Monday, December 22, 2008

Solid Solis

Obama made a great pick for Sec. of Labor when he chose Hilda Solis, a solid social-justice advocate and the daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrant laborers. It couldn't have come at a better time, given the current assault, even within some sections of the Democratic Party, on unions, collective bargaining rights for teachers, and attacks on immigrant workers.

The Solis pick is much more significant than giving gay-basher and anti-Semite Rick Warren his 10 minutes of prayer time at the inauguration. That's one I still don't understand. But I don't see much difference between Warren and most other evangelical preachers when it comes to politics and civil rights.

Overall, Obama has done a good job in rounding out his cabinet with Solis. If you look at it in comparison with what we've had for the past eight years or with what we would have had under McCain/Palin (remember them), there's really no comparison. Key will be Solis backing for the Employee Free Choice Act.

But that will not satisfy a small group of ultra-lefties who never really got behind the Obama campaign in the first place and who are going to extremes in their attacks on Obama cabinet and inauguration choices. It's true that Obama is going to be tugged in different directions as he tries to pull together a strong enough coalition and hold off what may be the inevitable war between competing Democratic factions. The arrest of Blagojevich and the senate race in N.Y. are just the tip of the coming iceberg.

But the real test, the real things to watch, will be the follow through on Obama's commitment to economic New Deal initiatives, including support for public schools, and on his ending of the war. Beyond watching, we have to do our part in movement building.

Blogger Susan Ohanian thinks I’m selling out because I don't share her “outrage" at Obama and his choice of Arne Duncan for secretary of ed. I think I've done a pretty good job as a Duncan/Daley critic. But I also have reason to hope that he will do a good job as part of the Obama team--not as good as Linda Darling-Hammond, but no Joel Klein either. But I may be wrong. 

Ohanian, who's pretty good on most ed issues, has, along with some other lefties, gone off on Obama's so-called "betrayal" before he’s even set foot in the White House. Ohanian thinks, because I don’t fully agree with her, I must be holding out for a job in D.C. (LOL).
“Is Mike Klonsky keeping his options open, or what?”
My brother Fred as usual, has my back--and a job.

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