After listening to Barack Obama hold forth yesterday and today, it becomes evident that it is he who is the real compassionate conservative in American Politics and not the ignorant patrician that just retired from America’s imperial throne. As he meets with congressional leaders and tours the battered hiterlands in full scale economic meltdown, he has shown poise, graciousness, grim determination, and earnestness in telling the American people that his prescription for economic recovery will work. The American people are praying that our president’s establishment orientation, pro-business, plutocratic friendly proposals, will yield some fruit, and not more of the same. The corporate press is describing Tim Geithner ‘s TARP plan similar to the Bush/Paulson plan. I am not encouraged and it does not sound to me like “Change We Can believe in.” Only time will tell. What did you think about all of this?
News broke this afternoon that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his nomination over questions regarding a federal investigation of the state’s $1.5 million dollar financial services contract with a Beverly Hills, California firm, CDR, who’s CEO, David Rubin, donated $110,000 to political committee’s affiliated with Governor Richardson.
I am heartsick because I’ve always felt that Richardson’s presence in the cabinet essential to Obama’s success. Nevertheless, as my grandma is fond of saying, “one monkey don’t stop no show.” The vacancy represents an opportunity to do something no president has done and after the Warren fiasco a few weeks back, I’ve come to feel pretty strongly that Barack Obama needs to appoint a “gay American,” as former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy put it, to the cabinet of the United States.
When you stop and think about it this is a barrier that Bill Clinton should have shattered years ago, and one Al Gore probably would have if the ignorant tumbleweed that is George W. Bush hadn’t tripped him up. Clinton, after the broken promise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” attempted to buy off the LGBT community with the appointments of James Hormel as ambassador to Luxemburg and Roberta Achtenberg as Deputy Secretary of HUD. The public break with activist David Mixner, a leading LGBT fundraiser and convention delegate for Clinton, damaged Clinton’s relationship with the LGBT community in a big way.
Nothing of that magnitude has occurred in this new Administration, but the hue and cry over Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation channels the white-hot righteous indignation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Debate, and Bubba’s craven signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, which were straightforward betrayals. Obama hasn’t gone back on his word to the LGBT community on any significant issue, at least not yet. But he’s black, so I suppose there are some activists who feel the need to put Obama, and the rest of his dark skinned brethren, “in our place,” and psychologically project their legitimate anger for the failure of prop 8 on the most convenient scapegoats in America—black people, who don’t even make up 7% of California’s population.
Anyway, y’all, after little investigation, I’ve come up with two outstanding people that I think can send an inclusive message to the country and tamp down some of the fires of faux outrage burning in the blogosphere.
The first person to come to mind is former Massachusetts State Senator Jarrett Barrios, the CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts. As CEO, he oversees a $55 million dollar endowment that focuses on expanding health care access and improved delivery to the uninsured and underinsured. Barrios, a Cuban American originally from Tampa, Florida, served for 8 years in both Houses of the Massachusetts legislature. An honors graduate of Harvard University, Barrios also possess a law degree from Georgetown University.
In the legislature he made Health Care access and delivery his signature issue and authored legislation requiring Massachusetts hospitals to provide interpreters to non-English speakers. In addition, he authored legislation protecting consumers from unscrupulous predatory lenders and required that lenders abide by Massachusetts laws requiring community reinvestment and he pushed for tax credits to subsidize the construction of more affordable housing.
A practicing attorney, Barrios has worked for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and for the law firms DLA Piper and Hill & Barlow.
Lastly, as you may have already surmised, Jarrett Barrios is a gay man who led the fight in the Massachusetts Senate to preserve marriage rights for same-sex couples. He is married to Doug Hattaway, a democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton spokesman.
The Obama Administration has focused on excellence in its cabinet appointments. I believe that Jarrett Barrios’ academic and professional credentials will stand the test and that he would be an outstanding Secretary of Commerce.
Because I believe in balance, it is necessary to consider people of both genders and the accomplished Susan Leal, a former businesswoman, health-care executive, Public Utilities Regulator, San Francisco Treasurer and Supervisor, is an even more qualified choice than the first I put forward.
Ms. Leal, 59, is a native of San Francisco and a veteran civic leader. She is a first generation daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first Latina to serve on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While on the board, Ms. Leal co-authored San Francisco’s landmark domestic partners ordinance.
An honors graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Leal has degrees in Economics and Law and has an extensive background as a staffer in both the California General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. While in Washington Ms. Leal served as a staff attorney for the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Investigations. Back in California, she served as general counsel to the Assembly Committee on Ways & Means.
Elected San Francisco’s Treasurer in 1998, she oversaw a $3 billion dollar portfolio of investments and she was the first treasurer to screen the city’s investments to ensure the city invested with socially responsible companies that respected workers, consumers and the environment.
A shrewd and successful businesswoman, Ms. Leal and a few friends created a health care startup that they subsequently took public and later sold at a profit.
Finally, Ms. Leal last served the public as a utilities regulator and she tangled with PG&E, the powerful utility made infamous in the movie Erin Brockovich.
Ms. Leal would make an excellent Secretary of Commerce, Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or as a Deputy Secretary of Energy or Interior. Both of these individuals are qualified, well-educated, Latino and Gay. It’s past time that all God’s children are represented in the halls of power.
After arguing passionately over proposition 8, I feel that you all could use some humor. This is my first attempt at humor in a long while. It stops when I am depressed and I am trying to recover.
I understand Michelle Obama got a grand tour of their new digs the other day and a little birdie told me that this is how it went down.
Mrs. Bush: (with clenched teeth and squeezed butt cheeks) Welcome to the White House, Mrs. Obama. It is a (makes air quotes) “fabulous honor” for me to introduce you to the loyal household staff and give you the grand tour of the entire residence and state rooms.
Mrs. Obama: Mrs. Bush, the cameras are gone. You can cut the act.
Mrs. Bush: Whew. Thank You. I didn’t know how long I could’ve kept up the act. The truth of the matter is that you people frighten me. I just don’t know what this world is coming to. Your husband’s election over a perfectly good white man is just not right if you ask me.
Mrs. Obama: No damnbody asked you.
Mrs. Bush: Anyhoo, I’ve had two Xanax and two Bloody Mary’s so we need to make this quick before they kick in.
Mrs. Obama: I can handle it from here. Don’t you have some embarrassingly servile House Negro who can show me around while you sleep it off?
Mrs. Bush: Condi is either shopping for shoes or in the Middle East and George fired that turncoat Colin Powell four years ago.
Mrs. Obama: No, Ma’am. I didn’t mean those embarrassingly servile House Negroes, I meant the Black servants that wait on you hand and foot like they’re still on a plantation.
Mrs. Bush: Ron Christie, Armstrong Williams, and Alphonso Jackson are no longer with the Administration, dear.
Mrs. Obama: Nevermind. I see your (makes air quotes) “medication” is beginning to kick in. Let’s just move on.
Mrs. Bush: Mrs. Obama, this is the White House Red Room, one of the White House’s many color themed historic parlors. In keeping with this theme, your husband could entertain his many socialist and communist sympathizers and collaborators as they plot to redistribute the hard earned wealth of the the richest 1%.
Mrs. Obama: Since were on the red theme, is this the room where your husband concocted the twin red herrings of weapons of mass destruction and yellow cake uranium from Africa as a pretext for war in Iraq? Cat got your tongue? That’s what I thought. Why dontcha just keep it moving.
Mrs. Bush: Mrs. Obama, this is the famous Lincoln Bedroom that the previous president kept as busy as a brothel on a Saturday night by wheeling his wealthy campaign donors in and out at lightning speed. Needless to say, we’ve restored the room to its intended purpose. How do you people plan to honor President Lincoln?
Mrs. Obama: The best way to honor President Lincoln, Mrs Bush, is to unify the nation and preserve the union he so vigorously defended, unlike your draft-dodging, chickenhawk husband, and to work across the aisle with mutual respect and bipartisanship.
Mrs. Bush: Michelle, dear, here we have the historic Treaty Room as renamed by Jacqueline Kennedy, your role-model. Speaking of Mrs. Kennedy, I do hope that you can keep better track of your husband than Jackie could. Democrat wives seem to have a problem in that department. Anyhoo, The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed in this room by President Kennedy in 1963. Your husband can use the room to surrender our nation’s sovereignty to the U.N. and leave us defenseless in the War on Terror.
Mrs. Obama: Treaties, now that’s a concept I wasn’t aware the Administration knew anything about. Have you ever heard about the Geneva Conventions? No? Neither has GeeShrubya. As for keeping track of my man, nobody whose ever worked for Barack ever slipped up and referred to him as “my husband,” like your girl, Condi. I know my man, but it must be sheer torture wondering whether your husband has a taste for brown sugar, honey. Barack certainly does, and as you can see, (with both hands on her hips) that’s one mission he accomplished when he married me.
Mrs. Bush: (Flustered) Well I never…
Mrs. Obama: That probably explains alot. Can we wrap this up?
Mrs. Bush: Last on our tour is the Diplomatic Reception Room, which serves as an entrance to the White House from the South Grounds for the members of the first family and for visiting dignitaries and ambassadors arriving to officially present their credentials to the President. Y’all can use this room to pray to Mecca five times a day and receive all your terrorist supporters like Ahmadinejad and Hamas.
Mrs. Obama: Diplomacy. Now that’s another concept I am certain y’all aren’t familiar with. How could you be…what with your preoccupation with preemptive war and indiscriminate bombing of defenseless civilians and all. It’s hard to find time to grapple with the complexities of international law and the rules of war when your wars are just shameless grabs for oil and economic supremacy.
Mrs. Bush: Mrs. Obama, that concludes the official tour. Is there anything else you’d like to see?
Mrs. Obama: You mean other than seeing you, Lynn Cheney, and Mrs. Rumsfeld visiting your husbands in federal prison?
Mrs. Bush: Yes.
Mrs. Obama: I’d really love to see you carry your flat ass upstairs and pack. Your time’s up.
Despite the House Republicans disingenuous efforts to pin the failure of the Bush Administration’s Wall Street bailout on Nancy Pelosi’s “partisan” speech castigating free market wingnuts for their anti-regulation philosophy, the blame lies squarely on their shoulders because Bush is their damn President. Period.
The House GOP is more concerned about saving themselves than they are about saving the country from economic collapse or salvaging Bush’s legacy or supporting John McCain. They threw them both over the side and are preserving the option for themselves of blaming the impending economic catastrophe on Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
People must realize that there can be no bi-partisan cooperation with the Republican Party. They are right-wing extremists determined to destroy this country before they hand it over to a black man. To counteract that level of racist sabotage, Barack Obama needs the biggest Democratic majorities in twenty-five years to be able to enact his agenda.
Hopefully the Democratic majority will be emboldened to fashion a bailout for Main Street instead of Wall Street. I’m not hopeful.