Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monica in the Obama Administration?

Billy Kimball
Sun Nov 23, 3:30 pm ET
President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team is reported to be deeply divided over whether to offer a post to Monica Lewinsky, the former White House Intern whose intimate relationship with President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment. Until now, Lewinsky was one of the few high-profile figures from the Clinton Presidency who had not been recruited for the incoming Obama team. Mr. Clinton's brother Roger is another, though on Friday there were rumors he would be named ambassador to Spain.

One group, which includes David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's campaign manager who has been named his senior advisor, favors the move to balance the influence of the Clinton-era policy people by adding someone with a different perspective. A second faction led by Mr. Obama's Chief-of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is bitterly opposed believing that a Lewinsky appointment would needlessly antagonize the Clintons and their supporters. Before being elected to Congress, Mr. Emanuel served as a senior advisor to President Clinton.

Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, who is expected to be nominated as Secretary of Health and Human Services, responded to a reporter who asked about the Lewinsky rumors by pretending to receive a cell phone call. When the reporter took the phone from him and closed it while making a "we both know what you're doing" facial expression, Daschle said that appointing Lewinsky would be "like rubbing salt in the wounds of Senator Clinton at a time when we're supposed to be in a healing process." He added that Miss Lewinsky's presence in the White House would be "a huge distraction."

But New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who broke with the Clintons over his endorsement of Mr. Obama, said that Lewinsky was "a fresh face" with "a lot to offer." Richardson lost the post of Secretary of State to Senator Clinton and is now Mr. Obama's choice for the far less prestigious job of Secretary of Commerce. "The Obama adminstration should be focused on recruiting the best people to help us address the challenges of the future and not get bogged down in past history," he said.

The Clintons themselves have not commented on the possibility of a Lewinsky appointment though people close to her have said that Sen. Clinton was shocked and appalled by the idea. "It's a non-starter for her," said Philippe Raines, a longtime aide to Sen. Clinton. "She doesn't want to run into Monica in the West Wing ladies' room," he added.

However, Justin Cooper, who edited Mr. Clinton's autobiography, My Life, and has remained close to the former president, said that Mr. Clinton was cautiously supportive of the prospect. "He's always had great admiration for Monica's abilities," Cooper said. "I think he's just concerned that she might get in over her head if she were given a job as a political move."

Since the scandal, in addition to her status as a pop culture icon of sorts, Lewinsky has had a brief career as a handbag designer and then attended the London School of Economics where she received a master's degree in Social Psychology. Her thesis was titled "In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity."

No decision has been reached as to exactly what sort of job Lewinsky might be offered. "With her background, I could imagine her doing something on either the jurisprudence side at the Department of Justice or on the handbag side, at either the Department of Commerce or the Department of Agriculture," said Deborah Kaye, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies the Executive Branch.

Monica Lewinsky was not available for comment. Through her attorney, William Ginsburg, she released a statement, which read, in part, "I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve my country again at this crucial juncture in our history."


Mike West said...

I'm holding back on other comments.

vwatt said...

Maybe she could work at the White House newstand/gift shop- cigars, cigarettes, tiparillos?? Any takers??
And from the "it couldn't happen to a sweeter person" files:

"Ann Coulter may be completely silenced, at least for a while.

If the New York Post's Page Six report is true, Coulter broke her jaw and her mouth is wired shut:

WE HEAR...THAT although we didn't think it would be possible to silence Ann Coulter, the leggy reaction- ary broke her jaw and the mouth that roared has been wired shut...

twest said...

I think ex-Gov Spitzer of NY may have a recommedation.....

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

She can still type.

vwatt said...

Could we just skip his last few months and let Obama start early?

Wash. Post Dec.2

Bush's Final Fiasco

As he prepares to move back to Texas, our 43rd president is the beneficiary of Bush fatigue. The nation has long since repudiated him. Americans are looking ahead to the promise of Barack Obama.

And it's lucky for George W. Bush that they are, because his handling of our plunging economy is Hooverian in both its substance and inadequacy.

Herbert Hoover, we should recall, had a program for dealing with the Depression. It consisted of lending to banks but opposing fiscal stimulus or direct aid to individuals. Which is why Hank Paulson's frenzied endeavors to prop up the banking sector and Bush's dogged resistance to assisting anybody else amount to pure neo-Hooverism.

As the 1930s began, Hoover believed that the coordinated actions of the private sector could save the beleaguered economy. It soon became apparent that the only action that private-sector businesses could agree upon was closing down factories and offices and throwing people out of work. Under immense pressure to do something, in late 1931 Hoover asked Congress to establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, to provide funds to banks it deemed creditworthy.

By 1932, the RFC was making loans. Yet with the economy in free fall, the rate of bank failures increased until Hoover's successor, Franklin Roosevelt, created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Having done his bit to bail out the banks, however, Hoover rested. He opposed provisions that would have enabled homeowners to hang on to their homes.

As breadlines lengthened, he vetoed a bill appropriating funds for public works on the grounds that it was inflationary and contained pork-barrel spending. Bankers would be saved; everyone else was effectively damned.

Sound familiar? The Bush administration's approach to today's meltdown is to direct all its energies and largess to lending institutions. There is, as yet, no program to help floundering homeowners renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. The president is opposed to further stimulus programs, even though private-sector investment in the United States has all but ceased.

It's becoming increasingly clear, however, that while saving the banks may limit further calamities, it doesn't really save anybody else. Even with government-guaranteed lines of credit, financial institutions are refusing to lend money. With the banks effectively on strike, an economic recovery, if there is to be one, must begin with the government injecting funds to those parts of the economy that need it most: infrastructure development, state and local governments, an alternative-energy sector. These are all programs to which Bush is firmly opposed.

In a sense, Bush's inactivity is even less excusable than Hoover's. Unlike Hoover, Bush could learn from the successes of New Deal and World War II-era programs to revive the economy. Keynes's general theory of how to defeat depressions wasn't around when Hoover was president, but it's been with us now for 72 years. What's more, virtually every reputable conservative economist, from Martin Feldstein on down, now supports a government stimulus program. But Bush, drawing on no known body of economic thought, remains opposed. (So does Republican House leader John Boehner, who seems determined to elevate stupidity to a party principle.) And with each passing day, the economic hole out of which we will have to climb grows deeper.

So where's the outrage? Why aren't demonstrators besieging the White House? Where are the "Welcome to Bushville" signs in those neighborhoods where abandoned homes outnumber the occupied ones?

The answer, I suspect, is that you can only irreversibly give up on a president once. Further catastrophic failures on the president's part elicit only diminishing returns. Buchanan did nothing while the South seceded: That was it for him. Hoover did nothing as farmers, workers and middle-class America got wiped out: With that, he was beyond rehabilitation. Nixon had Watergate: Enough said. One mega-strike and you're out.

Bush, however, has had three. He misled us into a nearly endless war of choice to disarm a threat that never really existed. He let a great American city drown. And now he stands by while the economic security of tens of millions of Americans is vanishing.

Yet in the hearts of his countrymen, Bush's place is already fixed. Even before the financial collapse, he was in the ninth circle of presidential hell, with Buchanan and Hoover. At his own party's national convention this summer, his was the name that no one dared speak. And so, though his mishandling of the economy is criminally inept, he is being spared one more outbreak of public rage by two countervailing public sentiments: Americans' relief that he soon will be gone and their kind reluctance to kick a corpse.

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

What a bunch of crap!!! It was the Democrats (Dodd, Franks, Clinton, Carter) that started this whole mess. If Obama does any better than Bush on any of the problems he had to face, it will be because he's following Bush's blueprint. (Which amazingly enough, he's doing - note Sec'y of State and Defense picks, among others) If memory serves me correctly, Msr. Clinton was a bit of a persona non gratis during the 2000 AND 2004 elections.