Debra J. Saunders

When Obama picked Donilon to succeed Jones, many pundits turned to Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars." In it, Defense Secretary Gates is quoted as saying that Donilon would be a "disaster" as national security adviser.

On Friday, Gates walked back from that comment, as an unnamed senior defense official leaked that the two "enjoy a very good working relationship, and really have for quite some time now."

The more interesting quotes, however, come from Jones himself. As Woodward reports, Jones sat Donilon down one day and praised his organizational and political skills. Jones also said something you wouldn't expect a national security adviser to say to a deputy. Jones hit Donilon for never having gone to Afghanistan or Iraq, and not even leaving the office for a serious field trip. "You have no credibility with the military," Jones told Donilon.

That's not good.

Maybe generational differences explain the gap between the Bush and Obama teams.

Or maybe this is a class issue. Maybe Obama surrounds himself with like-minded alumni of faculty lounges and law review journals -- seven Cabinet members and one Cabinet-rank official are law school grads -- when he ought to be looking harder among America's heroes and old warhorses for advice. Maybe, since America is at war, Obama should look a little harder outside his rarefied comfort zone.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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