An Interesting Conversation with Dad

At Thanksgiving dinner this year, my father — somewhat reluctantly — brought up the presidential election. My father and I find ourselves on either side of the political divide, although I had been rather conservative as a child and a young man. The older I have gotten, the more liberal I have become; my father has been rather consistent in his conservatism (as long as I have known him, anyway).

My father served in the United States Army from 1962 until 1965, which included one years service in Vietnam. Since then, he has — perhaps fairly — blamed the Democrats for our involvement in Vietnam. I believe it was the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, however, that pushed him firmly into the Republican camp, especially in the wake of the failure of the Carter Administration. Not unexpectedly, he voted for John McCain on November 4th.

Over our Thanksgiving dessert this year, however, my father rather unexpected praised President-Elect Obama for his cabinet choices, as well as those selected for his economic team. He told me that he thought the President-Elect had chosen wisely, and that he was impressed with Obama’s visibility and availability to the press during the ongoing financial crisis.

His only complaint was the (apparent) selection of Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. I quickly allayed his fears, however. I explained that Obama benefited greatly from having Senator Clinton in the cabinet as his spokesperson on foreign affairs, and not in the Senate possibly preparing for another presidential campaign in 2012. Despite his deep contempt for the Clintons, he accepted this logic rather quickly.

This all came as a welcome surprise to me, and perhaps bodes well for the next four years, if others share his views.

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