Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Don't Have All the Good Ideas: Real Bipartisanship

I want to start by proclaiming I apparently actually have a reader who is not a close personal friend who reads this blog because I write it. As a shout out to voice of reason, I have not stopped writing because the election is over. Rather I go through periods where I feel everything has been covered well enough that much of what I would say is not truly different or new. My posts fall into three categories: 1.) A response to another writer whose ideas specifically anger me. 2.) A positive response to an article with which I agree. 3.) My personal ideas regarding an area of policy. Most of my posts fall into the first two categories, though I intend to write more in the third as well. For obvious reasons, they require more work and writing time.

This posting falls into the second of those three categories. I had not read Cenk Uygur before, but I find what I recently found to be exceptionally interesting.

Mr. Uygur argues against the knee-jerk appointment of a Republican Secretary of Defense by President-elect Obama in favor of an ambitiously bipartisan appointment of a Republican Secretary of State. He makes note of the political belief, supported by polls, that Republicans are stronger on defense issues and suggests a Democratic Secretary of Defense would serve to rebut the argument while a Republican Secretary of Defense would only reinforce that problem for Democrats in future elections. Furthermore he argues that the appointment of a Republican Secretary of State in a strong Democratic administration would give the Republican Party a stake in diplomatic solutions to problems and strengthen Republicans whose foreign policy worldview is decidedly not neo-conservative a greater platform within their own party.

While I am not entirely sure that such an appointment would dramatically change the Republican Party in the manner that Mr. Uygur envisions, I agree with him that it is a stronger and more original statement of bipartisanship than another Republican Secretary of Defense in a Democratic administration. Henry Stimson (Secretary of War under Franklin Roosevelt), Robert McNamara, and William Cohen have already served in that capacity.

While Mr. Uygur suggests the two Republican prospects for Defense Secretary (Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar), I would recommend someone whose foreign policy expertise is more popularly known around the country and whose appointment would be a truly bipartisan statement.

I believe that President-elect Obama should make a serious offer of the post to Senator John McCain. Senator McCain's knowledge of world affairs is very solid, despite his misspeakings in the election, and his diplomatic experience in engaging enemies is likewise solid: he was the leader of the open hand offered to Vietnam after the Cold War had ended. I believe that, in a strong Democratic administration, Senator McCain would be a valuable adviser in formulating policy and an effective executor of policy.

I think this is something that President-elect Obama should seriously consider.

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