course of the primary Mrs. Clinton attacked Mr. Obama on every front, to include defending the experience of John McCain over Mr. Obama’s. On one campaign stop Mrs. Clinton said “ I have experience, John McCain has experience Mr. Obama has a speech he gave four years ago. OUCH! But Mr. Obama has decided to let bygones be bygones and appoint her to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Mrs Clinton has not been the only one forgiven but Mr. Obama has said that Joe Lieberman should continue to be the Chairmen of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Mr. Lieberman chose during this election season to not only abandon the Democratic party but traveled miles around the country and campaigned for Mr. McCain over Mr. Obama. Now, most ruthless politicians would have thrown Mr. Lieberman under a bus but not Mr. Obama he has forgiven yet again and is allowing his former arch nemesis to keep his powerful chairmanship.
Here is the lesson, this country is in a crisis, not just economically, but physically, and emotionally. Mr. Obama understands more than anyone that in order to get the county back on track you must have the best people both in your corner and on your side. Enough with the partisanship , enough with the back door fighting, and enough with keeping enemies. Let’s make the country as good as its promise!
That my friends is real change we can believe in.