A few comments:
- I've never seen much evidence that Obama has any true respect for white feminists. He seems to see feminists as whiny me-too victims who try to hog the spotlight from the real victims: blacks. The Throw Grandma Under the Bus incident which he brought up this year to excuse Rev. Wright exemplifies this.
You'll notice that Obama had his wife spend the last half of the campaign year acting like a devoted homebody who could barely bear to be away from her children for minutes. Of course, that raises the question: if Michelle's priorities are so home-centric, what in the world was she getting paid $317,000 for in 2005? Was this money just intended as a payoff to Obama to protect the interests of a huge private hospital?
The reality is more mixed. Over the years, Michelle served Barack's political ambitions much like Hillary served Bill's: as his enabler. Thus, he got Michelle a job handing out NGO jobs to young lefties, which built the Obama brand name in Chicago. But while Bill Clinton felt compelled to attest over and over again to how his wife should really be co-President, Barack treated Michelle during the campaign about like how Ike treated Mamie Eisenhower.
- Does Aspergery Larry Summers really have the right personality for what's going to be in large part a salesman's job of reasurring the world that the End Is Not Nigh? I like Larry, but he's got "Staff, Not Line" written all over him.
- If Obama makes Summers his second pick, after Rahm Emmanuel, that's basically a message that the neos (neoliberals and neocons) are in the house and they ain't going anywhere. You'll recall that during the brouhaha after Larry's perfectly accurate remarks on why there aren't many women mechanical engineering professors at Harvard, only two Harvard professors behaved honorably: Steven Pinker defended Summers on the science, and mechanical engineering professor Frederick H. Abernethy attacked him for wasting a gigantic amount of Harvard's money defending his best friend, Harvard economist Andrei Schleifer, from federal charges for playing a corrupt role in the Rape of Russia in the 1990s.
Most of Summers' other defenders were hard-core neos. Fellow big name Harvard economist Edward Glaeser denounced prominent investigative journalist David McClintick's Institutional Investor report on Shleifer as "a potent piece of hate creation—not quite 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' but it's in that camp." Perhaps Summers' most vocal defender was Ruth R. Wisse, who is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature at Harvard (no, I'm not making that up).
- What does the appointment of Rahm Israel Emmanuel and the intense consideration of Larry Summers say about Obama? The assumption that he intended to wage some kind of idealistic foreign policy is silly. The crucial thing to remember about Obama is that he always played ball. That's how he got ahead in Chicago politics. He played ball with Richie Daley, with Tony Rezko, with the Black Muslims, with John Stroger, with Bill Ayers, with various Palestinian intellectuals in exile, with everybody. He's the opposite of his predecessor in that Illinois Senate Seat, Republican Peter Fitzgerald, who brought pit bull prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to Chicago to put corrupt Republican governor George Ryan in prison. (I'm proud that one of the few times I've ever voted for a Democrat was when I voted for Ryan's opponent in 1998 because Ryan was a crook who had taken campaign contributions/bribes to give truck drivers licenses to bad drivers, which got innocent motorists killed.) Sen. Peter Fitzgerald didn't play ball, so he was out out on his butt after one term and Obama took his place.
Obama plays ball. In Hyde Park in the 1980s and 1990s, he played ball with anti-Semites to help his radical street cred, but now he's playing ball in the biggest league of all, and those Palestinians and black nationalists aren't in this league at all. They're small time losers. Rahm Emmanuel, on the other hand, very much is.
One of Obama's favorite novelists is Philip Roth. Having reread Portnoy's Complaint recently, I must say that that book can help you develop a quite realistic understanding of aspects of the contemporary world, four decades after Roth wrote it. I suspect Obama drew similar lessons from it.