01/07/09 — Retreads abound: Historic candidates have many all-too-familiar names

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Retreads abound: Historic candidates have many all-too-familiar names

Don't let the fact that the almost-in-office governor for the state of North Carolina has appointed a bunch of Gov. Mike Easley administration holdovers to her Cabinet worry you too much.

Well, worry a little bit about the fact that the man tapped to take over the position of state's Health and Human Services chief has already been in Raleigh once and is still there as a lobbyist. He was the No. 2 person under the previous administrator who created the reforms that have contributed greatly to the problems in the mental health system.

Perhaps since we have dumped everyone associated with trying to clean up the mess after the reforms and skewered them for not being able to unravel the problems created by years of mismanagement, we should probably have considered someone who was not part of the implementation of the debacle as the new leader to come up with new ideas to fix the system.

Just a thought.

But setting that aside, let's look at the change candidates who are preparing to lead this state and nation into the next four years.

Both Gov.-elect Bev Perdue and President-elect Barack Obama seem to be relying very heavily on appointees who have been there before -- Perdue choosing Easley retreads, and Obama doing a pretty good job of recreating the Bill Clinton administration.

And while there is something to be said for experience, there is a lingering question that should remain for anyone who got out to vote to change the feel of Washington and the people who run it.

Where's the change?

In the coming months there will be much talk and many more plans made for the next few years -- especially as concerning the economy.

Perhaps this group of experienced hands is just what the state and nation need -- people who have been among the Washington elite and have done their time in the private sector. Perhaps they will bring with them a renewed sense of reality that will give state and federal policy-makers more of a glimpse of what this country really must have to prosper.

Gee, that sounded good, didn't it?

In the end, politics is somewhat incestuous. Who you know is as important sometimes as what you know.

Let's hope this group shows that change can come from all sorts of places and that you really can teach old dogs new tricks.

But as we wait to see what happens, take heart.

At least you won't have to learn that many new names. That should make placing blame -- or awarding credit -- much easier.

Published in Editorials on January 7, 2009 10:56 AM