No sooner do I praise Barack Obama for his practical, relatively nonpartisan choices for his Cabinet than he picks Leon Panetta, yet another Clinton retread, to head the CIA.
Obama is certainly coming into office with a mandate, so one can't complain about his pick of a leftist. But Panetta's utter lack of intelligence experience (other than two years in the Army, from 1964 to 1966) has left many scratching their heads.
Those of us with experience in the corporate world know that bosses often don't know what they're doing. But most have been in their field long enough to at least fake it. How is Panetta going to fake it?
Imagine the scene when he walks into the office on the first day:
Panetta: "Wow, so this is where it all happens. Hey, do I get one of those pens with the poison ink?"
Aide: "I'm sorry Mr. Panetta, we don't use those anymore."
Panetta: "Well how about a car with an ejector seat? I've always wanted one of those. You see, I'm married."
Aide: "Sir, that's just in the movies. We never used those."
Panetta: "How about an attache case with hidden knives?"
Aide: "Sir, you have to understand, we're mostly in the information-gathering business these days."
Panetta: "Well then can you at least give me some juicy info -- was JFK really boning Marilyn Monroe?"
Aide: "Sir that's pretty much public knowledge now, but yes, he was."
Panetta: "You know, I think I may end up enjoying this job after all. Hey, where do I go to torture some prisoners? Got any Republicans available?"
I must admit, it does sound like a fun job. I'd like to have it myself.
I know I'm just as qualified.