I’ve started thinking about how Obama might/should govern when he’s elected president (dare I say it?). I think he can use as a template of what not to do, George Bush’s first term. Obama should hew to the center on most policy issues. And even if a policy isn’t precisely in the center he needs to frame it as if it is.
That’s why I welcome reading this JTA story, which notes that Obama listed Lugar as someone he turns to for foreign policy advice:
“If I’m interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden, or with Dick Lugar, the Republican ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO,” Obama, the U.S. senator from Illinois, said Wednesday in his final debate with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “Those are the people, Democrats and Republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House.”
Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been touted in news reports in recent weeks as a possible secretary of state in an Obama administration, but this was the first on-the-record signal that Obama was considering him as a formal adviser.
Personally, I find Lugar a bit underwhelming and milquetoasty. Reminds me a bit of Paul Laxalt, who used to be Ronald Reagan’s token Republican moderate friend. But who cares, if it means reaching across the aisle to show moderate Republicans that their views, if not those of the right wing of the Party, will get a hearing from Obama and the Democrats.
Of course, the JTA headline has to note that Lugar–oh the horrors!–favors talking to Iran rather than bombing it.
Now what about finding a place for Chuck Hagel? Maybe secretary of defense or some other senior caninet level post? That would send the strongest message possible that Obama’s path is going to be different than Bush’s.