I take it back… suddenly Obama is getting scary. I’m starting to have nervous flashbacks to the final season of The West Wing. Remember how the last two seasons were all about a non-white congressman (played by Jimmy Smits) running for President as a Democrat (with the early talks focused on Education, too!), against a not-so-conservative Republican (played by Alan Alda)? At the end of the series, I seem to recall the new Democratic president appointing Alan Alda’s character to Secretary of State (and in doing so, admitting his knowledge of foreign affairs was weak).
Now, there’s talk that Obama will appoint some Republicans to Cabinet positions :
As Barack Obama enters the final stages of the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, he is preparing to detach the core voters of John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, with the same ruthless determination with which he has peeled off Hillary Clinton’s supporters.
The scene is set for a tussle between the two candidates for the support of some of the sharpest and most independent minds in politics. Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war, and Richard Lugar, leader of the Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee.
Senior advisers confirmed that Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and one of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, was considered an ideal candidate for defence secretary. Some regard the outspoken Republican as a possible vice-presidential nominee although that might be regarded as a “stretch”.
Asked about his choice of cabinet last week, Obama told The Sunday Times: “Chuck Hagel is a great friend of mine and I respect him very much,” although he was wary of appearing as though he was already choosing the White House curtains. But after winning 11 primary contests in a row after Super Tuesday, he is ready to elbow Clinton off the stage.
As Michele McGinty at Reformed Chicks Blabbing  comments, this should not motivate you to vote for Barack. But it certainly has the appearance that it could influence some. What is staggering to me is the possibility of people like Hagel or Lugar taking these positions instead of staying on in Congress where they can do the most good. As established Republicans in their seats, they should be cognizant of the criticality of their role there, especially if a Democrat is in the White House.
By the way, the Republican VP candidate in that last season of West Wing (Leo McGarry) died of a massive heart attack on election night… just something to think about.