Washington, Nov.30 : Every one of the members that US President-elect Barack Obama has picked for his Cabinet is known in political and administrative circles for having his or her voice heard and, there is a concern now surfacing about whether these talented big names, big intellects, and big egos will be able to co-exist.
Official announcements and Senate confirmations notwithstanding, Obama will have a team of heavyweights at his beck and call. They include: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Joe Biden, retired four-star Marine general Jim Jones as his National Security Adviser, and four-star General David Petraeus as chief of U.S. Central Command.
His economic team includes Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, in the White House and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is unlikely to be shy about airing his views.
According to Politico, these choices have been widely praised, and Obama has encouraged comparisons between his governing team and those that formed a part of Abraham Lincoln's cabinet in the mid-19th century.
According to the web site, Obama's is a team of giants that will inevitably jostle with one another, and test the strength of a president brimming with confidence.
"The challenge is to have strength in the center. There's always risk that these giant planets go out on their own, but if the sun is strong enough, they'll stay in their orbits," the web site quoted ," former Clinton aide Paul Begala, as saying. any on the team have known each other and the intimate world of Washington politics for much longer than they've known Obama, who is a relative newcomer and has mostly remained neutral.
Biden, a 35-year senator, and Gates, a former head of the CIA and deputy national security adviser, were mastering Washington power games when Obama was a law student. Only Geithner is younger than Obama; he was born two weeks later than the president-elect.
On the economic policy team, Geithner and Summers have been friendly sparring partners since the 1990s. On national security, the Democrats have been attending the same conferences and dinner parties for decades. Tom Donilon and Jim Steinberg, top deputies to Biden and Clinton, respectively, are old friends and allies.
Gates and Petraeus are key allies, and Gates and Jones are said to be close.
Clinton and Biden are old allies; but Clinton also wooed Jones during her campaign for president, before the retired general developed a relationship with Obama.
"It's not just that that they're big players-he's picking people with tremendous competency," said former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, a Democrat.
"You want to bring the brightest minds and most capable people to the table. They're obviously going to have very different views about how you resolve an issue. In the end, the test is really up to president," said Leon Panetta, a former Clinton White House Chief of Staff. "The president not only has to manage those large personalities but also make the decision. And the decisions are not going to please everybody," he concludes.