President Obama Prepares His Cabinet

By Michael Gallagher
The Minstrel

President-elect has begun selecting nominees for his cabinet with praise and aprehension.
With the presidential election finally over, it is now time for President-elect Barack Obama to complete his most difficult challenge: select a cabinet that not only satisfies the demands of his Democratic colleagues, but also one that garners the approval of his Republican counterparts.

The purpose of a cabinet is to monitor various portions of the United States government without the president having to be involved in every aspect.

The existence of a presidential cabinet dates back to the first president, George Washington, who appointed a cabinet of four individuals to advise and assist him in his duties. Today, President-elect Obama must nominate 15 people for cabinet positions.

To officially become a member of a president’s cabinet, a nominated individual must be confirmed by the Senate with a simple majority. If they are approved, the individual must be sworn in to his or her specific position to begin his or her duties.

With the economy in shambles and disdain for Americans increasing throughout the world, people have become concerned over whom Obama will choose for his cabinet.
“I’m very interested to see who Obama will surround himself with. This could make or break his presidency. As a college student, I’d like to know where the economy and general direction of the country is headed,” says Robert Puzycki, a senior communication major.

Obama, having little political experience, is expected to surround himself with very qualified individuals that can help rebuild many of the problems the United States currently encounters. Inheriting a country whose infrastructure is damaged and in desperate need of repair, many look towards Obama’s appointment of cabinet members as a sign of change.

As the economy suffers dearly, many college students look to Obama’s pick of Secretary of Treasury to be a very important one.

“With the economy the way it is, Obama’s choice of Secretary of Treasury is crucial for our economy to rebound. This is probably the most important post in Obama’s new administration,” says John Modesto, a sophomore management information of technology major.

As a result, Obama selected Timothy Geithner, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, to fill the position. With many education loans at risk given the current credit crunch, students seem confident in Obama’s pick. “I know a lot of kids are having trouble with their loans from banks. So I think a qualified person, like Geithner, is a positive sign for Obama. Maybe these loan problems can finally be taken care of for college students,” says Modesto.

As the head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped lead a campaign to stabilize the financial markets and unify the regulatory framework that banks across the world operate under. With banks across the country suffering, Geithner hopes to end the credit crunch and restore economic stability to the country.

Inheriting a country in the middle of two wars, Obama has chosen to keep Robert Gates at his current position as Secretary of Defense. A moderate Republican, many college students view the Gates’ appointment as a positive one, hinting at the fact that Obama is willing to work closely with Republicans in order to fix the current problems facing the country.

Students who have connections to the current wars have paid close attention to this appointment.

“Being that I am in the ROTC program, I think that the Secretary of Defense position is very important and affects me directly. I think keeping Gates on is a smart move for Obama, showing his willingness to actually set the country straight,” says Dan Szilagi, a first-year criminal justice major.
Other students are also very high on Gates’ selection.

“With the world at war, I think keeping Gates on is a very positive move by Obama. Being a Republican myself, I think this shows that Obama is dedicated to reuniting the country, no matter what political affiliation someone has,” says Puzycki.

Gates has much experience at the position and can give Obama perspectives that may be overlooked by a Democrat-only cabinet.

Many students also have shown concern regarding the fact that residents of foreign countries view Americans with despise. As a result, students feel that Obama’s pick for Secretary of State is a very important one.

“I’m really concerned over how other countries view us. I think we really need to heal those relations. A good way to do that is appointing an experienced Secretary of State,” says Szilagi.

With that in mind, Obama chose Hilary Clinton, the current Senator of the state of New York and wife of former President Bill Clinton, as his Secretary of State. Some students feel that this selection is a good one.

“Hilary Clinton has a lot of experience and is well-known throughout the world. A lot of other countries hate us these days, and I think Clinton’s image may help restore American luster to the world,” says Modesto.

Being the wife of former President Bill Clinton, Clinton gained a global profile. When her husband was in office, Clinton was involved with a lot of goodwill missions to other countries. Her profile across the globe is a positive one, which will only help Obama’s presidency, for both conservatives and liberals alike.

“I’m a very conservative person, but even I have to give credit to Obama’s choices for his cabinet. He’s surrounding himself with very qualified people that could lead to a very productive presidency in this time of crisis,” says Puzycki.

Let’s hope that Obama’s cabinet can effectively deal with the economic crisis facing the country, as well as the various other issues affecting the United States today.

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