Paul  Weyrich

Surprise, surprise. President-elect Barack H. Obama has appointed a center-right group of economic advisers. That is center-right in the Democratic context. That does not make them conservative but they are at least free-market advocates. When he was campaigning for President Senator John S. McCain, III (R-AZ) warned that Obama was a socialist and suggested that he would appoint socialists to his cabinet if elected. There is not a socialist in the bunch. This does not mean that Obama will not tax the rich as he promised during his campaign. This does not mean that he will not have a massive government take-over of the healthcare system. Since his economic team believes in the free market, perhaps they will persuade Obama that any tax increase is a bad idea, particularly in an economic downturn. He may have to postpone tax increases. Or he may let the Bush tax cuts expire. Obama still wants to tax income for Medicare and Social Security. So what government gives with one hand, it will take away with the other. Americans may feel the pinch in their pocketbooks. And since his economic team believes in the free market maybe it will advise him to move slowly and carefully as to nationalizing the healthcare system.

And surprise, surprise. President-elect Obama has selected a national security team that is not hard left. There is no radical among them. Retaining Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, if only for one year, is a brilliant idea. I know Gates personally and have a great deal of confidence in him. He will do his best to protect the United States and our interests. And while I am no particular fan of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), she probably will make a good Secretary of State. We shall see but she also may not recommend actions which will harm the United States. And while I do not care for retired General James Jones, who opposed the surge in Iraq, as National Security Advisor he may prove to be a good choice. I note that Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was positive after his first meeting with the President-elect. He says the matter of Iraq never was mentioned nor was Afghanistan. So much for giving the withdrawal order from Iraq before even taking office.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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