For an administration built on "change," President-elect Barack Obama has taken a weird first step. After 20 months of promising change, he basically has recreated the Cabinet of Bill Clinton, the nation's last democratic president.
Monday, Obama selected his former rival on the campaign trail and Clinton's wife, Hillary, as secretary of state. It's an odd move given the fact that Obama spent a year branding Clinton as the dreaded status quo in Washington.
Still though, it's difficult to criticize Obama's selections. After all, each appointee is well-qualified and should do a fine job -- and there doesn't seem to be a Michael Brown-type appointee in sight.
It's not as if appointing an entirely new Cabinet would've prevented criticism. It merely would've changed it from criticism that his Cabinet is more of the same to criticism that it's inexperienced.
So while it's perhaps not entirely consistent with his campaign promises, the Cabinet itself shows potential. Nebraska's own senator, Chuck Hagel, praised the selections, saying that Obama has selected, "a serious, experienced and widely respected group of leaders."
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut -- hardly an avid Obama supporter -- also commended his choices. "I applaud President-elect Obama for assembling a talented and bipartisan national security team. "
While the appointment of Hillary Clinton of New York is the highest profile nod thus far, his other selections are equally solid.
Displaying a bipartisan spirit that has been completely absent the past eight years, Obama decided to keep current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whose 27 years of experience in the CIA and two years as secretary of defense made him an ideal selection.
He also selected Eric Holder Jr. as attorney general. Holder was first nominated as associated judge to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by former President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Next, he was appointed deputy attorney general by former President Clinton in 1997. He also served as an advisor to the Obama campaign and assisted in the vice-presidential search that culminated in the selection of Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.
Taken as a whole, the selections represent a solid selection of appointees who will hopefully help lead the nation forward after a disappointing eight years under the Bush administration.