Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wasting your party III: now he's got Xander!

Will it ever stop?

Rep. Xavier Becerra , D-Calif., has been offered the post of U.S. Trade Representative in the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama , according to Democratic sources.

Becerra is the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House, and the senior Hispanic in either party. And now Obama wants him for trade representative...Obama is using up one of the faces of the Democratic future on a freakin' tariffs negotiator. What's next: Claire McCaskill for Ambassador to Mauritania?

Maybe I haven't been stark enough on this, so here goes: the executive branch is where political careers go to die. Outside of a shot at the Oval Office by the vice president, you aren't going anywhere from the executive branch.

Hillary Clinton, a brilliant mind in health care and women's issues: finished.
Janet Napolitano, the standard-bearer for southwestern Democrats and our leader on immigration: finished.
Xavir Becerra, energetic leader of Hispanic Democrats and future face of our party: finished.

Meanwhile, people like Howard Dean, Tim Johnson, Wesley Clark, John Kitzhaber, and Bill Nelson languish in never-land, hardwon experience wasted due to personal grudges or ignorance or whatever. Obama is stocking his talk-shop with the type of people we need representing the Democratic Party. This is wasting our future successes in order to hyper-guarantee the present one, and I maintain that it's short-sighted. This is like the Red Sox team trading away its entire slate of AAA prospects for a no. 4 pitcher in the playoff rotation.


noternie said...

Enough! The most competent must be used to their full value. Nothing says cabinet secretaries can't go back and run for seats in the House, Senate or Governor's offices. In any event, their career longevity is not my primary concern.

The party needs to constantly regenerate. Having talented people in cabinet level positions opens the doors for those from the lower ranks to rise into those open slots and so on down the line.

You're a 'fraidy pants.

Quriltai said...

Okay, let's say that the most competent must be used to their full value. Agreed. And what makes you think that Becerra is an expert on American trade policy, more so than career bureaucrats in the Department of Commerce or State? Nothing, really -- Becerra's main skill has been in counting votes and earning votes. I'm a big fan of putting technocrats into technocratic positions, and politicians in political positions. It's one thing to negotiate a policy, it's a more valuable thing to authorize it in Congress.

As for Cabinet secretaries "going back", I think it depends where you go. Elizabeth Dole pulled it off, as did Mitch Daniels. Both Republicans in what were then red states. Erskine Bowles did not.

I just don't see how Hillary or Napolitano get back into it -- Hillary at the primary level, Napolitano in the general. I think that's a huge general loss for the party, especially in the latter case. Who in the lower ranks is ready to rise in the Democratic Party in Arizona?