The Washington Post said last week that the one group largely unrepresented in Obama’s key team is Southerners.
As Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, surprise!”
The story didn’t mention that the official voice of the White House will have a Southern accent. That’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who grew up in Alabama, went to N.C. State and worked for N.C. Congressman Bob Etheridge.
Obama’s picks reflect his background and his inner circle. That’s true with all presidents. JFK brought in Bostonians and Harvards. LBJ and both Bushes brought Texans. Nixon and Reagan, Californians. Carter, Georgians. Clinton, Arkansans.
Besides, who from North Carolina – or anywhere in the South? – was out front for Obama early on? Mostly it was younger people who aren’t Cabinet-level picks.
There were no replays of Terry Sanford breaking ranks to endorse JFK in 1960, a risky move that paid off big for the state. Luther Hodges got Commerce, and the Research Triangle got the national health institutes.
Obama might have picked Jim Hunt for Education. But at 71, though still going full tilt, the Eternal Governor is not at a point in his life when he wants to spend four years in Washington. Not that he will hesitate to tell the new administrations in Raleigh and Washington what they should be doing, of course.
Given the flak he has taken over mental-health and probation, Governor Easley is not exactly a hot draft pick right now. And he endorsed Clinton in the primary.
Who else is there? Kay Hagan won. The Democrats in Congress all won. Erskine Bowles has a job. Richard Moore somewhere at Treasury, maybe?
Of course, one big name is missing: John Edwards. With his endorsement of Obama in the primaries, Edwards was positioning himself for something big. Poverty czar? Labor? Even attorney general?
Always, in the end, politics is personal.
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