Thursday, February 11, 2010

Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder Calls for White House Staff Shake-Up

Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder says if Barack Obama is to fulfill his promise of positive change in America, the president must "make some hard changes of his own" by replacing inexperienced members of his team with "others more capable of helping him govern."

In an editorial for Politico Tuesday, Wilder writes Obama's White House staff is made up of too many people left over from the campaign or from his time in Chicago. "Getting elected and getting things done for the people are two different jobs," Wilder writes, suggesting the president and his people haven't fully made the transition from campaign mode to governing.

Wilder, who endorsed Obama in 2008, goes on:
One problem is that they do not have sufficient experience at governing at the executive branch level. The deeper problem is that they are not listening to the people.

Hearing is one thing; listening is another.

Some are even questioning whether Obama has forgotten how he got elected and the promises he made to the people who elected him.

Don't take my word for any of this. Look at the clear message the American people have been sending at the polls these past few months.
Wilder places part of the blame for recent election losses in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts squarely on one of his successors as governor: the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine. He calls on Kaine to step down as head of the DNC, saying it is "the wrong job for him."

Shake-ups at the White House and at the top of the party are necessary if the president is to succeed and Democrats are going to turn around downward trending poll numbers and survive in November, Wilder writes.

In addition to replacing his staff, Wilder, the nation's first African-American governor, also urges the president to fine tune his message and focus on one major issue: jobs.

"Unless changes are made at the top, by the top, when the time comes for voters to show how they really feel about Obama, his policies and the messages he sends directly or through the people around him, the president will discover that Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts were not just temporary aberrations but, rather, timely expressions of voters who always show that they are ahead of the politicians," Wilder writes.

Read the full editorial here.

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