As a tiny egoist in a large apparent reality, I think my realistically achievable macropolitical interests pretty much conflate with meritocratic technocratophiles as best I can tell. As such, I'm happy about the Obama victory and SOME of his cabinet picks.
The economic picks are all fantastic it seems to me: Treasury Secretary and National Economic Council head. I'm deeply relieved that UN ambassador seems to be going to someone with strong domain expertise rather than to Caroline Kennedy.
Senator Daschle for health and human services head seems like a bad choice to me. It seems to me to be a reward for political patronage rather than picking an expert. This is an administration that controls the CDC and the NIH, among other very technical bureacracies. The recent heads for the most part have been much more technocratic: medical doctors with public health expertise, and a distinguished public policy ph.d. and university administrator/professor with experise in health policy. Daschle doesn't seem to me to have sufficient domain expertise, although his political competency may be high.
However, the remaining picks seem very disturbing to me. I think the American public should be harsh towards Obama about them. Although he claims he's attempting to assemble a "team of rivals" I think that by trying to put Napolitano, Richardson, and Clinton in his cabinet, he's attempting to subvert some of his strongest potential challengers in 2012. They don't seem to be experts in the domains of the bureacracies being offered to them (Clinton most glaringly). Although Clinton is no Palin, there must be a fairly substantial list of people more expertly qualified to be Secretary of State than her. Similarly, when it comes to commerce and homeland security there are technocratic experts, although at least Napolitano and Richardson can claim the strong general bureacratic competency of having run states without failure.
Obama has about 7,000 appointments to make. We should keep a watch on all, from Secretary of State to Ambassador for Costa Rica, to make sure appointments go to the best qualified, not the best connected.
In a similar vein, how ridiculous in 2008 that Congress thinks it can continue to make committee appointments and chairmanships based on seniority rather than expertise and competency. One of the very things allegedly driving Clinton to the State department in the first place.
Team of Rivals is the wrong myth. I prefer team of experts: an expert consensus panel, if you will, for American policy and administration.